I had the pleasure of attending the world’s premier International Home+Housewares Show, which was held at Chicago’s McCormick Place. This annual show draws over 20,000 trade attendees from 100 countries that check out the latest in design, functionality and technology for all-things home and housewares from over 2,100 exhibitors. The four-day event isn’t nearly enough time to see all of the exhibits, attend all of the workshops, and enjoy the multi-venues, which include a Cooking Theater that attracts the best and brightest in culinary chef-dom. Once again, I barely scratched the surface in checking things out. This show is where the next trends are uncovered and new designs are discovered. It is THE place where buyers and sellers come to see firsthand the latest and greatest in products that will be on the shelves for consumers in the coming months.
Products were categorized into exhibit segments, and included: Clean, Contain and Design ~ bath, cleaning, organization, seasonal products; Dine and Design ~ cookware, tabletop, gourmet foods, home decor products; Discover Design ~ tableware, flatware, cutlery kitchen and home collection products; Wired and Well ~ energy conservation, appliances, healthcare products; and, Global Crossroads ~ international pavilions. Another major show component included the Cooking Theatre, which featured many outstanding celebrity chefs that shared with attendees the latest in cooking and food trends, culinary efficiencies, while featuring their branded products; food samplings and cookbook autograph sessions were also featured.
|(Image from www.deringhall.com)|
One of the biggest product trends I noticed at the show this year was that of color in prep pieces, cooking vessels, and serveware. It seems that adding pops of color to the chore, thereby increasing the level of enjoyment from a chore. Color is also a great way to break-up a chore’s tedium. For me, using color to the cooking process is like adding the right blend of spices, herbs, and seasonings to the dish, and turning the ordinary into something extraordinary and delicious. Other trends included digital technology and connectivity to mobile devices; hydration with more and more filtration systems, infusers, and sport bottle up-designs showing; improving the ease of functionality and practicality of items for home cooks of all levels; and, a return to cast iron, safe non-stick cooking surfaces, ceramics, and green and sustainability products.
I had the pleasure of testing the following products, which were all exhibited at this show. Each one offers a glimpse into some of the unique and innovative products that consumers will want to consider making a part of their culinary and home routines. For more information on this show, visit https://www.housewares.org/show/
~ In the Kitchen ~
Charles Viancin Accessories ~ These whimsical silicone fabricated accessories included universal-sized covers, bottle stoppers, and coasters. I especially like the universal-sized covers, which fit most bowls and pots; the silicone material automatically grips the edge, adhering to the container, without coming loose. These covers are ideal for outdoor entertaining to protect contents from those pesky pests landing on top of the container’s contents. This line offers a wide range of accessories and fabricware. http://www.charlesviancin.com/index.php/us/
Fagor America Duo 8 qt. Pressure Cooker ~ I’m old enough to remember hearing horror stories about exploding pressure cookers…not only was the food ruined, but so was everything in the general vicinity when it blew; often, people got seriously injured; I never saw my mother use her pressure cooker and probably for these reasons. Today’s pressure cooker models offer built-in safety features that prevent mishaps like these. More and more models are electric with computer-chip technology; the pressure cooker has come full circle with the digital age. The Fagor America Duo is a stovetop model designed to work on gas, electric, ceramic and even induction made of 18/10 stainless steel and has numerous built-in safety features, including locking handles, automatic safety valve, built-in pressure release, safety vent, visual pressure indicator, adjustable pressure levels (low and high), and a pressure safety lock. One of the best features of any pressure cooker is that it drastically reduces the amount of cooking time for all recipes. The Fagor America Duo, for example, reduces cooking times by as much as seventy-percent; and, if a recipe calls for browning, whether it’s meat or veggies, that step is done first; once that prep step is completed, any liquids and remaining ingredients are then added; this step is what I like to call the “load and lock” step. It’s the final step before locking the lid in place and setting the pressure. This Duo Line is available in 4, 6, 8 and 10-quart capacities; the ten quart is also designed for pressure canning in addition to pressure cooking; each unit also includes a steamer/strainer and trivet. The Duo Line is also used exclusively on the hit cooking reality shows MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. Whether your recipe calls for dried beans, fresh fruits, dried fruits, fresh veggies, grains, pasta, fish, seafood, poultry or meat, this unit is ideal for minimizing the overall cooking time, while maximizing flavors, textures, and nutritional values. http://www.fagoramerica.com/cookware/pressure_cookers/duo_line/duo
GreenPan 9.5” 4 Qt. Paris Sauté Pan ~ GreenPan was the innovator of clean, healthy cooking when they launched their patented Thermolon™ ceramic-coated non-stick pans in 2007. GreenPan was also the first company to offer safe non-stick cooking pans that were free of toxic cadmium, lead, and PFOAs. I loved how this pan performed during cooking and clean-up. My Take: I made my own version of “Smothered Chicken” by sautéing sliced yellow onions and shallots, chopped scallions, parsley, garlic, S&P in EVOO and butter, until the onions began to caramelize. I then added chicken drumsticks and continued sautéing to begin the browning process; once the chicken began to brown, I added low-sodium chicken broth, covered and simmered until chicken was thoroughly cooked. This is now my favorite go-to pan for all of my cooking needs...sautéing, browning, braising, steaming, etc. Reliable performance and results every time. http://www.greenpan-shop.com/sautee-pans/
Hampton Forge Tomodachi Gingham 4 Pc. Cutlery Set ~ Hampton Forge has a reputation of offering the finest precision forged steel knives for the chef or home cook. For me, cutting can be a major chore, if the right tool isn’t used, and what better way to add a smile to your cutting chore, than with this colorful and playful-looking Cutlery Set that yield perfect precision cutting every time they’re used? The Citrus Set includes four pieces…three 4.5 “ precision serrated Tomodachi titanium knives that are perfect for all your fruit and vegetable cutting needs; there’s also a handy cutting board that’s scratch resistant and has handles that are made from easy-grip, non-slip rubber. The overall design of each knife has an easy-grip non-slip molded handle that conforms to the palm and finger grip. Each knife blade is imprinted with different fresh fruits like Orange, Kiwi and Apple; handle colors are orange, green and red with a corresponding colored blade imprinting. Whether I was cutting fruits or veggies, very little pressure was needed for the cutting motion. Using this set made me want to hit the farmer’s market and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. Ideal gift for the foodie, hostess, new homeowner, bride-to-be, or even yourself. http://www.hamptonforge.com
~ Containment Solutions ~
Bubba Brands TasteGuard Coffee Mug ~ The Bubba TasteGuard Travel Mug has sleek a stainless steel body with a ceramic coated with a lining that preserves the taste of the hot beverage. Although the Mug is represented to keep beverages hot for up to six hours, when I tested it, my fresh made hot coffee was lukewarm after one and one-half hours. http://www.bubbabrands.com
Flip-It ~ Love this new product. Its design totally eliminates waste and angst in that dilemma of having a usable quantity of something in the bottom of the container, but not being able to get it out easily. You squeeze, you tap, you bang, and still nothing, so you end up throwing it out and wasting money. This product addresses those concerns with its universal and patented secure locking cap that is also designed not to tip over. The product is exactly what you do to your container…you Flip-It! https://www.flipitcap.com
Tabletops Unlimited Rove Infuser Sport Bottle ~ I love infused water and this clever design elevates hydration to a new level. The infuser insert is removable and makes it easy to add fresh fruits, herbs, or veggies; the insert design is like a sieve, which allows the water to become infused with whatever is in the compartment; removability also makes cleanup easy; if you just want plain water or juice in your bottle, the infuser insert isn’t needed. The patented cap not only locks in flavor and freshness, leakage is impossible; there’s also an inner-locking feature that securely closes the mouth portion. https://www.ttustore.com/shop/on-the-go/hydration/
Corkcicle Vinnebago ~ This company’s designs of innovative products to keep the chill in wine and beer have been a hit each year at the show. This year’s introduction was the Vinnebago, a handy thermos-like container that keeps liquids cold up to twelve hours, whether its wine, juice, or water; it worked beautifully when I tested it on water; my beverage remained chilled for hours. The clever design is great for home entertainment or at picnics or barbecues. Corkcicle offers a number of other unique designs for just about every beverage need. http://corkcicle.com
Cork Pops Stircicles ~ These sleek designed iced stirrers/swizzle sticks are made of food-grade double side walled stainless steel. Each Stircicles is filled with liquid freezer gel and will keep your drinks chilled for hours after a four-hour chill cycle in the freezer. The colder the starting temperature of the drink, however, the longer the Stircicles will maintain a drink’s level of chill. Ideal for home entertaining, or outdoor gatherings where the air temperature is a bit warm; nothing cools off a person like a nice chilled drink, and this clever accessory is perfect for that! This accessory is one of several other designs by Cork Pops for beverages. http://www.corkpops.com
~ In Closing ~
I’ve enjoyed testing these products throughout my home and beyond. These products are available at traditional brick and mortar retailers, as well as online retailers. Be sure to check out each brand website and also their social media platforms to obtain additional information on each of these products.
That’s it for this edition. Until the next one, remember to always celebrate yourself and your culinary curiosity. Happy cooking…happy eating!
By Terry Herman
TERRY HERMAN continues perfecting her passion for food and wine. She has been covering culinary related for many years as it relates to wellness and a healthy lifestyle. Her popular blog, Terry's Spa, Beauty and Wellness Go-To has featured formidable reviews of cookbooks, restaurants, wine and food, food prep and tools, chef interviews, and coverage of prestigious events such as the International Home+Housewares Show, the National Restaurant Show and the Sweets and Snacks Expo. She has been published since the mid-1990s in both consumer and trade publications, and is regarded as an expert in spa, beauty, wellness, travel and lifestyle, and is frequently interviewed by publications for her expert content. She has also presented at major industry conferences, and has served with distinction on numerous governing and advisory boards. She has a background in strategic and qualitative management, consulting, and motivational speaking. Her social media outreach includes Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Don’t forget to “Like” her Facebook Page, “Terry’s Second Helpings”. For additional information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Introductory photo from www.inventionhome.com; all other photo credits as represented by the specific brand.)