Say you got $100 "gift card" and ya hadda buy something for your kitchen?? Not a HUGE amount of $$ but not chump change either. Where would ya shop and what would ya buy? Thinking I might be able to find a really nice cast iron, enamel Dutch oven at Home Goods or Ross? Might go for an unusual/funky set of flatware? How about you?!?
How to spend $100??
I know she's catchin' a bunch of sh!+ right now, but the Martha Stewart line of cast iron enamel Dutch ovens at Macys look to be well made and the ones I looked at had thick bottoms, nice straight sides and good fitting lids. The Mario Batali Dutch oven looks good as well and have been discontinued in many stores for steeper discount.
I didn't have a card to spend so I ended up buying a Le Creuset 9 qt. and a Staub 7.5 qt on fleebay for $80 ea.
I have the Batali 6.5 qt. My only complaint with it is that it is a bit heavier than others of its size and it is extremely heavy when full. On the up side, it has a metal knob on the lid, so it can be used for those no knead bread recipes that need to go in the oven at a fairly high temp. with the lid on.
I've been very fortunate to have bought a few nice items for the kitchen recently, so I don't need much now. .......... However, I would recomend the things I bought. Personally, I don't care for Cuisinart products, but in researching a sauce pot recently I realized they have a very substantial professional line of pots, and at a relativly good price. Also I bought two DeBuyer skillets; these can also be used, confidently, as home defense weapons.
I have a cheapy enameled cast iron dutch oven. Must be a 4 Qt. (dosen't say). Perfect for my mac&cheese.
I buy a load of cooking equipment at TJ Maxx their prices are good , but most of it is seconds , nothing wrong with .A scratch or two is ok by me, if I can save 50%, it has nothing to do with cooking quality. No one looks at my pots anyway.
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume).
Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...
Funny this should come up just now. I had to send back a Breville slow cooker to Williams Sonoma because I actually cut my hand on the lid of the darn thing- the edge was that sharp. They had me send it back, sent me a new one (I'm mostly satisfied with the thing otherwise) and also sent me a $100 WS gift card. I've been contemplating what to buy.
I don't have a need for large pots; they're heavier than I can manage any more, beautiful and useful as they are. I have nearly all the All-Clad I want (never say "I have all the All-Clad I could want"!), at least for now, and my knives are in good condition and there's a good array of them. All I need at the moment is a new meat mallet. I don't even like the ones they have at WS, so now what? Happy problem, I know, but still....
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
"All I need at the moment is a new meat mallet."
Don't you remember your lessons from the Frugal Gourmet? He took great pride in doing the pounding with a 16-inch length of 2" x 4"
I would second the suggestion to get the Max Burton 6000; it will do a lot of things, is portable, and these days goes for about $80 if you shop around a little. It goes really well with a stovetop smoker if you're careful to position the chips over the burner, which is not a difficult trick at all.
You should obviously purchase something you've needed or wanted in the kitchen, but you could also treat yourself to some spices that you normally wouldn't have purchased otherwise.
I see my spice cabinet as a "chemistry set", and I enjoy reading about a particular spice, getting familiar with it, and experimenting / incorporating it in various dishes. While it might not be a big deal for a professional chef, as a home cook, my latest acquisitions were cardimom pods, star anise, fenugreek, fleur de sel, saffron, and whole nutmeg.
Have fun : )