I think every cook loves his or her kitchen equipment.
By LOU JANE TEMPLE
From the professional chef talking fondly of his sous vide, to your neighbor’s excessive accumulation of barbeque “stuff,” we all love to shop for, purchase and discuss our new favorite kitchen toys.
So I wanted to see what are the latest trends in this vast field. What are Kansas Citians buying to help them make good food better?
To do that I went to see my long time friend, Louise Meyers, owner of Pryde’s Old Westport. Her father started Pryde’s back when I was selling bell-bottom jeans and Indian print bedspreads across the street from the store.
They were my retail neighbors and their business has exploded over the years. To say the store is chock full of merchandise is an understatement.
I asked to see the top ten best selling items of the summer and what I found surprised me. Only three (or four if you count the tomato knife) items were modern “gadgets.” The rest have been made and sold for many years. They gave me hope.
By making their own sauerkraut, canning their own produce, cooking on cast iron and not eating on plastic, it sounds like Kansas City is really trying to know what they eat, and know where it comes from.
That’s the best trend of all.
• Canning and preserving jars. These are hopping out of Pryde’s by the dozens. They are selling big at my local Ace Hardware also. Cost: $3.99 to $14.99
• Cast Iron. A whole generation, folks that grew up with Teflon treated cooking utensils, is discovering the wonder of a good cast iron skillet, grill or Dutch oven. Lodge is an old brand made in America. Cost: $16.99 to $77.99.
• Crocks. Yes, the objects that were yard or home decorations for years are now being used for their original purposes. People are making their own pickles, sauerkraut, vinegar and kimchi plus kombucha from the growing probiotic movement. Cost: $12.99 to $65.00.
• Fiestaware. A whole new generation of young families have chosen these colorful dishes for the pure fun of eating off them. And they are made in America. Cost: $5.50 to $52.
• Flour sack towels. The terry cloth or woven cloth towels don’t absorb half as well as these. I guarantee it. Cost: 3 for $12.50.
• Custom ice trays. Everyone wants to be a mixologist these days, not merely pour their guest a glass of beer. The size and function of the ice is crucial. You must have special trays for this. Cost: $8.50 to $12.99.
• Microwave splatter screen. Anyone who has had lasagna explode all over their microwave will run to get one of these. Cost: $3.50.
• Silicon lids. Louise swears she can’t keep these in stock. They come in various flower shapes (banana leaf, lily pad, sunflower) and fit airtight on most bowls etc. For people who are trying to reduce their cling wrap usage. Also can stand temperatures up to 500 degrees. Cost: $8.99 to $16.99.
• Spatterware. It has been around since cowboys rode round-ups. Made of steel and porcelain, how much cooler is it to use non-breakable splatter ware around the pool instead of plastic? Cost: $4.50 to $52.
• Tomato knife. Yes, you do need a knife specifically for slicing tomatoes. Once you use one, you will never be without one. Cost: $7.99.
Pryde’s Old Westport is located at 115 Westport Road. The store’s telephone number is 816-531-5588.
Lou Jane Temple’s road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock n roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City based catering company, Cafe Lulu, food writing, novelist, private chef. Lou Jane has written and had published nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.