Gourmet Gadgets from the International Housewares Show

by Gourmet Gadget Gal on March 19, 2012

I returned last week from the 2012 International Housewares Show in Chicago.The IHS is an astonishing endeavor. This year over 2100 exhibitor companies set up shop with 500 new companies participating. Over 60,000 people attend the show. Each company that participates builds their own “store” filled with their products and many hire demonstrators performing crowd-gathering spectacles. One company hired a dancer to leap and spin while she acrobatically tossed a vacuum cleaner as her dance partner! Others hired celebrity chefs to draw attention to their lines although some of the celebrity chefs have their own lines and come to promote their own products. I met the Voltaggio brothers pressure cooking hazelnuts (they taste like boiled peanuts) with the new Fissler Vitaquick, Curtis Stone personally introduced me to his new cookware line (thanks to the clout of the buyer I was with), Ming Tsai demonstrated Kyocera ceramic knives- his knife skills sharper than the blades, watched Duff Goldman ice cakes near his new bakeware, got my tail out of Emeril and his entourage’s way as they marched down the aisle (he’s like the Napoleon of celebrity chef’s, I think), and totally missed Stephanie Izard’s demo at Kitchen Aid – although I did get to eat at her James Beard nominated restaurant Girl and the Goat. That dinner stands for me as one of the best restaurant meals ever!

It’s funny to me that after attending IHS each year and spending many twelve hour days on my feet walking the show, I haven’t lost my enthusiasm and interest in gourmet gadgetry. I find the new products intriguing from the small silly cookie dipper spoon my boys would love:

To the TFal Actifry that “fries” food with about a tablespoon of oil allowing me to “fry”more chicken.

Two related products from Cuisipro won the Innovation Award for their new product “Date Dots”. These handy gadgets with their suction cups that stick to any storage container or integrated with a suction silicone lid that fits a wide variety of bowls allowing you to use your own dishes is certainly one of those “why didn’t I think of that” gadgets that allow you to place your own “sell by” dates on that dish of spaghetti sauce or that package of deli meat so you can quit wondering when you opened or made that dish.


Two more products really caught my eye. One – the new pre-seasoned carbon steel line from Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, is a fantastic addition of a high quality product that goes hand in hand with what Lodge does best, cast iron cookware. Cast Iron cookware, being highly durable, healthy (it delivers trace amounts of iron into your diet when you cook with it) and non-stick (if you keep it seasoned) does take a little longer to heat and, when heated, holds onto heat like the devil. Adding a pre-seasoned Lodge Carbon Steel pan gives you another lifetime lasting, highly durable, non-stick pan to add to your kitchen assortment that is much lighter in weight, heats very quickly, evenly and can replace any chemical coated pan when you find yourself wanting a healthy substitute.

Finally, at the end of these long show days, the idea of a Manhattan served over a round globe of ice drew me straight to this spherical ice mold gadget from Tovolo that makes an ice ball that doesn’t melt as quickly as cubes allowing you to savor the undiluted flavors of your favorite cocktail. No comments from the peanut gallery that this is the gadget that will get the most daily use at our house!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Walker March 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Great to see you at the show! I’m glad you like our new pans. We’re very proud of them.

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Chris March 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Pfft! I hang out with Curtis Stone and Emeril all the time. We hang out on my deck drinking beers and then we compare our abs. Emeril always loses that one. (Okay, I MIGHT be lying)

Great event, color me as green as my Egg with envy! Those date things are A MUST for me.

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PCE March 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

Interesting article. I would like to go with you sometime. Keep on writing.

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FLE April 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

We are anxiously awaiting a new article from you.

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Mark Bradley April 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

I should hit this trade show and see how many new products we can turn into an infomercial. Sounds like a fun time!

I had my birthday dinner at the Inn at Little Washington on Monday. That had to be one of the best meals I have ever had. Truffle popcorn is my new favorite snack! I must get up to Chicago and try the lady and the goat. Sounds like a great experience!

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