Lisa Davies, the amazing foodie behind This Little Piggy, invited me to an event with the Voltaggio Brothers for Samsung Ovens recently. I couldn’t go (Ach!), but my neighbor, Siobhan Morello – a talented personal chef with a much more refined palate than I have – could and did. I asked her to write something about the event, and I’m so pleased with what she gave me. Siobhan took a comment about eating more homemade meals that Michael Voltaggio made during the evening and ran with it. And let me tell you, I’m so glad this “fancy kitchen” idea is a myth. All those Vikings I saw while house-hunting were really intimidating! This lovely essay is especially apropos just before the stress and rush of the holidays. Enjoy!
As someone who spends her working hours in a kitchen, I certainly do have my favorite gadgets and appliances. With every meal I prepare, however, the more streamlined those preferences become. I do not use garlic presses or mini-choppers because they do not function better or faster than my chef’s knife. A heavy stainless steel or cast iron pan and a good sharp knife are basic, but I believe a successful meal is made with good ingredients, attention and confidence.
When I first stocked my kitchen, I bought three garlic presses. I think it’s a sign of being further along in my cooking life cycle that I prefer a pared down approach. Mind you, it’s not about frugality. I spend more money on knives than I care to admit–to my husband.
I’m no Luddite; I love my stand mixer, immersion blender and my food processor and use them frequently. My advice: if it helps to get a homemade meal on the table, then it’s useful and important. Although this may not be the driving force behind technological advances in kitchen appliances, if it has that effect, then it has my blessing.
Samsung recently released their Freestanding Flex Duo Oven, which touts convenience and flexibility due to its removable, partitioning shelf that divides the interior oven space into two distinct cooking compartments. With this shelf in place, an insulated seal is created, allowing cookies to bake at 325ºF on convection setting, while just below, a chicken with shallots and herbs at 400ºF roasts without convection fans. No mingling of flavors or odors — great for those of us without the space or means for a double wall oven. After all, how often are two wall ovens in use simultaneously?
Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, of Top Chef fame, have been enlisted to help promote this $1600 range in their personal, inimitable style. At a recent press event, the younger Voltaggio, Michael, said something that sounded right to me. In essence, he said, we aren’t eating homemade meals often enough. If this oven helps break down a barrier to a made-from-scratch dinner, then it is a good product. I couldn’t agree more.
I encourage you to find whatever makes the process of cooking a family meal less stressful and more enjoyable for you. A subscription to a food-centric magazine, groceries delivered to your home, cooking lessons, or even a fancy garlic press.
photo courtesy of Lisa Davies from This Little Piggy. Click on her link to see photos of the deliciousness at the Samsung event.