Food Matters – Kitchen Gifts 2013

Today on Food Matters I was supposed to feature clips from my chat with Pat Joya, the person in charge of the housewares department at Capital Iron in Victoria. Somehow some technical gremlins invaded the radio station and my column from last year’s show aired instead. So if you listened and you want to know about the gadgets featured last year, you can re-visit this blog post. She shared the scoop on all the new innovations (and some treasured stand-bys) that you should consider as kitchen gifts for this holiday season. Our entire conversation can be heard by clicking here. You’ll get an mp3 player popping up in a new window.

Here are the descriptions of the items I talked about on the air with Jo-Ann Roberts as well as the ones Pat and I covered during our lengthier chat in the shop. Thanks to Pat for providing the descriptions and some of the prices as sold in Capital Iron. If mail order is your thing, I’ve put a link to the product page where applicable to

SOUS VIDE – water bath cooker than ensures perfectly moist, “edge to edge” level of doneness. $369 and up, depending on whether you purchase the vacuum sealer with it or not.

A neat kitchen tool because it will hold the food in the cooker at a constant temperature – unlike an oven or BBQ where the food keeps cooking to the temperature of the cooking unit.  The food will stay at your set temperature  (Med. Rare if that is your preference),  for up to 12 hours!    Fabulous taste – consistent reliable performer.

LODGE CAST IRON – All round versatile cooking vessel, various prices.

Highly functional because it gives great low & slow even temperature, and the same pan can be searing hot when needed.  Lasts for years:  its ”coating” does not wear off;  it can be re-newed when over-used, adds a little iron to your diet, and just gets betterthe more frequently it is used.

VICTORINOX KNIVES  –     Every kitchen needs good knives. 3-piece set from $139.50

One of the best knife brands on the market is also one of the most affordable.  Pat could get poetic about these knives for various reasons:  They hold their edge; they are versatile in their grip – meaning they suit a wide range of people and give allowance for grip styles. They are fabricated from superior steel (x50) and are tempered well – so their molecules line up properly!  They have a thinner Japanese style edge so have exceptional cutting ability.  They are cheap in comparison to most other brands, but superior in performance – lots of bang for your buck and tools to use for years.

RICE CUBE  – New, easy for all to use, innovative and fun – $21.95

From Kids to Caterers – this simple gadget makes bite sized cubes  of rice  to which your choice of food bits from peas to smoked salmon to berries can be added to create flavourful meal bites or snacks.  Press rice into the mold, push together and instant sushi  squares.  Kids can make their own rice squares – even young children.  Perfect for party appies.  Quick & easy.

COVER BLUBBERS          Stretchy, re-usable food covers to replace plastic wrap, $4.99 and up.

Super stretchy food saver that you can use to cover food or containers of various sizes.  Think of covering the end of your cucumber to store in the fridge.  Made of super food safe silicone Sticky Rubber it stretches & clings, seals airtight.   It will form fit around fresh cut food or food container.  There are several sizes for various diameters of food 

CHARLES VIANCIN  Fun Silicone Pot/Microwave/Bowl Covers $10 and up

Part of the wave of fun and interesting products made of silicone.  These lids are flower & botanical shapes in bright colours. They are heat safe for using on the stove or the microwave & provide an airtight, watertight seal.  Completely foodsafe and re-usable.


RAINBOW SCRUBBIES   What the world needs now! $2.99 each

The most versatile unassuming little cleaner around.  Use it on your tires – on your glass cooktop, for your veggies, or your cast iron pot.  Cleans up mineral deposits on your bathtub, coffee stains on your cups.    Tough and gentle at the same time – will not scratch your China or steel pots or those tires!   Just one of the handiest things to have in your kitchen and a genuine treat to give – for its helpful abilities. 

ORIGAMI NAPKINS   Innovative – yes     Useful – yes.  $9.99

In  the days where everyone is stretched for time these paper napkins are just a treat.  They are just a premium quality napkin that folds out into a star shape – and makes any dinner table into an instant occasion.   New on the market and just a really nice touch.  Watch for new shapes to follow as these are hot and trending item – will be big all next year.


CUISINART YOGHURT MAKER –  Great features, $99.99

This unit will automatically adjust the temperature – when your yoghurt is ready, it automatically adjusts to a chill temperature.  This means you can set it up either at night or in the morning, and not have to worry about foodsafe issues.  The machine makes soy or almond milk yoghurt –  sans additives –  for a non-dairy diet   The capacity is great – up to 1.5 litres, but in one compact unit rather than several small cups.


ADJUSTABLE NUTCRACKER  Convenient multi size capability,  and of the season.

Handy- Just drop whatever nut you wish to crack into the flexible sized holder.  The  holder is conical shaped – so the nut drops to where it fits snugly.  Just squeeze the 2 handles   which are joined by a coiled spring, and the nut is easily cracked.  The best thing is this will easily adapt to various sizes of nuts.


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