Wandering around this year’s Housewares Show, I must’ve walked at least 5 miles. The booths were endless.
Rumors of a Rachel Ray cooking demonstration and book signing were rife. Rick Bayless demonstrated his prowess with Mexican cuisine in the Cooking Theatre.
Unfortunately, new and innovative products designed to make your life easier at home were somewhat limited this year. Here’s the best of what I found:
-From the folks who brought you the Epicurean preservation system, a vacuum-pressure seal that preserves the taste, color, aroma and bubbles of wine and champagne for up to 14 days, comes a new product to help you marinade your meat faster.
Wallingford, Ct.-based PresorVac introduced “The Marinator” at this year’s Housewares show. This state-of-the-art vacuum seal and cycling system compresses the time needed to fully infuse the flavors of a marinade into your meat or vegetables. The cycle begins by drawing most of the air out of the pan, and then releasing the marinade back in. Instead of waiting hours to marinade your meat, it’ll be ready for the grill in 5 minutes.
Dishwasher safe, the Marinator (www.epicurean-int.com) will retail for $69.96 at William Sonoma later this year.
-Where do you put up your house guests? If you’re lucky, perhaps you have a guest room. When I was growing up, my sisters and I piled into one bedroom, and I got to sleep on a cot.
Today, everyone can have his or her own mattress. Blow up beds are relatively inexpensive. But what if your mother-in-law can’t get out of her bed too easily? Insta-Bed (www.insta-bed.com) has introduced the raised Insta-Flex2.
This blow-up bed is a combination of a regular queen size bed (as tall as one with a mattress and box spring, so the blow up bed is relatively high off the floor) and also offers features of a fully-adjustable hospital bed. You can raise the back side of the top mattress like you would adjust a lawn chair. You can also raise the portion of the mattress where your knees would be.
The Insta-Flex2 costs $250, includes a rechargeable pump.
-Tea for two? Primula Products (www.primulaproducts.com) introduced a flowering tea set at this year’s show. And while the glass tea pot that stays hot for 20 minutes was interesting, it’;s the jasmine and green tea flower bud that caused the most excitement.
Stitched by hand, the dried flower tea bud is about as wide as your thumbnail. When you pour boiling water on it, the bud opens like a pop-up sponge. The fully-opened bud turns into a beautiful flower with a pink center and green leaves, and measures up to four inches in diameter, and two to three inches high.
In addition to putting on quite a show as it steeps, the jasmine and green tea flower makes a delicious pot of tea. Available in time for Mother’s Day, a box of the buds will retail $14.99 at Macy’s and Linen’s ‘N Things.
-Silicon houseware equipment manufacturers seem to have realized that silicon alone doesn’t always work all that well. So manufacturers have begun to marry silicon with metal and ceramic in order to make products less wiggly and more useful.
It won’t come as a surprise that OXO’s newest products (www.oxo.com) do a fine job of mixing metal and silicon with easy-to-use, easy-to-clean results.
The company’s new Silicone Cooking Colander boils, drains, steams, and blanches food but also collapses flat for easy storage. It measures 6.75″ in diameter and fits into standard 3- and 4-quart saucepans. It is heat-resistant to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The colander will be available in June for $19.99.
Oxo also introduced Silicone Flex Turners, which are silicone spatulas with metal on the inside. The metal gives the spatula some heft and sturdiness, while the silicone won’t scratch non-stick pans. Taking that concept a step further, Oxo is also introducing silicone flexible tongs. The tongs and spatulas will be available later this spring and retail for $7.99 to $14.99 at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond.