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Easy Does It | What’s so bad about popcorn ceilings? And are kitchen islands really ideal? – Virginian

I realized I was heading for trouble when I became obsessed with the 1970s popcorn ceilings in our condo. I think that was because I had watched too many HGTV House Hunters episodes in which potential buyers walked into homes and screamed “Popcorn ceilings??? Deal breaker!”

“Our guests will be appalled when they see ours,” I told Bill, “let’s get rid of them.” He suggested they might also be appalled when they spied my collection of Pillsbury Doughboy memorabilia or the squadron of Kmart gnomes that guard our balcony. “That wouldn’t bother you, so why should our popcorn ceilings?” he asked.

The man had a point, especially since I’m not nearly so fond of my ceilings as I am of my Doughboys and $5 gnomes.

That got me to thinking about my reliance on the advice of all those interior design gurus on TV. I’m beginning to wonder if any of them live normal lives in normal houses or apartments.

Take the experts who lobby against kitchen cabinets with doors on them. Too common, they say. Lose the doors. Display your beautiful dishes, your French-import pots and pans.

You mean like my $25 thrift shop set of outdated Corelle or my “As Seen on TV” skillets? Thanks, but I think I’ll keep the doors.

While we’re on the topic of open cabinets, let’s take a look at the decorators’ favorite two-word phrase: open concept.

As I see it, that’s a floor plan based on the idea that the kitchen should be the heart of the home and open to every other living area. The basic ingredient? A 48-square-foot marble-topped island gathering spot at which Junior will do his homework while Mom prepares dinner and Pop restocks the obligatory wine fridge.

All of this happens within sight and hearing of Big Sis practicing her baton tosses in the family living area where Grandpa and Little Sis are locked in zapper-to-zapper combat over whether to watch the 247th episode of “Sponge Bob” or the evening news.

Oops, I almost forgot Grandma. She has her sewing machine set up on the 12-foot long, rarely used formal dining table and is busily stitching on a Pinterest-inspired stuffed kangaroo with quintuplets in its pouch.

What’s wrong with this picture? Just about everything. Doing physics homework at the kitchen counter while the rest of the family tosses, twirls, zaps, stitches, stocks, argues, cooks, slices, dices and chops is ridiculous. Make that impossible.

Oh, and about that marble-topped island in the middle of the kitchen, the one that comes with a $10,000-plus price tag? Has anybody ever stopped to think about how many extra steps are involved in walking around it to get from the fridge to the sink to the stove and back? Just asking.

I predict that it won’t be long before decorating gurus will be removing islands, adding cupboard doors, closing off kitchens and dispatching family rooms to the far reaches of the house.

Just as over the past 20 years they have changed their minds multiple times as to whether wallpaper is in or out, ceiling fans are tacky or great energy savers and whether you should paint walls in neutral colors or go for broke with a turquoise-burnt orange combo.

As for me, with or without decorator approval, I’ll live with the popcorn ceilings, bask in the breezes from my ceiling fans and love my collections of Doughboys and gnomes.

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On the Menu: Downtown restaurant undergoes changes – The Herald

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East Baton Rouge Parish building permits for Aug. 21-27, 2016

Permits issued in East Baton Rouge Parish for Aug. 21-27.

COMMERCIAL: ADDITION

Plank Road 5965: $25,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Commercial proposed T-Mobile 12-foot by 10-foot concrete equipment pad. Lease area 16 feet, 2 inches by 7 feet, 10 inches. Relocate ice bridge 2 feet wide, GPS antenna and cabinet. Electrical work is involved. Fence is included in this permit. Issued Aug. 25.

COMMERCIAL: NEW

Airline Highway 9745: $950,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 1,784. New construction of a convenience store for packaged food and beverage with site work and parking. Issued Aug. 22.

Airline Highway 9745: Owner not listed. Total square footage: 1,784. New construction of a 4,551-square-foot eight-pump fuel station with canopy. Issued Aug. 22.

Bluebonnet Boulevard 4660: $975,000, Owner: Hunter Hardin. Total square footage: 6,000. New construction of sprinkled building and parking lot for ambulatory care sleep disorder clinic. Issued Aug. 23.

O’Neal Lane 2345: $865,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 3,857. New construction of building and equipment for drive thru car wash use. Issued Aug. 25.

COMMERCIAL: PARKING LOT

Lieutenant General Benjamin Davis Jr. Avenue 2899: $75,000, Owner: David Cangelosi. Total square footage not listed. New addition to existing parking lot serving an existing building. Issued Aug. 26.

COMMERCIAL: REMODEL

Airline Highway 4887: $49,000, Owner: Hareez Hussein. Total square footage not listed. Fire damage. Building repair, drywall and framing. Rewired the building. Duct work. Replace coolers and walk-in box. 50 square feet. Issued Aug. 22.

Airline Highway 6910: $120,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage renovations to existing business, replacing drywall and electrical fixtures damage approximately 10 percent of business valuation. 4,550 square feet. 2016 flood. Issued Aug. 24.

Baringer Foreman Road 10003: $30,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,200. Flood damage renovations to existing business, replacing drywall up to 8 feet, electrical and phone systems. Repairs are estimated to be approximately 30,000 less than 18 percent of 172,000 insurance value. Issued Aug. 24.

Bluebonnet Boulevard 6601: $299,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 10,403. Partial interior demo and renovation to existing 360,000-square-foot mercantile business in Mall of Louisiana. Issued Aug. 22.

Jefferson Highway 7633: $150,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Fire damage/commercial remodel 2,700 square feet from a total area of 3,020 square feet. Issued Aug. 26.

O’Neal Lane 1312: $250,000, Owner: Tanjha Case. Total square footage: 1,500. Flood damage repair to existing Chase Bank business, replacing drywall and electrical fixtures damage. They also are changing the original layout of the building, with rework on existing teller stations for new installation. Reconfigure lobby area and electrical work. Issued Aug. 26.

O’Neal Lane 1617: $50,000, Owner: Shree Laxmi. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage renovations to existing hotel 16,000 square feet, replacing drywall on first floor only, damage approximately 5 percent of business valuation. No electrical. Issued Aug. 26.

O’Neal Lane 1755: $40,000, Owner: Hemangi Patel. Total square footage: 14,000. Flood damage renovations to 7,000 square feet — 5 percent of existing 14,000 square feet, first floor hotel. Issued Aug. 26.

Richcroft Avenue 11520: $42,500, Owner: David Smith. Total square footage: 1,000. Flood damage renovations to existing building for the business office/ apartment of storage facility. Replacing drywall and insulation up to 4 feet and electrical fixtures. Also replacing interior and exterior doors. Issued Aug. 22.

West Lee Drive 1125: $35,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Existing 9,195 square feet. They are adding inside the building: four new belted checkouts, removing 24-foot gondola and relocate, new modular office, new balloon center, new freezer and new card fixture. Issued Aug. 24.

Woodland Ridge Boulevard 3200: $50,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 1,000. Interior renovation to existing school building to add/install new hood and fan packages (16 feet by 10 feet), 12KW boiler-free floor model, tilting skillets 30-40 gallon, 24-inch gas range, etc. Issued Aug. 26.

DEMOLITION

Saint Louis Street 120: Owner: Cary Cashio. Total square footage not listed. Demolish River Center Branch Library. Issued Aug. 23.

FENCE

Oak Estates Lane 4756: $65,000, Owner: Bobby Nguyen. Total square footage not listed. Fence for subdivision. Issued Aug. 26.

POOL

Cedar Lodge Drive 2801: $30,000, Owner: Larry Tucker. Total square footage not listed. Gunite pool. Issued Aug. 26.

Glenfield Drive 8618: $23,000, Owner: Bryant Emiliani. Total square footage not listed. Swimming pool. Issued Aug. 26.

Kimbleton Avenue 13425: $25,000, Owner: Keith Banta. Total square footage not listed. Gunite pool. Issued Aug. 26.

Silo Drive 11675: $23,000, Owner: Mr. Vaughn. Total square footage not listed. Swimming pool. Issued Aug. 25.

Sugar Cane Lane 2106: $40,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Gunite pool. Issued Aug. 25.

RESIDENTIAL: ACCESSORY

King Richard Drive 11810: $26,000, Owner: Kevin Berry. Total square footage: 992. Detached garage with second-story storage. Issued Aug. 26.

RESIDENTIAL: ADDITION

Cal Road 9754: $275,000, Owner: Jeff Tomlinson. Total square footage: 2,668. 2,668-square-foot two-story guest suite addition. Issued Aug. 23.

Double Tree Drive 6533: $75,000, Owner: John and Susan Poulos. Total square footage: 1,918. Addition including garage, gym, bed and bathroom. Remodeling patio to create outdoor kitchen. Issued Aug. 23.

RESIDENTIAL: NEW

Bocage Lake Drive 2608: $530,000, Owner: Coleman Dupre. Total square footage: 4,117. New single family two-story townhouse. Issued Aug. 25.

Broussard Street 4515: $150,000, Owner: Marcy Watkins. Total square footage: 4,000. New single family residence. Wood-framed living area inside of an engineered metal building. Issued Aug. 26.

Club Place 1126: $240,396, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 3,082. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 25.

Coursey Cove Avenue 14161: $207,402, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,659. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 23.

Coursey Cove Avenue 14433: $207,402, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,659. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 23.

Emmy Way Drive 13989: $190,242, Owner: Sebastian Alvarez. Total square footage: 2,439. New single family residence — zero lot line. Issued Aug. 22.

Falling Oak Drive 8902: $174,642, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,239. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 22.

Falling Oak Drive 9241: $175,890, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 3,142. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 25.

Goodwood Avenue 7058: $200,070, Owner: Joseph Levatino. Total square footage: 2,565. New single family residence. Existing residence to be used as storage, not a separate dwelling. Issued Aug. 24.

Kodiak Drive 6946: $171,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,187. New single family residence. Zero lot. Issued Aug. 23.

Kodiak Drive 6958: $152,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 1,940. New single family residence. Zero lot. Issued Aug. 23.

Lake Crest View Drive 15335: $521,508, Owner: Ross Berthelot. Total square footage: 6,686. New single family two-story residence to be located in the 100-109 mph windzone. Issued Aug. 23.

Lexington Lakes Avenue 2777: $350,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 4,368. New single family residence located in the 100-109 mph windzone. Issued Aug. 26.

Settler’s Circle 7747: $495,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 5,386. New single family two-story residence. Issued Aug. 22.

Shore Bend Avenue 2750: $350,064, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 4,488. New construction residential. Issued Aug. 23.

Stonegate Drive 14442: $175,890, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,255. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 23.

Tiger Trace Avenue 6251: $190,398, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,441. New residential construction. Issued Aug. 22.

Turkey Creek Drive 21425: $823,446, Owner: Kimberly Davis. Total square footage: 10,557. New construction residential. Issued Aug. 26.

Turning Leaf Drive 10715: $331,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 4,241. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 24.

University Club Drive 2341: $650,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 5,534. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 22.

Veranda View Avenue 3141: $298,740, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 3,830. New construction residential. Issued Aug. 25.

Vis-a-vis Avenue 18150: $294,372, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 3,774. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 25.

Watercrest Lane 14172: $206,544, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,648. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 22.

Windwood Drive 13953: $175,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,239. New single family residence. Issued Aug. 23.

Windwood Drive 13969: $194,298, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,491. New single family residence, residential construction. Issued Aug. 26.

Windwood Drive 13976: $194,298, Owner not listed. Total square footage: 2,491. New residential construction. Issued Aug. 23.

RESIDENTIAL: REMODEL

Abshire Avenue 16836: $46,000, Owner: Felicia F. Duthu. Total square footage: 1,869. Flood damage repair. Replacing A/C unit; replacing outlets, breaker panels and meter can. Issued Aug. 25.

Board Drive 7311: $43,628, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel (property value $157,000 from assessor’s office) total square feet 1,678 (repair cost calculated at $26 per square foot per East Baton Rouge ordinance). Issued Aug. 26.

Bonnie Drive 224: $44,000, Owner: Audrey Neary. Total square footage not listed. 1,824 square feet at $78 per square foot = $142,272 property value max repair cost at $26 = $47,424 per East Baton Rouge ordinance. Issued Aug. 26.

Bonnie Drive 321: $41,600, Owner: Marianne Funk. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to repair flood-damaged residence. Issued Aug. 26.

Breeden Drive 9926: $40,000, Owner: Doris Washington. Total square footage: 1,900. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 26.

Bristoe Avenue 16430: $38,558, Owner: Lindell Slater. Total square footage: 1,483. Remodel and flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 25.

Brookshire Avenue 12350: $20,000, Owner: Dorothy Carley. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage — 6-8 inches. Issued Aug. 22.

Cully Drive 2105: $40,000, Owner: Marlon Bennett. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 26.

East Mendenhal Drive 3410: $34,502, Owner: Sheena Roberson. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to repair flood-damaged residence. Issued Aug. 25.

East Millburn Avenue 12633: $130,000, Owner: Frank and Dorothy Kendrick. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 22.

Edgemont Drive 3420: $70,000, Owner: Hamp and Linda Williams. Total square footage: 2,750. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 26.

Ellis Avenue 16618: $39,000, Owner: Bernell Cook. Total square footage: 1,500. Remodel to repair flood-damaged home. Estimated repair value $39,000. Issued Aug. 25.

Glenwild Drive 427: $42,900, Owner: Terry Belvin. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage — 4 feet, 6 inches of water. Issued Aug. 25.

Greenwell Springs Road 9470: $250,000, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage renovations to existing business, McDonald’s 3,100 square feet. Replacing drywall and electrical fixtures on first floor only, damage approximately 10 percent of business valuation. 2016 flood. Issued Aug. 24.

Hammond Manor Drive 754: $33,800, Owner: Randi Pena. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to repair flood-damaged residence. Issued Aug. 26.

Heather Drive 1031: $70,616, Owner: Charles Albritton. Total square footage not listed. Remodel flood-damaged residence. Issued Aug. 26.

Hillcrest Drive 5540, Zachary: $43,680, Owner: Harry Roark. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to replace drywwall, windows, electrical, entire H/VAC system due to 2016 flood. Issued Aug. 25.

Kennon Drive 958, Baker: $33,202, Owner: Fredrick Brooks. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage repair. $33,202 estimated repair cost. Issued Aug. 24.

Lanier Drive 5603: $15,000, Owner: Kimberly Brooks. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage with replacement of 4 feet of drywall in all rooms except living and dining which had paneling, new outlets, reset sinks, replacing interior and exterior doors, repairing wall between adjoining baths. Issued Aug. 25.

Martin Lake Drive 17664: $80,000, Owner: Richard Anderson. Total square footage: 3,123. Flood damage to the first floor, one condenser flipped. Issued Aug. 22.

Mockingbird Lane 16364: $30,000, Owner: Brad Lindley. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling due to flooding. Issued Aug. 22.

North Redondo Drive 1743: $35,000, Owner: Audrey Schultz. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage — 30 inches of water. Issued Aug. 25.

Packard Street 4739: $600, Owner: Clarence Keller. Total square footage not listed. Residential remodel. Replacing drywall in bedrooms and repairing wall in laundry room. Repairing some framing members on front porch and carport. Issued Aug. 25.

Piper Road 3855, Slaughter: $20,000, Owner: Amanda Cobb. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage that did not reach the outlets. Issued Aug. 22.

Plank Road 11021: $4,600, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage renovation to existing apartment buildings 1-24. Replace 4 feet of drywall, rated tenant separation walls, insulation, replace doors, trim and flooring. Replacing approximately 60 A/C condensing units. Issued Aug. 25.

Ponderosa Drive 827: $44,200, Owner: Walid Halabi. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to repair flood-damaged residence. Issued Aug. 25.

Proxie Drive 7342: $52,234, Owner: Kody Horn. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel (property value $160,000 from assessor’s office) total square feet 2,009 (repair cost is calculated at $26 per square foot per East Baton Rouge ordinance). Issued Aug. 26.

East Riverdale Avenue 15680: $10,000, Owner: James Castello. Total square footage: 1,200. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 25.

Riverview Drive 790: $48,412, Owner: Kerry and Juanita Morris. Total square footage not listed. Flood repair 1,862 square feet (repair cost based on $26 per square foot from East Baton Rouge ordinance), total repair cost = $48,412. Issued Aug. 26.

Roy Emerson Drive 11111: $12,947, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Termite damage. Issued Aug. 23.

Severn Avenue 14505: $20,000, Owner: Michael Mayeux. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage. Issued Aug. 26.

Shadow Creek Avenue 18219: $80,000, Owner: James Morgan. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel. Issued Aug. 22.

Shadow Creek Avenue 18220: $80,000, Owner: Frank Rosiere. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel and repairs. Issued Aug. 26.

Shadyglen Drive 836: $63,000, Owner: Mary Carol Taylor. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage — 48 inches of water. 26.

Sharp Road 1330: $128,500, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel (property value $128,500) total square feet 1,847 (repair cost calculated at $26 per square feet per East Baton Rouge ordinance). Issued Aug. 26.

Sheldon Drive 2753: $33,000, Owner: Vonja Sartin. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage repair. Issued Aug. 26.

Silverleaf Avenue 6524: $15,000, Owner: Robert Robertson. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to replace Sheetrock and electrical of flood-damaged residence. 2016 flood. Issued Aug. 26.

Spain Street 2461: $8,000, Owner: Vivan Harris. Total square footage not listed. Damage repair 12 percent to a duplex. Issued Aug. 26.

Tallwood Drive 1515: $30,000, Owner: Donald Jarreau. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage — 18 inches of water. Issued Aug. 26.

Tealwood Court 4831: $5,782, Owner: Rene Landry. Total square footage not listed. Termite damage. Issued Aug. 23.

Thames Drive 4411: $33,000, Owner: George Bell. Total square footage not listed. Remodeling to repair flood-damaged home. Issued Aug. 23.

West Wendover Drive 3553: $46,540, Owner not listed. Total square footage not listed. Flood remodel (property value $150,000 from assessor’s office) total square feet 1,790 (repair cost calculated at $26 per square foot per city ordinance). Issued Aug. 26.

Woodcliff Drive 327: $45,000, Owner: Janie Hernandez. Total square footage not listed. Flood damage to included replacing drywall, electrical, plumbing and flooring. Issued Aug. 22.

SOLAR

Highland Crossing 610: $86,500, Owner: Marc Lundin. Total square footage not listed. Install 106 solar panels on existing residential roof, no structural changes. 32.33 KW. 305. Issued Aug. 26.

Maplewood Drive 5776: $26,000, Owner: Evelyn Wilson. Total square footage not listed. Install 22 solar panels on existing residential roof, no structural changes. 6.27 KW. 250 W. Issued Aug. 22.

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Restaurants Sourcing Locally For Dinnerware

It’s likely that the name of the farmer who raised your steak is already on the menu at your favorite independent restaurant. It’s part of a national trend where restaurants source locally, but it’s about more than just ingredients. Community Voices producer Kateri Kosta tells about something so central to the culinary experience that you probably don’t even notice it’s there: your plate.

Most restaurants serve food on mass produced identical white plates. They’re made using molds overseas in ceramics factories. Like fast food, that approach is pretty bland. Bethany Kramer is a potter who makes dishes for restaurants one at a time. For her, there’s something really special about slow food served on unique pottery.

“I don’t think you think of the pottery immediately because you’re looking at the food and you want to eat that food first, and so, together, they really start to tell a story. It comes to life when you can pair certain food with certain pieces that the glazes or the shape relate to the food. It becomes a whole experience.”

Full disclosure: My family eats exclusively off of Bethany’s plates. Subtle green and gold tones actually make the food glow. I’m not exaggerating. The tomatoes I grew in my garden look like these deep red jewels on her plates.

“And so it’s not just how fast can I scarf down this food on this white plate, it becomes, let me take in everything that’s going on around me, and it can be a slower, more enjoyable process,” she says.

Bethany loves making pottery but there is a practical side too, and that has to do with whether she can support herself doing just the work that she loves full time.

“I’ve been working toward this kind of dream or goal for a long time, for about 10 years, really. I was always really nervous to kind of take that jump and make the plunge into working full time for myself. and you just never know if you’re going to get the work or not, so that was always a hard decision for me.”

She got a big break when a local chef and restaurateur picked up her business card at the Bellevue Kentucky Farmer’s Market. About a year later, he left her a voicemail.

“I do credit him for allowing me to be able to kind of live out my dream and my passion because he really started me off in you know, making work for restaurants,” says Bethany.
 

“We certainly weren’t the first ones to say that we’re going to use, you know, pottery, in our restaurant, so it’s obviously something that’s been going on before we opened this restaurant. But we, in Cincinnati, were some of the first people to do it. And it’s something that I think is, the trend’s going to grow,” says Chef Jose Salazar on a busy Wednesday night at his restaurant in Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati.

Bethany developed an exclusive line of pottery just for the restaurant, and he sources his ingredients from more than 30 different small farms

“Just like with the farmers, it’s all about a total experience, right? So, you know, one carrot doesn’t make the experience, and one plate doesn’t make the experience, but when you bring all those together, then you have something special. You know, it’s like an orchestra.”

This is actually part of a larger movement that’s gaining energy connecting independent restaurants and handmade pottery. Naysan McIlhargey is a foodie, but he’s also the artist behind Miami Valley Pottery. The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs serves on some of his plates and he’s worked with the new Mills Park Hotel to create custom flower vases for the dining room.

“You become part of a collaboration with a different discipline, with the world of food, which is in its own sense, very exciting and I hope that other people will hear this and think about it when they go out to eat. They’ll think about the potter who made it.”

Stocking a whole restaurant with handmade tableware costs more. But increasingly, restaurateurs are seeing the value. Last year another restaurant in Cincinnati that has locations in Indianapolis and Columbus approached Bethany about making dishes for them too.

“So it was pretty easy for me to make that decision from there on, that I would have a stable income from just making pots,” says Bathany.  “Right now it feels pretty good, it’s pretty strong, and I hope it lasts forever, but I’m going to try to ride the wave as long as possible.”

It’s actually really rare for potters to be able to support themselves without second or third jobs, but the slow food movement in restaurants has started to open up new opportunities for artists looking for self-sufficiency doing what they love.
 

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On Food: New kitchen gadgets make food preparation easier

Caption +

Teresa Farney March 7, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Let’s talk gadgets!

The first I found just in time for tomato season, as gardens now are producing in all their glory. It’s the Kuhn Rikon Total Tomato Set. The knife has an ultra-sharp, Japanese stainless steel serrated blade. You can say good-bye to knives that require sawing to break the skin of the tomato and produce ragged, smushy looking slices. This one gives you clean, even slices every time. The two-prong forked tip is also very sharp and makes removing the stem a snap.

A peeler is included in the set. The peeler blade is also serrated and is flexible. It’s ideal for peeling softer fruits and vegetables. Both the knife and peeler are decorated with images of tomatoes, so they are attractive, but above all else they work terrifically. Find the set at Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware for $19.99.

At the Food Wine Classic in Aspen, I ogled displays of new kitchen equipment.

Over at the All-Clad booth, representatives were frying eggs in the d3 Armor Fry Pan ($99.95). It has an easy- release surface, thanks to a bonded matrix on the stainless-steel cooking surface that reduces sticking while not messing with the searing and browning ability.

The sides of the skillet slope so it’s easy to toss, say, diced potatoes to brown them evenly. I’ve given the fry pan a try, and it is sort of magical. I like it for frying fish fillets to get the skin nice and crispy, and they move easily over the bottom of the skillet. Cleanup is a breeze.

When I dropped by the KitchenAid corner, I was introduced to the KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl for stand mixers. At around $300, it’s on my bucket list, despite my already crowded equipment shelves.

Why? I was told that with the precision temperature technology, the bowl is great for tempering chocolate, proofing bread and melting cheese without scorching. They said it was ideal for making dishes such as fondue, soups and yogurt.

What got me thinking about this bowl, though, was the idea of using it for pulled pork. I could braise a small boneless piece of pork in the bowl, which is like using a slow cooker, and when the meat is fork-tender, add the paddle to the mixer and shred the meat right in the bowl.

I’ve seen the All-Clad skillet and the KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl at Williams-Sonoma.

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