We go to the International Home + Housewares Show every year in search of new tools, technologies and ideas for the kitchen. And every year, we’re equally impressed by the color and fun. Like these spatulas spreading the ubiquitous “Keep Calm” message at the Lifetime Brands booth. Here, then, are some of the cool (and colorful) things we saw at this year’s show. Some are brand new, others just new to us.
1. Paring Knives Colori, Kuhn Rikon
The designs on the super sharp 4-inch Japanese carbon steel blades don’t just add a splash of color to these paring knives—they make them nonstick, for easy food release. Each knife comes with a matching protective sheath. Chef’s knives, bread knives, utility knives and more also get the color treatment from the Swiss cookware company. Visit the Kuhn Rikon website for details.
2. Futura Pressure Cooker, Hawkins Cookers Limited
While pressure cookers are only beginning to enjoy a resurgence in the United States, they’re used almost daily elsewhere in the world, from Brazil to India. They save on cooking time and cut energy costs. Futura Pressure Cookers feature an elegantly simple solution to the safety issue that has long dogged these efficient tools. The oval-shaped lid is actually larger than the opening on the pot; when it’s in place, the pressure holds it there without clamps. To remove the lid, you rotate it 90 degrees left or right, then lift it out. Made in India by Hawkins Cookers Limited, the hard anodized Futura is available in a number of sizes at Amazon.com.
3. Insak Reusable Shopping Bags, Design House Los Angeles
The great thing about reusable cloth shopping bags is that they save the environment, one plastic bag at a time. The not-so-great thing about them is that they’re just bulky enough that, unless you’re specifically going shopping, you’re not likely to have one with you. Insak reusable bags are made of lightweight polyester and collapse down into a nice compact size that tucks into the corner of a purse, backpack or briefcase. The 19-1/2 x 17-inch bags can hold up to 35 pounds, the equivalent of two plastic grocery bags. They’re waterproof, machine washable and fade resistant. And they come in a variety of cool designs. Find them at many retailers and on the Insak website.
Let me get this out of the way first: I’m always somewhat startled by the idea of ceramic pots being used over open flames on stovetops (I know, I know, tagines). This versatile donabe cooker is built on Japanese cooking traditions going back almost 1,300 years. With the ceramic steam grate in place, it can be used to steam vegetables for healthy oil-free cooking. Remove the steam grate and it can cook traditional braised hot pot meals. And it’s at home on the stovetop or in the oven. Each handcrafted pot takes about two weeks to make. Besides steamers, Toiro offers rice cookers, tagine-style donabes, indoor smokers and more. You can see them all at the Toiro website.
Named for a co-founder’s grandfather, Enrico turns reclaimed wood into beautiful, one-of-a-kind tabletop, home decor and kitchenware products. These Honeycomb bowls are made from trees harvested from mango plantations in Thailand once the trees are too old to bear fruit. The pieces are hand carved and given a food-safe lacquer finish. You’ll find retailers on the Enrico website.
6. Cocktail Shakers, Wild Eye Designs
The Eye Chart cocktail shaker is what drew us into the Wild Eye Designs booth. But everything had the same sense of playfulness—funny, young and hip without being snarky. The Buffalo, New York-based company designs wine, bar, tabletop and kitchen products—”everything you need to bring your style to the table,” as their website says. They certainly have what you need to bring fun to your party. For more, check out Wild Eye Designs.
7. Rolling Pins, Epicurean
These handsome rolling pins are made with the same sustainable materials Epicurean uses to produce cutting boards, chef utensils, pizza peels and, yes, skateboard decks—wood fibers, compressed with a food-safe resin. The knife-friendly material is dishwasher safe and sturdy enough for years of service. Epicurean makes the rolling pins—and everything else—in an 80-year-old rehabbed factory in Duluth, Minnesota. You’ll find more of their impressively diverse line on their website.
Tapping into an international team of freelance designers, Alessi Italian Design Factory brings wit, style and contemporary energy to tools for the kitchen, home and office. This charming Duck Timer by Finnish interior designer Eero Aarnio is a perfect example. The electronic timer in thermoplastic resin measures either seconds or minutes and quacks to signal “time’s up.” Also available in white or black, you’ll find it at the Alessi website.
9. Lyon Dutch Oven, Tramontina
More color at the Housewares Show, this time in the rich, satiny finish on this versatile Dutch oven by Brazilian manufacturer Tramontina. Forged from heavy-gauge aluminum, it heats up quickly and evenly. The nonstick surface cleans up easily and resists abrasion. Most impressive, though, this Dutch oven can actually be used for stovetop baking. It comes with a bundt pan that fits snugly inside and, based on the sample slices we tried, produces moist, perfectly baked cakes. No more heating up the oven and the kitchen to bake. Of course, you can also use it to sear, roast or braise, on the stovetop or in the oven. See this and other cookware at the Tramontina USA website.
10. 1761 Cutting Board Collection, J.K. Adams
What’s new is old. This new line of cutting boards honors Dorset, Vermont, home of the J.K. Adams Company, makers of fine wood housewares and furniture. Named for the year Dorset was incorporated, the cutting boards feature early American design and are made from North American Ash. You can find the 1761 cutting boards on the J.K. Adams website. Or if you’re ever in Dorset, you can stop by the factory/store and watch them being made.