By Lorrie Baumann
Millennials are grown up, becoming parents and even sending their youngest children off to school now, and kitchenware and housewares manufacturers are responding to their current needs with products to streamline their experiences in the kitchen while also allowing them to be certain of what they’re eating and what they’re feeding their children. That same Millennial need to be certain of the value of what they’re feeding their children is also spurring growth for organic food, personal care products and fibers, which are all seeing a boom that’s not expected to bust any time soon.
For the household, that need is being fulfilled by take-along food containers that can be filled with grass-fed yogurt or organic butternut squash soup and then tossed into a school lunchbox without much fear that they’ll leak all over last night’s math homework all the way up to a picnic cooler from Built NY that’s designed to take on the weekend-in-the-woods competition with YETI’s soft-sided cooler totes at a more attractive price point. Many of these offerings will be launching this year at the International Home + Housewares Show, scheduled for March 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.
Goods for the On-the-Go
Pack-It is in this mix of products designed to appeal to active and health-conscious Millennial consumers with its new Freezable Double Wine Bag, which comes out of a night in the freezer with enough chill power to keep two bottles of wine cold for up to 10 hours. It has an over-the-shoulder design in nontoxic poly canvas with an interior gel divider to provide 360-degree cooling for the bottles inside and a webbed strap. It comes in two fabric colors: the multicolored Blanket Stripe and Sophie, which is a charcoal gray herringbone tweed look. Both have black stripes. The Freezable Double Wine Bag will retail for $21.99.
Also new is Pack-It’s Freezable Can Cooler Backpack, which will chill 18 12-ounce cans or a family meal and keep it cool for three or more hours with Pack-It’s new Radiant Shield Technology. A welded inner liner allows for the addition of extra ice in a leak-proof interior that cleans up easily. A front zipper pocket will hold car keys and a cell phone while a top zipper pocket provides storage for napkins and eating utensils. Like other Pack-It products, it folds flat to go in the freezer or for storage between uses. It’s available in either Charcoal or Navy Buffalo.
GoodCook brings its Meals on the Run collection with a whole range of sizes and styles of containers with silicone-sealed locking lids to keep food safe in backpack or purse. One of the coolest of these is a double-decker container that unfolds to hold a sandwich in one half and the lettuce and tomatoes or sliced fruit or sticks of rabbit food in the other half. The collection even includes a bento box container with eating utensils included. They’re all sold individually with retail prices ranging from $3.99 to $8.99.
For even stronger leak-proof performance, there’s the EMSA Clip&Go containers, high-end containers offered in the U.S. through a partnership between Bradshaw Industries and German manufacturer EMSA. Freezable and microwavable, these plastic containers are engineered with integral silicone seals in their lids that leave no gaps, so the containers are airtight, leak-proof and impenetrable by germs. Foods stored in the containers have been tested and proven to stay fresh twice as long in these containers during refrigerator storage, compared to foods stored under plastic wrap, according to the company. They’re virtually indestructible and guaranteed to last a minimum of 30 years, with suggested retail prices ranging from $2.99 to $9.99.
At the top end of this spectrum is the BUILT NY Welded Cooler Bag from Lifetime Brands, which is constructed with a leak-proof body and welded seams of a heavy-duty material similar to that used for whitewater rafts, so that it will, according to BUILT NY, keep its contents cold for days. Its zippered top opens out to create an opening about the diameter of a bushel basket, so it’s easy either to clean or to load in 10 pounds of ice along with 18 cans of soda or up to 30 pounds of ice alone. It has a padded, adjustable strap and reinforced side handles, an attached bottle opener and multiple tie-down points. Clearly aimed at shoppers who will also be looking at YETI Hopper soft-sided cooler bags, the BUILT NY Welded Cooler Bag is a pound and a half lighter than the comparable-size Hopper bag and will retail for $179.99.
For inside the kitchen, Instant Pot is coming out with a new model called the Instant Pot Max that’s the first small household pressure cooker on the market that can develop 15 pounds of pressure per square inch and maintain it for extended periods, so it can be used for pressure-canning of low-acid products as well as for the everyday multi-cooking that has built a cult following for Instant Pot. Available to ship in April, the Instant Pot Max has a 6-quart capacity – that’s total capacity; it won’t accommodate six quart-size canning jars – and offers touch screen controls and an automatic stirrer for an easy risotto or bone broth as well as button-controlled venting so the user doesn’t have to reach over the pot to the valve to release the pressure.
Thirteen safety features – more than offered by previous Instant Pot models – keep the device safe for the kitchen, and a lid detection indicator is designed to prevent the frustration that some novice users have reported to the company after their pressure cooker has refused to operate because the lid wasn’t properly secured. It’ll retail for around $200.
Robinson Home Products is bringing out a couple of lines of tools and utensils that are of particular interest. The Studio Cuisine collection is a line of utensils with handles in faux natural materials. They’re made with hydrographic printing, a new technology that creates designs that mimic the look of natural wood, yet they’re sturdy and durable. A line with handles that mimic granite will be coming out soon. Pieces retail for $4.99 and up.
Robinson Home Products’ Craft Kitchen is a brand of gadgets, cookware and casual dinnerware designed to appeal to the Millennial foodie. The gadgets are the classic essentials – peeler, whisk and so on, in matte steel with black acacia wood handles, designed for a retro look but updated to be ergonomic for a combination of solid performance and a satisfying feel in the hand. The pieces offer a lifetime guarantee on all items, and they’ll be ready to ship in June.
Progressive is bringing out a couple of really cool unitasker gadgets for its PL8 line of premium kitchenware products. The patented Flip-Blade Avocado Tool has a retractable blade that halves and slices avocados safely, a pit remover and a silicone scoop all in one easy-to-store tool that’s dishwasher safe. The Core & Peel Apple Tool has a hollow metal tube to core apples or pears and an integrated peeler mechanism that slides out to eject the core and then peel the fruit. The peeler locks into position for safety, and this gadget is also dishwasher-safe.
DKB Household USA is offering its own handy unitasker with the Zyliss 2-in-1 Pepper Corer. This handy little gadget is designed to hollow out a bell pepper or a jalapeno with a turn of the wrist to make stuffed peppers an easier standby. It’s easy to store, easy to clean, and it’s dishwasher safe. It’ll retail fro $9.99. The Zyliss Twist & Scoop Grapefruit Tool is designed specifically to segment clean cuts of grapefruit with its built-in corer and double-sided stainless steel blade. The corer locks inside the scoop for compact storage, and it’s dishwasher-safe.
The Negg is another handy unitasker. This little gadget makes child’s play out of peeling perfect hard-cooked eggs. It’s a plastic container with silicone caps, molded with little knobs on its inside wall. The user drops the egg inside the container, adds a little water, caps it and shakes it for a minute or two to knock the egg around against the plastic knobs. The shell shatters, staying attached to its inner membrane, so it peels off the egg with a minimum of effort, leaving behind an unpocked egg.
Bonnie Tyler, who invented this work of genius, says she had the idea after she had foolishly volunteered to bring a dozen deviled eggs to a potluck, only to discover after her eggs had been cooked that the shells wouldn’t peel off the whites without leaving divots. She knew immediately that there just had to be a better way, so she went to work to figure out what that might be. She did some research into how industrial food processors shell hard-cooked eggs, came up with an idea for a home kitchen version, and got together with business partner Sheila Torgan, who knows how to do computer-assisted design. The two of them had worked together for decades on branding and marketing, but Tyler had a yen to produce a tangible product of her own, and Torgan was all in.
They used the 3-D printer in their local public library to produce their first prototypes, and when they had a product that was ready to bring to market, they arranged to have it manufactured in Connecticut and started selling it on HSN, where Tyler just has to demonstrate how easily it produces perfect results to do land-office business at a retail price of $17.95. It’s dishwasher safe and available in seven colors.
By Micah Cheek
Paella falls into the same category as risotto and Bolognese sauce: recipes that have a reputation for being off-limits to all but the greatest chefs and little old grandmothers. There are volumes of conflicting advice on how to prepare it, and most people don’t dare try. But much like the others, paella comes down to a few basic principles that are easy to execute with the right kitchen tools. Home cooks who have been gifted cookbooks or bags of fancy Spanish rice will welcome the tools and tricks that make put paella on the menu when they’re cooking to impress.
Paella, the flagship dish of Spain, is a blend of short-grain rice, beans, tomatoes, artichokes and a bevy of potential proteins, from chicken to rabbit to snail. First, proteins are seared, and then vegetables are softened in the rendered fat from the protein. Grated tomato is added to the pan to form a sofrito, a flavorful paste of oil and cooked vegetables. Finally, rice and stock are poured on and stirred in. The rice is allowed to sit still until all the moisture from the broth is absorbed. Over the course of cooking, rice starches collect at the bottom of the pan and form a toasty crust called the soccarat. Traditionally, the recipe is cooked over an open fire and requires a specialized, hand-hammered pan.
Clemence Gossett, Co-Owner of The Gourmandise School in Los Angeles, California, says that good paella only requires a pan with good heat distribution. “It’s all about a wide, shallow pan for faster cooking,” says Gossett. “The heaviest duty, high-quality [pan] is the one you want.” The traditional paella pan is very thin, designed for cooking on top of a wide, even bed of embers. The pan’s shallow design is to give plenty of surface area for evaporating liquid.
Cooks who are making their paella over the kitchen range will just need to switch up to a thicker pan, which will retain and redistribute heat from a smaller heat source. “I would stay away from nonstick; they aren’t designed to distribute heat,” says Gossett. “I would say cast iron, or something like a carbon steel.”
A wooden spoon is the traditional choice for serving the finished dish. Calphalon’s large wooden spoons are made of beech and look great on the table. But for customers who want something dishwasher safe, any wide, shallow spoon will work well for scooping up portions of paella with the crispy soccarat underneath.
A set of tongs can pull double duty, both for flipping proteins as they sear and mixing ingredients. Any sturdy set of steel tongs, such as those from All-Clad, will prove effective and make the process of moving ingredients around much easier.
Customers who have a grill can make great use of a classic paella pan like the La Tienda Traditional Steel Paella Pan. Even a small porch grill like the Weber Portable Grill can provide heat over a wide area to cook everything evenly, as well as keeping the party on the patio. For the aspiring paella fanatic, another option is a purpose-built paella burner that attaches to a propane tank. One model, La Paella’s Burner Model 350, features controls for each of the concentric rings to ensure the perfect temperature. These specialized outdoor burners are large, designed to heat pans that serve whole parties worth, and are probably only going to be sought out by paella obsessives.
The 10 Piece Toughened Nonstick Set from Le Creuset is a cookware set that will include an 8-inch Fry Pan, 11-inch Fry Pan, 2-quart and 3-quart Saucepans with lids, a 3.5-quart Saute Pan with its lid and a 6-1/3-quart Stockpot with lid. Their nonstick surface is PFOA free and triple-reinforced, and Le Creuset guarantees that it will never flake, peel or rust. Sticky and delicate ingredients slide right off, minimizing the need for oil and making cleanup a breeze. The set is launching March 15 and will retail for $600.
With the °SensoRed® frypan, Fissler solves the problem of knowing when the frypan has reached the proper cooking temperature to ensure that food is fried perfectly.
The innovative SensoRed frypan is equipped with a novel thermo-sensitive nonstick coating that indicates the ideal frying temperature by the changing color of the entire inner surface. When it’s cold, the frying surface is a medium red speckled with darker red spots. As the pan heats, the medium-red surface gradually darkens until it matches the darker speckles when the frying pan is hot enough for cooking. When the speckles are hardly visible against the matching background, it means that the frypan has reached the ideal temperature and the frying can begin.
The thermo-sensitive nonstick coating responds immediately to changes in temperature. The effect of the color change is reversible and does not diminish even after years of use. While the pan cools, the color of the frying surface also reverts to its original appearance.
The SensoRed frypan has a cookstar® base, so it can be used on all types of stoves, including induction burners. The new Fissler comfort handle makes the pan easy to grip, even by smaller hands. Like the majority of Fissler products, the SensoRed is made in Germany.
Turbo Pot® will be making its debut at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show with a new gourmet line of high-performance pots and pans designed to be the fastest, most energy-efficient available for gas ranges.
Constructed of heavy-duty 304-grade stainless steel, the Turbo Pot cookware line by Eneron, Inc. is engineered to outperform the standard pot by a wide margin— significantly improving the heat transfer of open-flame range cooking. Turbo Pot heats up between 35 and 50 percent faster than regular cookware, allowing home chefs to save time and energy, and improve indoor air quality. The superior heating ability also means better temperature uniformity across cooking surfaces, faster temperature recovery times and higher production capacity, which opens up possibilities for practicing advanced cooking techniques and improving nutrient retention.
Turbo Pot’s sleek, intelligent design incorporates patented, highly conductive heat exchanger “fins” at the base of the cookware to dramatically improve heat transfer and optimize fuel efficiency. The technology has been independently tested in both the lab and field by premiere foodservice research and appliance testing facilities of major California utility companies, and used extensively by decorated master chefs, national restaurant chains and some of the country’s most sustainable restaurants and premiere culinary institutes. In fact, utility companies such as SoCal Gas and NiCor Gas offer rebates for commercial kitchens to use Turbo Pot products (a unique first for cookware) because of their proven energy-saving capability.
Lee Huang, founder and president of Eneron Inc., explains, “The gas stovetop is one of the least energy-efficient major appliances in the home—demonstrating a dismal 30 percent energy efficiency rating. The majority of the heat generated by the combustion of gas burners never makes it into the food being cooked, but escapes around the sides of the cookware and into the surrounding space.” This inefficiency means the process of cooking on open-flame burners is significantly longer than need be and comes with pesky side effects, such as cooking-related indoor air pollutants and the common frustration of unevenly cooked foods. When it comes to major cooking equipment, there are relatively few energy efficient options, and what is available tends to be cost-prohibitive.
“The Turbo Pot is one of the most exciting and cost-effective innovations developed for gas range top cooking. It revolutionizes the way we cook food and address thermal efficiency in the kitchen by uniquely focusing on the cookware component rather than costly major equipment upgrades,” Huang says.
The Turbo Pot is designed with fins that capture and guide the burner flame into channels to increase the contact of hot gases with the fins and increase the surface area for heat transfer. Huang says, “We have taken a very novel approach to improving heat transfer by essentially re-engineering the traditional “heat sink,” which is used to keep electronic components cool, to make cookware heat more efficiently. It is an effective and elegant solution to the most common performance issues and limitations we universally face when cooking with gas.”
Turbo Pot offers superior heat distribution and virtually eliminates hot spots that can lead to burned or undercooked food…and ruined meals. The cookware also saves more than 25 percent in cooking-related energy costs for a gas range and reduces cooking-related emissions of indoor air pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
“Turbo Pot is the smart way to keep indoor air fresh and healthy, especially during winter and summer months when kitchen ventilation may be minimized due to extreme outdoor temperatures,” says Huang. “By reducing fossil fuel consumption with every meal made, Turbo Pot helps combat climate change and is a must-have for sustainable living and for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”
In addition to its major time- and energy-saving advantages, Turbo Pot’s new four-piece FreshAir™ home series features the high-quality design and superior construction of high-end gourmet cookware. “The pots offer the same desirable features associated with top-tier cookware lines, including mirror-polished finishes, ‘keep-cool’ handles, heavy-duty construction and well-made riveting,” Huang says. “The unique design also has some serious eye-catching appeal that is sure to impress guests and spark conversation. It offers a very easy and effective way to modernize your kitchen.”
The FreshAir series name acknowledges the cookware’s unique ability to create cleaner indoor air and a greener planet by reducing energy use, cooking-related air pollutants and carbon emissions. The series includes the 2.2 Qt. Sauce Pan, 3.5 Qt. Casserole Pot, 8.1 Qt. Stock Pot and 2.5 Qt. Tea Kettle. Suggested retail prices for the products range affordably from $50 to $80.