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February 7, 2012 |

Archive for » February 7th, 2012«

Foodies, Your Tablet Has Arrived – French QOOQ Is Made For The Kitchen

We’ve seen plenty of accessories that make it easier to deal with the iPad and other tablets in the kitchen, all aimed at protecting your precious slate from splashes and gunky fingers. However, the true hipster foodie in my soul longs for a tablet made specifically for cooks. It would be even better if it’s a tablet “you probably haven’t heard of.”

Enter the QOOQ tablet. The main reason you might not have heard of it is that it’s made in France for a French audience. Stereotypes inform us that all French people are excellent cooks, so this is bound to be an amazing tablet.

If you speak French you can buy one right now. If you don’t, maybe there will be a version for you available by the end of the year.

The QOOQ (pronounced “cook” with a fancy French accent) has been around since 2009 with the second generation coming out recently. QOOQ 2 has a Linux operating system — no indication which distro — and decent specs: 10.1 inch display, 1-GHz dual-core ARM A9 CPU, 8GB of memory, b/g/n Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, SD card slot, and a USB port.

It’s built to stand up on its edge thanks to the feet at the edges, which have rubber tips. and a thin kickstand. The feet also raise it up from the counter when when you lay it down. Unlike the iPad, this tablet can survive splashes and splatter and flour-covered fingers. You can even wipe it off with a wet cloths when it gets dirty.

Since the tablet serves as a portal for the QOOQ content — recipes, videos of chefs walking you through said recipes, etc. — it doesn’t have a typical computer user interface or even one much resembling Android. In this version there are some apps for accessing the web and email, playing video and music, checking the weather and making notes.

The QOOQ service has thousands of recipes and videos plus software tools to help chefs of all skill levels create the perfect dish. Plus, as you input more information and download more content the tablet will start to understand your preferences better. Plus, users can plan a week’s worth of meals, keep an interactive shopping list, and adjust a recipe to fit the size of the dinner guests.

French consumers can buy the QOOQ today for 349 Euro. The English version pricing has not been announced.

Any foodie worth her sea salt wouldn’t stand for this waiting crap. She’d sign up for French classes or download some Rosetta Stone right after making an international shipping order. Don’t you think?

Hat Tip: Chip Chick

About the Author (Author Profile)

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. As Reviews Editor she has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech to help consumers separate the digital wheat from the chaff. You can also find her articles at Black Enterprise magazine and the Geek Feminism blog.K. T. rocks an HTC Thunderbolt smartphone, a Nook Tablet, and still clings to her Ubuntu-ified Samsung NC10 netbook.Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her at

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Winter project: the DIY wannigan

Our Canadian editor-at-large gets crafty with an old-school essential

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By Conor Mihell

Traditional canoe-trippers still rely on simple wooden boxes known as “wannigans” to carry provisions and cooking gear. Some suspect the term wannigan is has aboriginal roots or perhaps it originated in Canadian logging camps. Regardless, paddlers in my home of Northern Ontario have been using them as grub boxes for about 100 years. According to former Camp Keewaydin staffer Heb Evans in his classic 1975 book Canoeing Wilderness Waters (out of print), the main advantage of using a wannigan is that its hard wooden sides protect the carrier from the sharp edges of pots, pans and cookery. It also affords a convenient cutting board top and a bench or table for in camp. Lacking shoulder straps, a wannigan is carried with a tumpline, the old-school head strap made famous by Himalayan Sherpas and French-Canadian voyageurs.

As someone recently bit by the traditional bug, I decided it was high time to build a wannigan or two of my own. The project can easily be completed in a few evenings of work, basic tools and about $25 of materials.

Materials: Traditional wannigans were often constructed with quarter-inch plywood sides and 1-by-12-inch pine bottoms, ends and top. Today, quarter-inch plywood can by hard to find and pine lumber is expensive. To save cost and weight, I used cheap spruce strapping to build the frame of the box and covered it with readily available 3/8-inch plywood. A full-size sheet of plywood provides enough material for two average-sized wannigans.

Dimensions: According to Evans, the typical Camp Keewaydin wannigan measured 22 inches long by 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep. This was the preferred size for carrying foodstuffs. A slightly larger wannigan (known as the “jewelry”) was used to carry cookware and dishes. Evans recommended a maximum length of 25 inches for a typical 17-foot tripping canoe. I decided on 24 by 12 by 14.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Step 1: Spruce strapping serves as a frame for the wannigan. I used a miter box to cut 45-degree angles for the corners at the ends of the box and secured them with one screw and plenty of glue (Photo 1). To connect the two ends together I notched the corners once the glue had set and secured strips of strapping with two screws and more glue (Photo 2). Be sure to drill pilot holes. This step could be skipped if you decide to use dimensional lumber (1″x12″ pine) for the base and ends.

Step 2: If you’re a rough carpenter like me, you’ll probably end up with a not-quite-true frame. This is not a big problem, just be sure to measure carefully before using a circular saw to cut the plywood panels that sheathe the frame of the wannigan. Use screws and more adhesive to secure the panels (Photo 3). The lid should be slightly longer than the box so that a gusset can be attached on either end (see step 4). Some trippers prefer using hinges for the lid but in the design I chose the lid is fully removable.

Step 3: Use a scrap piece of two-by-four lumber the same width as the box for handles. A clever trick is to cut a shallow 10-degree angle on each handle with a circular- or table saw to offer a more secure grip. Carefully cut out sections of the upper part of the handle to leave a tab, which will key together with a notch in the lid (step 4). Fasten these pieces to both ends of the box (Photo 4).

Step 4: Use a scrap piece of two-by-four lumber to build lips on either end of the lid. These pieces are notched to match with the tab on the side-handles to prevent the lid from sliding. Fasten the lips securely with screws and glue (Photo 4).

Step 5: Sand the wannigan and finish the exterior and interior with your choice of spar varnish, marine enamel or fiberglass cloth and resin.

The Tumpline: Leather tumplines are available for purchase in some paddling shops or you can build your own using copper rivets, heavy-duty thread and long strips of leather. To carry a wannigan you will need a tumpline with 7-foot tails. Alternatively you could use thin-gauge (quarter-inch is about right) climbing rope for the tails and reclaimed seatbelt webbing for the headpiece.

Rigging the Wannigan: Use a “wannigan knot” to secure the tumpline to the food box. Begin by placing the tumpline on the ground in an elongated U. Set the wannigan on top and pull the tumpline headpiece and tails over the long sides of the box to the lid. Evans recommends adjusting the length of the tumpline so that the middle of the headpiece is about a forearm’s length from the lid of the wannigan. Now pass each tail under the headpiece and form an X-shaped wrap (Photo 5). The key is to maintain tension on the tumpline throughout. Secure the loose ends of the tumpline around the backside of the wannigan.

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Say ‘I Do’ at the Elegant Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley Hotel

When love is in the air, only the best will do for upcoming
nuptials. That’s why it’s important for brides and grooms to choose a
venue that offers the perfect wedding space, event planning, and
impeccable catering.

When deciding on Raleigh wedding venues, couples should consider the
elegant Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley hotel for their special day.
Our Raleigh hotel staff creates magical events and takes care of
every detail from start to finish. When it comes to event planning,
Raleigh Marriott Crabtree hotel’s certified wedding planners
coordinate events flawlessly and bring Raleigh wedding receptions to
life. Your professional wedding planner will guide the wedding party
through every detail — from luxurious overnight accommodations, to
personalized menu design, decor, and final arrangements.

Our stunning grand ballroom and banquet space is surpassed only by
our award-winning culinary team. We’ll accommodate every family
tradition — and every wish — from buffet brunches to dinner
receptions and everything in between. When choosing banquet halls in
Raleigh, NC, for wedding receptions, the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree
Valley is a great choice, especially when wedding guests are
traveling from out-of-town. Our luxury accommodations are near the
international airport, downtown Raleigh attractions, Crabtree Valley
Mall, and top universities. Hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness
center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and spacious guest rooms
with flat panel TVs, wireless Internet, and luxury bedding.

The Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley hotel, which is near the Raleigh
Durham International Airport, offers complimentary shuttle to/from
the airport and ideal accommodations for out-of-town wedding guests.
Before or after the ceremony, guests can enjoy downtown Raleigh
attractions, nearby golf, and fabulous shopping at the Crabtree
Valley Mall. Our Raleigh hotel is also just five miles from the RBC
Center, where guests can watch the Carolina Hurricanes and other
special events.

For a stunning Raleigh wedding reception that will be remembered for
years, choose the elegant event space at the Raleigh Marriott
Crabtree Valley hotel. With specialty linens, upgraded dinnerware,
and fantastic area florists and photographers to recommend, we have
all the accoutrements to create spectacular weddings. Just say ‘I do’
— choose the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley hotel for that special

About Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley Hotel
The Raleigh Marriott
Crabtree Valley Hotel is conveniently located near Raleigh Durham
International Airport, with a complimentary shuttle to/from the
airport. Our upscale hotel features 375 guest rooms and is within
minutes of North Carolina State University and downtown Raleigh
attractions with easy access to Duke University. Guests can relax at
our Crabtree Grille and Quinn`s @4500 restaurant or enjoy the health
club, swimming pool, nearby golf courses and shopping at the Crabtree
Valley Mall. This Marriott hotel has earned the prestigious ENERGY
STAR(R) label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for
its efforts to conserve water and energy and protect the environment.

About Marriott Hotels Resorts
Marriott Hotels Resorts is
Marriott International’s signature and most widely distributed brand,
with more than 500 hotels and resorts in 54 countries. Marriott
continues to inspire performance and a balanced life on the road for
discerning and high-achieving business and leisure travelers,
offering warm, professional service; sophisticated yet functional
guest room design; lobby spaces that facilitate working, dining and
socializing; restaurants and bars serving international cuisine
prepared simply and from the freshest ingredients; meeting and event
spaces and services that are gold standard; and expansive, 24-hour
fitness facilities. All Marriott hotels participate in the award
winning Marriott Rewards frequent travel program that allows members
to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during
each stay. For more information, visit . Follow
Marriott Hotels Resorts on Twitter at .

Image Available:

        Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley
        T: 301-380-2818
        Name: Ann Lafontaine
        Email: Email Contact            

SOURCE: Marriott International            

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

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KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White

A home for Cubs news, commentary, blogs, discussion, and news and blog aggregation.

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Just Opened: Hammonton sisters start clothing, accessories boutique

Business: GorJess LoveLee

Location: 220 Bellevue Ave., Hammonton

Owners: Sisters Leah Rodio, 21, and Jessica
Rodio, 25, both of Hammonton

Employees: Owner-operated

Phone: 609-704-7234

Jessica: We’re a one-stop shop. We have
lounge-wear, dresses, jewelry, a little bit of everything for
everyone. We have fancy shoes and heels. We select them from
wholesalers in California. We also have handbags by Nicole Lee, an
up-and-coming designer.

We have stuff for teachers, yoga pants, and plus sizes too. We
also have a lot of handmade things from local artists, such as

Leah: We have soy candles, and they’re all

Jessica: And we have a bird, a parakeet. Her name is Pretty. We’re
GorJess, LoveLee and Pretty.

Our loungewear is mostly basics, like T-shirts, camis and

Leah: You could wear it to the gym, out
shopping, or just being comfy.

We have unique dresses ranging from dressy to casual. For
example, we have one that’s almost ’80s inspired, with shoulder
pads, and comes in all different colors. That sells for $28. Our
prices are very reasonable.

Jessica: We grew up in Hammonton. I was a
hairdresser and still am. This is something we always wanted to do

Leah: Before this I was a student at the
Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, so of course I wanted
to do this. I learned a lot about fashion forecasting, predicting
next season’s styles and trends, which is why we always have what’s
in style and not previous trends.

Jessica: It’s nice to have something you can
call your own and know that you worked hard for it. We love fashion
and love helping people…

Leah: … and we love working together.

Jessica: This is the first time we’ve worked
together since my sister’s mud kitchen when we were little.

The challenging part is pleasing everyone, with their different
styles and needs.

Leah: The business side is definitely
stressful, when you have a pile of paper in front of you. But when
you see the customers leaving with bags of stuff, it’s

Jessica: I’m opening a salon in the back of the
store. Leah is doing alterations there now.

We’re getting some funny little greeting cards and novelty
items. We also have some basic summer spring dresses we’re getting
in, such as floral prints.

Business Editor Kevin Post


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Kroger stores plan to have ‘re-grand opening’ in Clarksville Wednesday

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Kroger will celebrate the “re-grand opening” of its Clarksville stores at 2100 Lowes Drive, 1489 Madison St., and 110 Dover Crossing Road on Wednesday at 8 a.m.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at each location beginning at 7:45 a.m. All three stores have undergone significant remodels over the last several months, in what the company has described as a routine update.

Kroger opened their first store in the Clarksville community in 1946. A second location was added in 1978, and then a third location on Lowes Drive opened in 1997. The company has over 300 employees in the three stores combined.

“We are proud to have been part of the Clarksville community for so many years, and we thank our customers for the support they continue to give us,” said Melissa Eads, community affairs manager for Kroger, in a news release. “Our customers have been very patient during the remodel process at these stores, and I hope they will be pleased with what we now have to offer them.”

The newly remodeled stores feature a Nature’s Market Nutrition Center, an Organic Produce selection; Deli/Bakery; Fresh Seafood Shop; Floral Shop; and an all-new decor package. The Lowes Drive store also includes a Fresh Sushi Shoppe and the Madison Street store includes an all new Kitchen Place destination which includes small appliances, kitchen gadgets, dinnerware, and kitchen accessories.

The pharmacies were remodeled as well and the Lowes Drive and Madison Street locations continue to offer drive-through service. The Dover Crossing store has an outside walk-up window available.

During the grand opening celebration customers can receive a $25 credit on their Kroger Plus Card good towards groceries with any transferred prescriptions. This offer is not valid on transfers from other Kroger stores. In addition, the Pharmacy offers $4 30-day generic prescriptions and $10 90-day generic prescriptions every day, and you receive 50 fuel points for every prescription.

All three Clarksville Kroger locations also offer Fuel Centers. The Kroger Fuel Rewards Program can save customers up to $1off per gallon of fuel. Customers earn one fuel point for every dollar spent on qualifying items when they use their Kroger Plus Card during shopping trips at Kroger stores.

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Big suppliers absent from Builders’ Show

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Some big home-appliance manufacturers will be conspicuous by their absence from the International Builders’ Show this week, a sign that the new-home market is still weak, despite some recent improvement in employment and other economic indicators.

For suppliers to the building industry, the trade show used to be a can’t-miss event. To dazzle potential builder customers, companies would invite celebrity chefs to cook on their ranges. The enticing smell of baking cookies would draw attendees to take a look at one oven or another.

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But big brands such as Whirlpool, GE

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, Kenmore and others will be noticeably absent from the show when it kicks off this week in Orlando, a sign that — despite improving home-builder confidence over the past several months — this is a market still in the doldrums. For many exhibitors, this is the first year in a while that they’ve skipped the annual trade event.

“We had a couple of large companies, especially appliance companies, that won’t be exhibiting this year,” said Mark Pursell, senior vice president for exhibitions, marketing and sales at the National Association of Home Builders. In an industry as concentrated as appliances, there can be a tendency to “follow the herd” — when big companies decide not to attend, others tend to follow suit, Pursell added.

“We think they will be back at IBS once they’re convinced that the market is coming back,” he said.

About 900 exhibitors had committed to the show as of last week, compared with about 1,000 in 2011, according to NAHB.

Last year in the U.S. an estimated 302,000 new single-family homes were sold, a record low and 6.2% below total sales in 2010, when 323,000 homes were sold, according to the Commerce Department .
Read more: December new-home sales dip to end worst-ever year.

Yet builder confidence, while still low, has been on the rise in recent months: The NAHB/Wells Fargo housing market index rose to 25 in January, the fourth month in which the number rose and the highest level since June 2007. And as of last week, attendee registration for the Builders’ Show was up 15% from the same time last year, according to NAHB.
Read more: Home-builder gauge hits 4.5-year high.

Given how much home builders are relying on a turnaround in the economy for a sustained improvement in business, it’s fitting that one of the big-name speakers at the event is Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is scheduled to address the conference on Friday.

New products

It’s harder to say whether a pullback in new construction has also caused suppliers to scale back their new-product offerings.

“My sense is across all of our exhibitors that there has been some sort of slowdown in new product development. It’s not true of every company, but I’m not hearing the buzz about new products as I did when [the market] was booming,” Pursell said.

But while Delta Faucet Co. is skipping the trade show this year, it’s not for lack of new product, according to the company’s president, Richard O’Reagan. He went on to list a variety of new offerings, including beverage faucets as well as new design finishes, one of the most buzz-worthy being a faucet designed by Jason Wu — the fashion designer responsible for First Lady Michelle Obama’s inauguration ball gown.

Delta’s reason for skipping the show: Business lately has been concentrated mainly on repair and remodel customers, and events such as the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show are more geared to that audience, O’Reagan said. It’s also worth mentioning that exhibitors usually have to commit to a trade show six to eight months in advance, he added.

There’s another factor at play, too: For some home suppliers, instead of displaying products at trade shows, they’re bringing customers to their own permanent spaces.

Delta’s new showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart has been one of the company’s more successful ways to market to builders, designers and other customers, O’Reagan said. The company’s Dream2O showroom offers a more “experiential” place for them to interact with the products.

“We’ve seen people stay for 45 minutes, turning on and off the water to see how it flows and what the faucet feels like in their hands,” he said.

Whirlpool Corp.

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 , parent company to brands including Maytag, Amana and KitchenAid, also opened a 27,500 square foot “World of Whirlpool Corporation” facility in Chicago last year, “a destination for designers, customers, sales trainees, industry influencers and media,” said Whirlpool spokeswoman Kristine Vernier, in an email.

“The space not only allows us to present new products, but also to more easily present proprietary product, to show product in use — actually doing laundry and cooking meals — and to get feedback from key trade customers year round. These are just some of the benefits that a trade show environment did not provide to us,” she wrote.

Home energy, technology

While some of the usual suspects won’t be courting builders at the show this week, Pursell said there is expected to be a large presence of energy efficiency and technology related companies at the show. It’s expected that iPads will also be in abundance, being used for everything from apps to help builders manage their projects to programs that allow a home’s heating and cooling, lights and more to be controlled from the screen, Pursell said.


add Add GE to portfolio




add Add WHR to portfolio



Amy Hoak is a MarketWatch reporter based in Chicago.

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