KitchenAid stand mixer

Christmas, 1992, my mom’s beau, an avid cook with whom I shared many happy hours in the kitchen, gave me a KitchenAid standing mixer.  It quickly became and remains my most relied upon countertop appliance.  I use it for mixing all kinds of dough, whipping meringue, making big batches of pate a choux, and, when I joined forces with Brian Polcyn to write a book about sausages and other forms of food economy and preservation, to grind meat (via the grinder attachment) and to mix the meat afterward (more this later).  It was one of the best and most useful gifts I’ve received ever.

Christmas is a time when we indulge the people we love with gifts they wouldn’t be able to afford or to justify buying on their own.  For those of you who are pondering a bigger ticket item (in the $100+ range) to give a beloved cook, here are some of the following I recommend.  Everything I list below I own and use all the time, some for more than two decades.

I’ve told you about the standing mixer (I only recommend a 5-quart bowl or bigger; the 4.5-quart models are limiting), the powerhouse kitchen appliance, far more versatile and useful than a food processor.  But if you’re considering a food processor, my choice is this 3-quart model, a little smaller than the standard and easier to use, store and clean.

Another type of mixer is the Vita-Mix, by far the best blender available; makes silky purees, grinds whole grains into flour, great for smoothies, and I’ve even made a shrimp stuffing for shrimp dumplings in them. They’re very expensive, worth it if you can afford it, but if you can’t the standing mixer is the better purchase.  If cost is not an issue, they’re well worth it.  There’s a reason why you see them in virtually every decent restaurant kitchen.

Here’s the Vita Mix at Open Sky, an e-commerce site I’m happy to partner with.

Here it is at Amazon ($1.05 cheaper but does not come with my Open Sky love and affection).

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven from Le Creuset can’t be beat for small batch braising and stewing, making stocks, deep frying.  It’s a great heavy solid heat conductor and the enamel is a semi-non-stick surface that also browns food beautifully.  I couldn’t do without the 7-quart version linked to above but there’s a 3.5 quart version for smaller batches.  I would be very unhappy without my enameled cast iron.

I love all All-Clad pots and pans, but this 2-quart sauce pan is my favorite.

Of course, knives are a great gift, and they last forever if you take care of them.  I do not recommend buying an enormous block of knives for anyone.  I recommend buying two good knives, a big one and a little one, then adding more according to your desires.  I recommend this Wusthof set and I also recommend this three-piece set from Lamson & Goodnow (from Open Sky).  Lamson & Goodnow is an American maker of fine cutlery, and either set is a good value if you want an intermediate size.  I own both Wusthof and L&G and have been pleased by the edge the L&G keeps.

My cooking love is charcuterie, the making of pates and sausages, confits and dry-cured meats.  I’d be remiss not to mention this awesome meat grinder.  I use it not only for grinding meats for sausages and pates but also to make fresh hamburger and my own steak tartare (if I’m going to eat rare burgers and raw tartare, I want to grind the whole cuts myself). See it in use in my how to make sausage video.  For more on the subject, see my book, Charcuterie.

Also in the video, and highly recommended for the sausage fanatic in your house, a proper cylindrical stuffer.  This is the one I use, also from Open Sky.

For pates and meatloaf, nothing beats, the enameled cast-iron terrine mold from Le Creuset.

And last but not least, I highly recommend Apple’s iPad, which I think has the power to transform the way we cook.  We’re not quite there yet, but it’s a great information delivery device, so far unparalleled.

Now, off to tend my turkey stock for Thursday’s gravy.


79 Wonderful responses to “Holiday Shopping: The Big Ticket Items”

  • C. Trent Rosecrans

    Michael, I’d love to hear more about your uses for the iPad in the kitchen. So far, I’ve used it much as a recipe holder (a great $1 business card holder from Office Depot helps this), but what else have you used for your cooking. And has 4.2 helped with its multitasking and ability to run apps in the background? Anyway, thanks for the blog, I love reading this kind of stuff.

    And, saw you went to Columbus recently, any plans to come down all the way to the other end of the state and visit us in Cincinnati? If so, would love to recommend some places. I’v had great charcuterie at Local 127 and Slim’s (of course, I was introduced to it there and only just become interested, so it was great to me, it may not be great to a more seasoned palate)

  • Chappy

    I make bread and pizza dough with regularity and it seems like a stand mixer could save me kneading time, but the problem is my kitchen is quite small. Is there a size that is somewhat mobile? The suggested stand mixer seems like it is quite heavy/large.
    (Anyway, I suspect this is a rhetorical question and I’m wishing for a product that doesn’t/couldn’t exist).

    • ruhlman

      nothing i know of, and yes this is a heavy large item, but if you could find a space for it, you’d use it often.

    • Chrissy

      Chappy – I too have a very small kitchen with next to no counter top space, so sadly I store my KA mixer on a shelf in my basement and I’ve resigned myself to carrying it up the stairs once a week or so to use it – well worth the extra effort – must-have appliance/tool for any kitchen… no matter the size 😉

      • Alex

        I don’t have a mixer like that, but I do keep a blender and food processor under the sink. I bring the blender out every morning for smoothies!

  • tim

    I had all my recipes stored as PDF files which I would print out whenever I was cooking something. Now I don’t – just bring in the iPad into the kitchen with me. I have also found applications like epicurious and access to the web during cooking to be a great time saver. I am not so concerned about spilling flour on an iPad as I was with a laptop.

    I’m thinking of buying one specifically for the kitchen.

      • Paul

        But remember, in five years you will have to figure out a migration path for all those digital files. Your grandkids wlll not be turning on that iPad to see all of those nifty recipes that you used to cook from. If you want to pass it down, write it down.

    • Fred

      Regarding recipe storage: I created a gmail account just to email recipes to. An easy copy/paste from a web page into an email with the subject being the recipe name works well. Can also “label” each recipe in gmail by type to easily find “main beef,” “soup” or whatever. Always accessible by any web-connected device.

  • Tyson S. Maxwell

    Thanks for the recommendations. I have always been fond of my knifes from Warther ( out of Dover, OH. One nice feature, that I have yet to take advantage of, is that they offer free sharpening for life.

  • Scott D Harris

    My only gripe here is that some of these things don’t have to be “big tickets. I don’t buy knife sets, but most of my favorites are Mundial, German style knives made in Brazil. I have a sneaking suspicion that despite the company website they were founded shortly after April 30, 1945. An e-mail exchange with Chad Ward indicated that though he finds the steel a bit soft, but they are quite passable, and half the price of a Wusthof.

    I love enameled cast iron, but I have no Le Crueset. I have Nomar, endorsed by Paul Bocuse, which I got at TJ Marshalls for a third of the price. Same thing with my pate mold (though I don’t know the brand)

    We need educated consumers, not just consumers.


    • ruhlman

      i’ve used varying qualities of enameled cast iron. don’t like calphalon, for instance, but love le creuset.

      • Comal Caliente

        I received a large Le Creuset Dutch Oven last year and I have to say it is probably my most cherished item in the kitchen (until I get that mixer of course). I use it for everything, my favorite is to place a cut up chicken over potatoes and other veggies, perfectly roasted meat and veggies full of chickeny goodness.

      • Paul

        I used to love le creuset but the quality of the enameling is getting poorer. Mine were getting stained and then started to chip after a few years. Not worth the price anymore.

  • Randall

    Don’t forget the pasta roller attachment for the KA mixer, about the same price as a decent hand crank model and so much easier. Then there’s the ice cream maker too. One machine that can do cookies, pasta, sausage, and ice cream. Man, I love that thing.

    • Nan W.

      Having gotten my first KA stand mixer for Mother’s Day, the pasta attachment and ice cream maker are both on my wish list for Christmas!

  • Celeste

    Stepping up to defend Le Creuset–it has a lifetime guarantee, and if you live near a LC outlet store, it is available at a fraction of the usual retail price ( The outlet stores are running a 25-35% off promotion right now. It’s also made in France by people paid a living wage, with certified lead-free coatings.

    • Harry

      I’ve had very good experiences with Le Crueset customer service. One clerk even called me to say the outlet store had my preferred color on sale. My 1.25 qt pot recently chipped, I was disappointed that they’d changed styles – the handle of the new version is oven-safe only to 375F. Boo! But they paid for me to ship the new version back and gave me equivalent credit on anything else I wanted. I remain a satisfied customer.

  • Linda Griffith

    My first Kitchen Aid Mixer, the largest one they made, was 43 years old when I replaced it!!! There was nothing really wrong with it, but its paint was totally chipped and it looked like hell in my cooking classes. I bought a silver one and kept the ‘white one’ for a back-up. I love my mixers and have tested recipes for 6 cookbooks with them.

    While I have also enjoyed my Cuisinarts over the years, and found them to be very useful, I have to say that the Vita-Mix is really
    an awesome Kitchen tool, especially for soups and sauces. It saved me hours of misery when processing tomatoes from the garden, too. Don’t remember how I ever lived without it.

  • jen

    @scott et al. – Le Creuset can sometimes be found at TJ Maxx – it’s where my mom bought the one I received as a Christmas gift two years ago. some slight bubbling of the paint under the handle which will not effect anything, and I’m sure she got it at about half price – win win! the Straub brand dutch ovens are supposed to be great as well.

    • ruhlman

      I’m not a pressure cooker fan, really beats up the food. not necessary unless you’re competing in iron chef-style competitions.

    • Harry

      I like pressure cookers for dried beans (so much tastier, less salty and cheaper than canned) and risotto (not as good as the traditional method but since it takes 15 min in a rice cooker, I actually make risotto now). Kuhn Rikon makes the best but they can be upwards of $200. Having just reviewed and purchased a new pressure cooker to replace my grandmother’s 50 year old one, here’s my suggestion. Get any one that has two pressure levels and vents the excess pressure automatically, then check the reviews to make sure the rubber gasket doesn’t fall apart too soon.

  • emily

    Yeah, I have to second the ice cream maker attachment for the KA mixer. It’s so great, we store it in the freezer, and making ice cream or sorbet then requires so little planning ahead. It’s a great gift for someone who already has a KA mixer, we’ve gotten a bunch for people for weddings.

  • J A Harris

    If we are talking about life changing kitchen appliances, I have to agree with Nigella regarding rice cookers. They are expensive, but oh so worth it.

      • Dane

        I make rice in a pot the regular way but the rice cooker is great if you’ve got a lot going on and want to make a pilaf or something you just toast the rice and saute the vegetables then dump them all in the rice cooker and don’t have to think about it again for 20 minutes, and it stays warm in there. It’s more of a convenience I guess. I love mine. And you can make things in there besides rice, any type of grain really.

      • baker_bear

        Hi Michael,
        I used to feel that way too until I had a gas stove without enough btu’s to cook rice properly. I tried in vain to cook rice on that cook top but I finally capitulated and got a rice cooker. Now, I can’t imagine life without one. 🙂
        Btw, I too am curious about why you find the iPad indispensable in the kitchen.
        Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Harry

        I used to think so also – I make perfectly lovely rice by myself, thankyouvermuch – then my roommate got a fuzzy-logic (aka “smart”) rice cooker. There are two things a smart rice cooker can do that you can’t on a stove:
        1. It turns itself on. If you want brown rice ready and hot for dinner after work, the machine will do it for you. Otherwise you have to wait the extra-long time it takes on the stove.
        2. It turns itself off (technically, to a keep warm stage, which is even better). You can set it up and walk away, not worrying if you get distracted or pulled away. I once had a life-changing run, made possible by not having to interrupt the run to turn off my dinner on the stove (couldn’t trust the roommate to remember).

        There are some other advantages.
        -The keep warm state in our rice cooker keeps the food above 140F so it’s safe for a long time. Once we left white rice in there for three days (oops!) and it remained moist and ungummy.
        – It keeps the kitchen cool and the stove top free.
        – It’s much harder to make good rice on an electric stove (my experience anyway). If I were cursed with an electric kitchen I’d probably need a rice cooker rather than just like one.

        So despite being a good maker of rice, I am a convert to rice cookers.

  • Amy P.

    I’m totally with you on the All-Clad saucier pan, Wustof knives, & iPad recs. Having solid knives and pans that conduct heat well make all the difference in the world; my 3-qt All Clad saucier is probably my most used pan. What I love about the iPad is the ability to zoom and enlarge recipe instructions – perfect for reference when you’re in the midst of cooking projects.

  • Steve

    The link is to MacGourmet, a GREAT recipe app for your Mac, iPhone and iPad. I especially love the text import feature. Makes it easy to import recipes from old collections or cut and pasted from any source on the web. I have no financial stake, I’m just a very satisfied user

    • Guy

      I’ve used MacGourmet for years (paid for it once, around $20 I think, and then have had free upgrades ever since) and built up quite a database of recipes. When I got an iPod Touch, the first app I bought was the MacGourmet app ($4.99 I think), which then allows me to carry that same recipe database anywhere the Touch goes. What a wonderful, well-designed set of programs.

  • Jason Sandeman

    I wish I could get my hands on a Viking range, but then again, Christmas could be good this year! One other thing that I think should be on that list is Ratio app for the Ipad. Nothing could beat that for functionality!

  • Jon

    Can you provide some examples of things that you turn to your vita-mix for over your food processor or immersion blender? I use mine for basic smoothies, but would like to get more out of it.

  • Karin

    @Sheryl – reagarding a pressure cooker. We finally settled on a Kuhn-Rikon model after researching many models. It cost about the same as a small aforementioned Kitchen Aid. Will last a lifetime and has been very valuable in the prep of game. (Birds and beast!)

  • Christian Hudon

    For enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens, assuming I’m going to go with a large one (around 7 Qt), would you recommend round or oval? What advantages are there to each?

      • Mary

        I use both, but the oval is valuable when you are cooking (or warming) more than one thing in the oven and need the space.

        • Harry

          I have both round and oval; round for most things and oval for fowl. If I had to chose one, I think it would be oval. It’s easier to make stew in oval than French braise a bird in round.

  • Ann Drew

    Why? Why? Why? can’t I find your archived posts?

    Utter madness, I have been clicking on everything on your site and nada! I swear you always had that access to previous posts. Reason for my frustration, I came across your (I’m sure it was you!) “…easiest, simplest, best way to roast a chicken.” It was not only hilarious, but a great approach. Basically, I remember the directive to pop it into an oven (stuff a lemon in the cavity + herbs, etc. at, was it 325? and go do something else with your life for an hour!

    Thought I had bookmarked it, but alas. No.

    P.S. I agree with your holiday shopping list…happy to say most all are already in my kitchen!

  • Ann Drew

    Carolyn, Pete! Yes! That’s exactly the ‘page’ I want to find again! Thanks.

  • Chrissy

    Don’t forget to tell everyone that Vita-Mix blenders are made right here in Cleveland!!!! Got to support the local guy whenever possible 🙂 Also, Staub makes great cast iron cookware and its a smidge less expensive than Le Creuset – I have a piece of each and love them both!!

    • Kristine

      I agree. That’s why I recommend Calphalon enameled dutch ovens. Made in Toledo. I love mine, both the round and oval. Not sure why Michael doesn’t like them. Because Symon’s their spokesman?? I kid.

  • luis

    I am gadget oriented so I have the mixer exactly same color and same model you show and quite a few of the attachments. I love the pasta and the grinder attachments.
    The mixer is parked somewhere other than the kitchen. But it comes out to play on a regular basis. My bread making skill is a huge disapointment to me. I used to be better than I am now. And I don’t know why? I keep thinking that I am over working the dough????….
    who knows? I think my oven is shot…to hell. I am going to try and replace the heating element in it.
    I love to get the two or three meats ground beef blister packs at the store and mix them with herbs such and make really tasty burger patties.

  • luis

    I am in the market for a cleaver…..Something that chops bones for a living…

  • Randy

    What is cool about the mixer is that you can also buy attachments for it that make life a lot easier. I use the meat grinder and the pasta maker.

  • Elias

    It’s got to be the Thermomix, a food processor that also weighs, cooks, steams, kneads liquidises etc.

  • Sally

    Michael, This is an excellent pared-down list! When I migrated from a restaurant to a home kitchen, I had no equipment, so gradually added most of these (5-qt mixer, the best! 3-qt Cuisinart, perfect size!) Now I am only a few years away of supplying these to my kid, nieces and nephews. I still don’t have a Vitamix, but I could have bought one at least twice with all the blender replacements I’ve made. I, too, am a fan of the coffee percolator–reminds me of my dad, and is perfect for entertaining since my C.O.D. is espresso!

  • Victoria

    Hi, Michael,

    My Kitchenaid is 35(!) years old and still going strong; however, it is the smaller bowl, and I keep eyeing the Artisan model. Do you think it really is worth replacing considering I’ve never had any complaints about it?

    I have the meat grinder for the above-noted Kitchenaid, but it seems you have recommended that particular stand-alone meat grinder more than once. I grind my own meat often. Do you think this is a worthwhile purchase?

    A suggestion for a low-ticket item for the cook on your list is a Forschner 12-inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife with a Fibrox Handle. It got top ratings from Cook’s Illustrated a while back, works beautifully, is something usually lacking in even the most ardent cook’s arsenal, and can be had on Amazon for under $40. I plan to give it out this year with a copy of John Martin Taylor’s recipe for making a bone-in ham. Ridiculously easy, fool-proof, and delicious. Plus you end up with a gorgeous ham bone to use to make something luxurious.

    Happy Thankgiving. A toast to you and your family. And a big nod to Rip!

    • ruhlman

      if it ain’t broke, don’t buy a new one! and on the meat grinder, I got fed up with grinder attachment, doesn’t do a good job over time. if you grind a lot of meat, the grinder is excellent.

    • luis

      Victoria, I have the twelve and the eight inch knives. They are classic french chef knives but I also bought the sheath for the twelve inch knife. (It works with the eight as well). I have a horizontal knife holder that fits in a drawer since I value my counter space too much to put a knife block on it.
      I highly recommend the sheath to anyone and I bought it on Amazon. Whenever I go out of town fishing or camping etc… I have to have safety with these excellent knives. I used to wrap the blade in old rags but the sheath is better as I can leave the knives on the counter and not fear someone else will cut themselves inadvertently.

  • Andrew

    I considered a stand mixer, but went with the Bosch Universal Plus Mixer instead. It may not be as pretty as the KA stand mixers, but it has far more torque. I can knead 15 pounds of dough in one batch with the Bosch and its dough hook. KA likes to post its wattage for bragging rights, but that just tells you how much power it consumes, not its output (like saying a Suburban and a Corvette drive the same and can haul the same load because they have the same horsepower). I can and do make 6 loaves of bread at a time with the Bosch. Can only do 2 or 3 with a stand mixer, and if you do that repeatedly it’s likely to kill the motor prematurely. The Bosch also offers just about every attachment (meat grinder, food processor, blender, pasta maker) you can get with a stand mixer, as well as a grain flaker which makes the best bowl of freshly rolled oats (from whole oat groats) imaginable. If you’re thinking of getting a stand mixer, consider the Bosch Universal Plus mixer depending on your needs.

  • Susan

    This is a really good list of things most cooks would love to have. Over the years, I’ve finally managed to get many of them for myself and all of them have exceeded my expectations for quality and use. Right now I’m smitten with that 2qt Saucier from All Clad. What a great pan. To be able to whisk a sauce without worrying about getting at the stuff in the corners has sold me! I feel about pans like you feel about knives; sets aren’t necessary, ot even desirable. You need the right pan for the job and the sets are usually overkill for use as much as for your wallet!

  • Sarah

    Totally agree with you on the Le Creuset dutch oven and the KitchenAid. Absolutely love, love, LOVE both of those. If you live near a Tuesday Morning, they often have Le Creuset products deeply discounted. I scored an enormous dutch oven for 50% off. I also recommend checking some of the home shopping network websites when thinking about making a big purchase. They often have sales and flex-pay offers where you can spread the purchase price out up to 6 months (automatically withdrawing from your account). Makes it a little less painful.

  • Barbara

    I have had my 5 qt. KA mixer for 35 years. Still works and looks like new. Gotta love original Hobart machines. Also have original 1979 Cuisinart. Now I have my iPad. Love love love! Fits beautifully in a large zip plastic bag if I am worried about the mess. Use folding plastic plate/picture holder from Dollar Store to prop it up at proper angle. Great for traveling and watching video on airplanes. I use DROPBOX to save my categorized recipes at home on my PC and can access them anywhere (iPad app, or any computer) now.

  • Leonard Duffy

    You and your readers should know about the “Ultimate Cookbook Holder” by Over the Edge Products. Works for iPads as well. And, there will soon be a version for netbooks.

  • Ryan

    Love the idea of high end knives for a gift (just don’t forget to add a penny . . . the receiver of the gift gives you the penny back so that they “buy” the knives from you . . . its and old tradition since knives as a gift symbolize the severing of a relationship). Great knife shop up here in Calgary importing hand made Japanese knifes They Ship to US and Canada

    • CanadaGoose

      My future husband gave me a knife as a gift sans the penny. And somehow we managed to get married and stay that way for 24 years (and counting). ;-]

      I got my KA in 1985 and after all these years of bread kneading, it seems about to give up the ghost, alas. On the other hand, my Cuisinart food processor dates from 1983 and though I’ve replaced every part except the motor, it’s still going strong.

      We have both the grinder and sausage stuffer that Michael recommends. They’re bargains. Very sturdy and well-made. As you can tell from the above, I like stuff that lasts a long time.

      • JC

        Don’t give up on that KA yet. I’ve taken our 11 year old (after about about the 500th Bread flour pizza dough broke it’s back) to an authorized repair place and now it is spining like new. Much less expensive than a new one.

  • Chad

    When we bought our kitchen aid i knew we’d use it but we use it even more than I thought. GREAT MACHINE and does many things, most quite well (could always tweak the “add-ons” but having just one motor to do it all is impressive. Haven’t ben a fan of the shaped pasta gadget but the others work pretty well abd we have all but the grain mill at this time.

  • Chad

    When we bought our kitchen aid i knew we’d use it but we use it even more than I thought. GREAT MACHINE and does many things, most quite well (could always tweak the “add-ons” but having just one motor to do it all is impressive. Haven’t ben a fan of the shaped pasta gadget but the others work pretty well abd we have all but the grain mill at this time. Opted for a different sausage stuffer to move quicker and not have a motor heating things up.

  • Paul C

    I considered a stand mixer, but went with the Bosch Universal Plus Mixer instead. It may not be as pretty as the KA stand mixers, but it has far more torque. I can knead 15 pounds of dough in one batch with the Bosch and its dough hook. .

    I’d have to agree here … my KA is the Pro model with 500 watts and makes all sorts of horrible noises and performs pretty terribly now. It gets almost too hot to touch after just 5 minutes of mixing 2 pounds of bread dough. It now sounds like there’s no grease in the gears and I expect every batch of bread to be my last.

    The KA support people tell you not to knead dough for more than 8 minutes which is crazy, especially with artisinal or wholegrain type doughs. I’ve played with a Bosch a few times and wish to hell I’d have gotten one of them instead.

  • Charlotte

    My KitchenAid is … 40 years old this year — my mother gave it to me about 15 years ago, and it’s still going strong. Love my KitchenAid …

  • luis

    The KA mixer I have is seven years old and for a home cook it’s just right I think. I recently examined the brushes and they are heavy duty spring loaded and show practically NO WEAR.
    I wouldn’t go more than say four cups of flour when kneading bread. Why stress anything??? Some cooks are like kids leaving those black skid marks everywhere they go….Basically know yourself and know your needs and go from there. I have no reason to doubt my KA mixer and attachments are a lifelong investment that I can leave to my family after I am long gone.

  • Donna

    LOVE All Clad pans for many reasons, but mostly because they clean up well. I’ve purchased all mine on Ebay, auction-style at bargain prices. My 13″ braiser pan gets a lot of use from stove top to oven.
    Michael, Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for all the great advice!

    • luis

      I have given up on EBAY and all clad pans. There seems to be zero bargains. Everything goes for near new prices even used stuff….
      I have two ten inch skillets one is non-stick similar to the one chef Prudhome in Louisiana uses (got it at GFS new for 20+) and the other is a special Joyce Chen light cast iron (Amazon 30+? if I recall correctly). I also have french steel pans and carbon steel pans I never use these days.
      They both work very well. But I do most frying and cooking in the nu-wave oven anymore so….even my fried rice…that my stove top gets little use. I will break out a wok or a dutch oven and a sauce pan sometimes.
      Also have an emeril stainless steel/aluminum clad pan and a really good heavy copper bottom non stick pan… None of these things get much use anymore. The new wave is like a microwave with convection and radiant working in unison at the same time.
      Things I do defrost anymore and cook on a wok or a skillet are fish and shrimps. Because these things are so lean that I fry or bake in butter or olive oil without any guilty thoughts.

  • Kathryn

    love all your gift ideas!

    I got my KA mixer (pink!) for my 40th and it sits proudly on my counter, right beside my other can’t-live-without kitchen tool the Cuisinart, large size. I also have to agree re Le Cruset – I have my mum’s set from the early ’70’s and they are still fantastic condition and cook like a dream.

  • Pat

    My KitchenAid is great (though a few years ago I “upgraded” to a 5 qt bowl and greater power [the Accolade model] but it’s a lot louder than my old Classic). For knives, most of mine are Wusthof Classic. (I also have a knife sharpening business here in Cleveland, so let me know if you need your sharpened!) I am no fan of pressure cookers because I like to see, smell and stir my food while cooking it. Cookware — I’ve always been a Calphalon girl (sorry, Michael!) but have a few pieces of All-Clad and several Le Creuset, one of which, a 15 qt Dutch oven, was made in the 1940s! Happy cooking to all of you!

    • luis

      I break out the Fagor two setting pressure cooker now and then. But the thing of it is that all these tools require a learning curve.
      I went to lunch at this lady’s home over the holidays and she cooked a delicate flan/cheese cake for desert complete with the traditional melted sugar top in a pressure cooker.
      BLEW MY MIND…..away.
      First she carameliized the sugar and lined the container with it.
      Then she put the mixed ingredients in the bowl and added a cup maybe a half cup of water to the p.c. and cooked it for five or six minutes.
      Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! something like that… Blew me away….
      We are only limited by our own ability in the kitchen. The p.c. is regularly used by Iron Chefs in Kitchen Stadium.

  • Luanne

    I couldn’t imagine baking Christmas Cookies without my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer! I picked one up at Kohls for less than $100 a few years ago on Black Friday. They were on an unmarked clearance simply because the color wasn’t popular. When the lady at the register told me the total was less than $100, my mom and I looked at each other as I handed her my credit card and questioned if she charged us for the right product. Insisting she did, we ran, mixer in hand to the car like the lady in the commericals who just got the deal of the century and told all my friends of our great luck. Turns out, no fluke. Nobody wanted the ice blue model, so now we all have matching Ice blue Kitchen Aids that we love! Good think I put the red one back at the last minute!

  • Patrick

    What do you think about Staub cast-iron cookware? I bought a 6 qt Staub oval dutch oven a while back, and i like it a lot. i can’t compare it to Le Creuset, because I don’t have any (the only other enameled cast-iron piece I have is an old Descoware pot), but it seems very heavy-duty, and I like the black interior.