Friday, August 5, 2005

Home Shopping Parties & Kitchen Toys

Last night I was invited to a Pampered Chef party at a friend's house. This is probably a North American phenomenon. You invite a bunch of friends to your house for an evening or afternoon for some entertainment (hopefully) and the opportunity to purchase some high end products you can't buy in a store. The incentive to host a party is that you get additional gifts and discounts for your own purchases.

Many years ago I hosted a Tupperware party. That was in the days before you could purchase plastic storage containers in every supermarket and corner store. I still have my fancy jello mold that I can't throw away. It shapes fabulous dessert mousses for large buffet gatherings. But I digress. Recently I hosted a BeautiControl Spa Night where my friends and I were treated to pedicures and facials and a stress reducing trip to Tahiti. Well actually, we had our feet soaking in a fragrant bath while lounging on couches and with refreshing pads over our eyes, letting our minds take the trip while the presenter/seller acted as tour guide. It was the best shopping party ever!!!

Last night we were treated to a demonstration of kitchen products – knives, food choppers, stone cookware, a wide variety of scoops and measuring cups, herbs and spices – ending in a delicious baked vegetable cheese ring that we got to eat while filling out our order forms. The baking veggie ring filled the room with wonderful aromas of herbs and dough while we were extolled the virtues of every product.

I’ve been meaning to write some posts about my favorite kitchen toys and it seems appropriate that one of my purchases was a hand operated food chopper just like my mother used to use to chop nuts for those amazing cookies I talked about in the 5 Childhood Food Memories post. (It takes a couple of weeks to get delivery so I’ll add the photo later.

I use my Cuisinart just about every day. It’s a great time saver for chopping and slicing when preparing anything from spaghetti sauces, mirepoix for roasts, soups to coleslaw and more.

But for small batches of nuts, for example, it’s not very consistent. I get powder and chunks, not the even consistency I want. For years I’ve been looking for the perfect chopper for small batches. I even bought a Kitchen Aid coffee grinder that has a removable bowl so that I can grind spices and nuts without everything tasting like coffee or coffee tasting like cumin. It works well for grinding but not for chopping.

So I bought a small Moulinex which does a good job of finely chopping one onion or a couple of shallots, but still doesn’t do the best job for nuts.

I have this vision of my mother whacking away at her chopper – sometimes we kids were allowed the privilege of taking over – under her supervision, of course. She was a perfectionist when it came to her baking. Every cookie came out perfectly shaped and perfectly baked. No burnt bottoms for her!!! You can imagine how excited I was when I saw the Pampered Chef’s version. I can’t wait to get it home and start whacking away (Just the sound of it last night brought back visions of my mother's kitchen).

Expect to see some nut involved recipes in the next couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

I'm honored to have my BeautiControl Spa Escape mentioned in your blog! I suppose with products like Sugar Body Wash, Frozen Margarita Foot Scrub and Blackberry Vanilla Body Cream I fit right into the Food Blog category! Keep your stories and pictures coming, truly entertaining. I'll never buy a kitchen gadget again without consulting you first!

Ana said...

I still remember those Tupperware parties with fondness. We did not have them in Africa, but I was treated to this wonderful North-American invention shortly after I arrived in Canada.

I still have the pudding pan with the five-different bottoms and many food containers. No matter how many other versions arrive on the market, Tupperwere is the only one that allows me to brown bag soup for lunch without leaking.

Ruth Daniels said...

Ana, I have those pudding cups too!!!

Apparently you can still have a Tupperware party today.

Invite the Party said...

I love Pampered Chef products!!! I couldn't live without my garlic press or hand chopper. I really should sell their products the way I gush during the parties.


Ruth Daniels said...

Elizabeth, I'm staying at my daughter's until we find a place of our own here in Halifax and all our stuff is still packed and being stored in Toronto.

You can be sure I'll be hugging and kissing all my kitchen toys as soon as we find a place!

Thanks for dropping by.