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Gifts that Last a Lifetime

May 15th, 2012 by Amanda

When I was planning my wedding, the last thing on my mind was registering for gifts.  At the time, my fiance and I lived in a tiny apartment and the thought of storing a bunch of kitchenware made me cringe. This was long before I worked at The Chopping Block and knew exactly which products would give us a lifetime of great cooking.  Luckily, some friends and family were able to share their wisdom and I ended up with some amazing pieces that I use regularly.  With my best friend and sister-in-law both beginning their married lives I find myself full of advice; because of this I figured it would be an appropriate time to share my two cents with everyone!

My showpiece is most definitely my Le Creuset 5 ½ quart round French oven (Dutch oven).  This piece is always sitting out in my kitchen for two reasons: it’s beautiful and I am always using it.  It works for so many things like braising, soups, sauces and our favorite veggie cobbler.  The enamel finish makes for easy clean up and the lifetime warranty makes it a great value.  I have heard of many people who have their grandparent’s Le Creuset.

Whenever I prepare a meal I use my chef’s knife.  Suggesting the right knife for someone is hard because there are many great brands and styles that leave it up to personal preference (kind of like a mate).  I have had the opportunity to take many knives for a test drive at The Chopping Block and found I really adore the Shun brand but I would suggest you take our most popular class, Knife Skills, to see what fits you.

Finally, if you are going to be using a knife you definitely need a cutting board.  There are so many beautiful and useful ones out there but for our lifestyle we chose an Epicurean.  They are made from recycled materials, dishwasher safe (low maintenance) and look great.  We have had ours for at least five years and it still looks new even after riding in the dishwasher many times a week.

Although I have built quite a collection, there is still an item that I haven’t acquired yet. Eventually, I hope to own a Vitamix blender.  It is so powerful yet so quiet.  The motor can go so fast that you can make soup in it.  Also, it pulverizes food that you can use the entire fruit (think strawberry stems) gaining even more vitamins.

I am a very practical minimalist so when I buy something it must be long lasting and have multiple purposes.  That is why these are some of my favorite items.  I would love to hear about products that you can’t live without in the kitchen.

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One Response to “Gifts that Last a Lifetime”

  1. avatar Clair says:

    Love your picks Amanda and I agree with all of them! I would also add my handy dandy bench scraper – I use it just as much as my cutting board and chefs knife and it helps me save the edge on my knife by not using it to pick up and move food from my board to my pan. Thanks for sharing. :)

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Amanda Aristeo is originally from Traverse City, Michigan and has lived in Chicago for the past 7 years. After the birth of her son, Mario, she left her position at the Chicago City Clerk’s Office to dedicate herself to her family and pursue a part-time career in a field she is passionate about: food. Remembering how much she enjoyed attending classes at The Chopping Block, she applied at Lincoln Square and now works as a Class Assistant and Retail Associate. When Amanda isn’t creating meatless meals for her family, she is busy attending aquababies, Tiny Tots or spending time with her wonderful husband.

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