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How do I care for my wooden cutting boards, bowls and utensils?

The most important thing is to never put any wood products in the dishwasher…ever. You should wash them with soap and water and a soft sponge. Be sure to rinse and dry well. Give them a wipe with mineral oil from time to time to keep the wood from drying out. Don’t use vegetable oils – they go rancid over time. Keep a zip-lock bag under your sink with a clean soft cloth and a bottle of mineral oil. That way you’ll always be ready to give your woodenware a light coat of oil. If you take care of your wood products correctly, they will last you a lifetime.

Do I need to treat my non-stick fry pans any differently from my stainless steel ones?

ABSOLUTELY!! As Mario Batali says “When it comes to eggs, non-stick is your friend”. I couldn’t agree more. But, you should observe a few special rules when you use your non-stick pans: Don’t use metal utensils; use plastic, nylon, silicone or wood. Use temperatures lower than you are used to using; the pan will perform better. Always let the pan cool down before you put it in water or water in it. Don’t EVER spray it with “PAM” – it adheres to the coating and will never come off. And never put your non-stick pan in the dishwasher.

How do I choose between a traditional blender and an immersion blender?

It really depends on what you are using it for primarily. If it is all about smoothies or frozen drinks, I prefer a traditional jug-style blender. They crush ice better. But if you are using a blender for soups and sauces, an immersion blender (AKA stick blender and boat motor) is awesome. You put the blender into the pot and move it around. No more transferring cooked veggies into a blender jug then back into another pot…leaving a trail of drips along the way.

What do I need to do before using my new toaster or toaster oven?

You should turn your appliance to the darkest toast setting and let it go for a full cycle with nothing in it. A bit of smoke comes out and there will be a funky smell as the heat burns the ‘factory coating’ off of the heating elements. You just need to do this before the very first use…then you are good to toast!

Why don’t my new dishtowels absorb water??

Isn’t that so frustrating? The manufacturers put a ‘finish’ on them that keeps the nap from rising and keeps them looking crisp and great on the shelf. You should wash them a few times before you use them for the first time. Washing them will remove the sizing and make the towels more absorbent.

Is there anything that will help me stop burning my cookies?

That is a loaded question! There are many reasons why your cookies may be burning and solutions for each of them. 

  • If you are using dark (non-stick) cookie sheets, they absorb the heat more than the all metal ones which reflect the heat. Turn your oven down by 15 degrees. 
  • Perhaps your oven is running ‘hot’. We have oven thermometers that can help you to figure out if your oven thermostat is a bit kaflooey. 
  • Wind up timers tend to be a bit less accurate than electronic ones and the difference of a minute or more will make a big difference when it comes to cookies.
  • Thin cookie sheets don’t diffuse the heat very well. Get yourself a Siplat baking mat. They are amazing – they make the cookies (and other pastries) bake evenly. Fabulous product.

Why is my coffee maker brewing so slowly?

I’ll bet you live in Vermont!! Our water here is soooooo hard. If you don’t clean your coffeemaker regularly, the lines fill up with calcium and lime. It makes it harder and harder for the pump to pull water through the tubing. Clean your coffee maker with white vinegar and water – about two to one. Run it through as though you were making a pot of coffee – unplug it when it is half way through. Let it sit unplugged for an hour. Plug it back in, let it finish its cycle. Then run a couple of pots of fresh water through. Put it on your calendar to do once a month. Your coffee will taste better and your coffee maker will live longer.

Why doesn’t my cookware work on my new induction cook top? HELP!

Bummer. This happens a lot. The appliance dealer didn’t tell you that you need magnetic cookware. I think that the dealer is afraid that if you realized that you may need to buy new cookware, that you won’t purchase the cook top. Fortunately, there are a lot of choices for cookware that will work on your induction burners. Bring a magnet with you when you are shopping for new induction-compatible cookware. If it sticks to the BOTTOM of the pan, the pan will work. If you shop with us, we have a bunch of magnets here…plus we can tell you what will work and what won’t.


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