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November 6, 2012 |

Archive for » November 6th, 2012«

Top 10 Thanksgiving must-haves

You’ve got the guest list, shopping list, and Thanksgiving wines ready. But before preparing your Thanksgiving feast, we would like to recommend a few tools to make the stressful experience easier. Our list of Top 10 Thanksgiving Must-Haves ranges from inexpensive utensils that cost a few dollars to high-end appliances, all designed to ease your workload and avoid Thanksgiving disasters, like a baster rolling off the table, an unevenly cooked bird, lumpy gravy, and even turkey hitting the floor. If only there were a tool to stop relatives from bickering!

All-Clad Tools Poultry Lifters  
Price: $27
A twenty-pound bird is unwieldy in the store, but is even tougher to maneuver when piping hot. All-Clad Stainless Steel Poultry Lifters make it easy to move your turkey from the roaster to the carving board to the serving platter, and their tines are well-spaced and sturdy for easy balance. They’re dishwasher-safe so they’re easy to clean, and they come with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, they’re a good-looking match for your stainless roasting pan.

Black Decker 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife
Price: $10
A good carving knife can make the difference between clean sliced meat and a bird that’s been hacked to pieces. The Black Decker 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife has a serrated stainless steel blade that can produce both thick cuts and thin deli slices. Its nonslip handle will give you comfort and security while you carve, and the safety lock prevents possible injury from accidental starts. If your Thanksgiving spread includes hard cheeses or freshly baked bread, this knife will provide a good cut for those as well. It also makes a good gift to bring to a holiday party.

Calphalon Stainless 16-Inch Roaster
Price: $110
Did Grandma love the drumstick, but Uncle Carl complain that the wing was overdone? Then it’s time you tried the Calphalon Stainless Roaster. The 16-inch roasting pan is made of stainless steel with an aluminum core designed for high-quality conductivity, allowing your bird to roast evenly. It will make your turkey tender, even though it’s so tough it can handle temperatures up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This kitchen aid comes with a V-shaped nonstick roasting rack and stay-cool handles that are extended high for easy transport in and out of your oven. Clean-up is easy – just put it in the dishwasher when you’re finished. Or let Uncle Carl do it while you’re accepting praise for your well-prepared bird.

Char-Broil Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer
Price: $99
The Big Easy Infrared Oil-Less Turkey Fryer by Char-Broil cooks your holiday turkey to the same delectable moistness as a standard deep-fryer, but without the dangerous and unhealthy oil. The efficient 16,000 BTU infrared heat cooks your bird (up to sixteen pounds) evenly and quickly, taking only eight to ten minutes per pound. Since there is no oil used in the fryer, turkeys can be prepared not only with marinades under the skin, but also with rubs on the outside. This offers a new twist to achieving turkey’s crispy skin. The outdoor Big Easy Turkey Fryer’s infrared cooking technology offers a healthy, safe and clean alternative to the traditional oil deep-fryer.

Cuisinart Pro Classic Food Processor
Price: $100
We’re not sure when Cuisinart became synonymous with food processors, but we certainly are fans of the brand as well. The Cuisinart Classic 7-Cup Food Processor comes with attachments that allow you to knead dough, slice and chop vegetables, mince herbs and mix batter. Are you a food processor rookie? A 30-minute how-to DVD will put you on the right track, and a 50-page cookbook can provide inspiration for new recipes. All parts of the processor are dishwasher-safe, and it comes with a five-year warranty.

Fiesta Deep Dish Pie Baker
Price: $25
Fiesta is one of the most beloved and most collected dinnerware brands in the U.S.  The festively colored products have been an all-American staple since 1936. Fiesta’s Deep Dish Pie Baker is lead and cadmium free and made from fully vitrified china. It is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe and — best of all — your pie dish comes with a five-year chip warranty.

KRUPS Immersion Blender
Price: $72
Lumpy gravy, be gone! A little precision German engineering can go a long way when it comes to the shelf life of your kitchen appliances. The brand KRUPS has been around since 1846. The KRUPS Immersion Blender can chop, puree and blend most foods using six variable speeds. The durable stainless steel shaft removes easily to store, or to switch to any of the accessories that come with this blender, which include a whisk, a beaker and a mini chopper. The soft grip ergonomic handle can give you a more comfortable blending experience, and it comes with a wall mount for quick storage. This blender also features an LCD screen so you can monitor your speeds as you prep.

Kuhn Rikon Potato Masher
Price: $18
If you’ve ever tried to mash hot potatoes with a big fork, you’re appreciate the Kuhn Rikon Potato Masher. This heavy-duty stainless steel kitchen tool has a thin-steel, zigzag design to crush potatoes efficiently, as well as a waterproof steel barrel handle and hanging loop for easy storage. You can even use this dishwasher-safe tool to mash avocados for guacamole, or sweet potatoes for a casserole.

Norpro Glass Baster
Price: $6
Basic plastic basters are available in pretty much any grocery store, but if you’re not a fan of BPA, check out a glass version. This tempered glass baster can handle heat as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit without cracking or melting, and — this is very cool —  its square edges will keep it from rolling off your counter. It holds two ounces, and you won’t have any trouble reading the neatly printed measurements on it. It’s less than a foot long and about five ounces, making storage easy. It’s an inexpensive way to get a good start on a juicy turkey.

Proteak Teak Cutting Board
Price: $90
If you’re shopping for a solid, reliable cutting board to hold your holiday bird, consider Proteak. The company uses wood grown on conflict-free, sustainable plantations. We also like that no two boards look alike. Also, teak’s distinct texture makes cutting efficient; the wood is hard enough to withstand knife blades and soft enough to keep knives sharp. The Proteak Teak Cutting Board is not only large enough to hold a 20-pound turkey, it also has a juice canal built into all four sides.


Photos and Where to Buy the Top 10 Thanksgiving Must-Haves

Best Thanksgiving Restaurants Near You

Top 10 Thanksgiving Wines

Holiday Cookbook Reviews

The History of Thanksgiving Traditions

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Cast-iron pots, skillets remain kitchen workhorses

Columbia Daily Tribune

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some of the first cookware used in the American Colonies was cast iron. The name Dutch oven has many possibilities of origin. We do know that the original casting of metals in a sand mold was done in Holland. It is also known that the Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania almost exclusively used cast-iron pots and kettles, often doing the cooking in open fireplaces. The pioneers who traveled west could only bring a limited number of items in their covered wagons. Cast-iron pots could be used over an open fire, and a whole meal could be cooked at one time while the bread was baking in another pot. Although rarely used over an open fire, except by campers today, cast-iron cookware is still a favorite in many kitchens. NBC’s Al Roker recently said his cast-iron skillet is the one thing he would not be without.

Just about anything can be cooked in a Dutch oven or skillet. Fried chicken and bacon will be the crispiest. My mother always stirred her cream pie filling continuously in her big iron skillet. I love to bake cornbread and even apple pies in my cast-iron skillet. I bought the 10-inch skillet more than 40 years ago, and it is still my favorite tool for stir-frying. They last a lifetime. Cast-iron cookware will not wear out and are totally indestructible. The handle sure won’t break off. With just a little care, these utensils can be passed from generation to generation.

I often get calls for instructions on how to care for, season or re-season cast iron cookware. Unless you have one of the pre-seasoned pieces, such as those sold by Lodge Manufacturing after 2002, you can season it yourself to make cast iron nonstick. Cast iron should never be put in the dishwasher and should not be set aside to soak. The following are basic instructions for care of these special pots. If you have one stored away, start using it, and it will soon become your favorite way to cook.

Julia Helvey, a longtime Columbia resident and professional home economist, has been cooking since childhood. Reach her via email at editor@columbia

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How to: Make an old copper pot safe to cook in

A. If the corrosion isn’t too deep, Hammersmith Copper Cookware in New York can strip the existing lining and replace it with a new tin lining, which will make your pot food-safe. According to the Copper Development Association, a trade group, this is the only U.S. company left that makes copper pots.

An intact lining is important because many foods are acidic. Acid corrodes copper, producing toxic byproducts. Your pot, like others made before World War II, was probably lined in tin. Newer ones sometimes have a nickel lining. Hammersmith can strip either type, but the new lining it installs is always tin, says the company’s owner, Mac Kohler.

Exterior problems on a pot are usually corrosion resulting from exposing the pot to an acid or storing it around damaging chemicals. Kohler has seen copper pans that were packed away for years in copper polish because someone thought the polish would protect the metal from corrosion while in storage. Left in place too long, the polish instead ate the metal.

Hammersmith offers one free retinning to people who buy its pots. For people who own pots made by other companies, Kohler suggests e-mailing pictures before spending money on shipping. Pots with deep corrosion can’t be retinned. “Retinning is an ungentle process,” Kohler says. It requires putting the pot into acid baths and exposing the metal to high heat.

If a pot made by someone else can be retinned, the cost depends on the size, measured in linear inches down one wall, across the diameter (or long axis in the case of ovals or rectangles) and back up the other wall, multiplied by $6. For example, a 7-by-3-inch saucepan would measure out to 13 inches and retinning would cost $84.

We have a summer house built six years ago with a screened porch that faces the woods. A few inches of the screening has come loose, allowing bugs in. I called the company that installed the screens, and because our five-year warranty just ran out, the person I talked to told me they would charge $75 to just come out. I asked whether someone could tell me how to fix it and they said to take the screen to a hardware store and have new spline installed. But the screen panel is huge and I can’t remove it by myself. I’d need to be on a ladder. Is there a cheaper, easier fix, even if it would not be as perfect?

Chevy Chase

There is no way to make the screen look like new without having access to the side where the spline (a plastic cord) is wedged into a groove to hold the screen in place. Because that’s on the outside, you’d need to be on a ladder to attempt even the simplest possible fix: using a flat-head screwdriver to poke the spline back into place. But there’s a good chance that repair won’t work, because the spline is likely to have stretched a bit. So you will probably need to take down the screen and have a hardware store or a window shop install a new screen and spline. (Reusing the old screen doesn’t usually work because it’s likely to have stretched, too.) Handy homeowners can replace screens and splines themselves, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. So, especially because your letter implies you’re not comfortable working on a ladder, your best bet might be to get a few bids from people who do home repair and from a shop that specializes in screen repairs.

Is there a quick-and-dirty solution if you’re willing to have the screen look patched? Duct tape would probably work, except there’s no way to press it firmly against the screen if the screen is still in place. So try this: Stick one edge of a length of duct tape to a scrap of window screen and the other edge to the frame, so that the scrap overlaps the loose area. Then, using a curved needle and thread, stitch the overlapped screen sections together. Duct tape isn’t always gray, so you can probably match the frame color.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to
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The Checklist
Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in November, such as insulating pipes.

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Steamer Trading Cookshop Opens The Doors To Its Online Store


Lewes, East Sussex

Steamer Trading, the UK’s leading independent cookware shop, has opened the virtual doors to its online store. Food-lovers can now head to and purchase everything from cake pop moulds to asparagus steamers to berry pickers, from exciting brands including Le Creuset, KitchenAid and Joseph Joseph.

Offline, Steamer has 28 stores in cities from Chester to Brighton, and is much-loved by customers who value the expertise and knowledge of store staff and the unique range of quality kitchenware in-stock.

Following customer demand for a web presence, the family-run retailer has worked hard to bring its expertise online; creating detailed buyer’s guides which answer virtually every kitchenware-related question, from ‘which knife should I buy?’ to ‘do I need to season my frying pan?’ and teaming up with some the UK’s top food industry experts, including Michelin-starred chefs, Phil Howard, Tom Kerridge and Russell Brown, and much-loved potter Emma Bridgewater, for trusted product recommendations.

As part of the site launch, and to celebrate its expertise, Steamer has created a unique A-Z of cookware, which explains everything from an avocado masher, to a duck press, to a zabaglione pan. The alphabet can be found on-site, as well as on Pinterest (, where Pinners can also view favourite recipes that require the use of each item.

Ben Phillips, Managing Director, says: “We’re thrilled to finally have Steamer Trading online. We’re so much more than a cookware shop and I truly feel that the site will be a place where food lovers come for inspiration and advice, as well as to purchase their favourite products.”

Visit for kitchen inspiration and quality purchases.


Notes to editors:
For more information, please contact:
Sophie Coley: or 01273 760969

Steamer Trading Cookshop is a family-run, award-winning kitchenware specialist. The company was founded in 1985 by Liz and David Phillips on the site of the former ‘Steamer Inn’ in Alfriston, Sussex – hence the name Steamer Trading. Today the business has grown to 28 stores. Carrying over 10,000 carefully selected items offering everything for the kitchen, from wooden spoons to 21 colours of KitchenAid mixer, the unique atmosphere of Steamer Trading’s stores and expert staff knowledge have frequently led to the shops being referred to as an ‘Aladdin’s cave for cooks’.

Steamer Trading has won a number of industry awards, including:

  • Excellence in Staff Training 2012

  • Excellence in Retail Display 2012

  • Retail Innovation Award (Silver) 2012

  • Specialist Multiple Retailer of the Year 2011

  • Specialist Multiple Retailer of the Year 2010

  • Retail Interiors Specialist Store Design (Finalist) 2010

  • Oracle/Retail Week Emerging Retailer of the Year 2009

  • Global Innovator Award 2010

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Simon & Co. Hosts Holiday Open House

2011 Cookware Series, Part I

When the going gets tough, Americans reach for their frying pans. In the last few years, concern about the economy has driven consumers out of restaurants and back to their kitchens. But while this was potentially good news for specialty kitchenware retailers, many consumers were reticent to invest in new cookware … until now

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off

Simon & Co. Hosts Holiday Open House

2011 Cookware Series, Part I

When the going gets tough, Americans reach for their frying pans. In the last few years, concern about the economy has driven consumers out of restaurants and back to their kitchens. But while this was potentially good news for specialty kitchenware retailers, many consumers were reticent to invest in new cookware … until now

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off