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What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Posted by asovey (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 16:48

As we get ready for a major kitchen update/remodel I am interested to know what people feel is the most important appliance or feature in your kitchen. My intent is to have a gourmet kitchen with a design to create a gathering and cooking haven. A large island is a must. As this will be the only time I get the chance to get my dream kitchen, I don't want to forget anything, but I am sure I have. Help me out here!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

A good range or cooktop/ovens that meet your needs is the most important thing in the kitchen.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I totally agree. Right now I am thinking a Wolf 48" all gas in the island.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Better to put the range on an outside wall if possible - better venting options.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I have demo in 20 days, so can't speak from experience of having this, but I am REALLY looking forward to a real vent hood (and as a bonus, it should be quieter than a jet engine)!

Also hoping our Advantium is love at first bake, speed ovens sound like an awesome improvement. I love reading the threads here about how much people love them, so we are giving it a go.

Already have the new induction range because "old sparky" started tripping fuses last year. LOVE induction.

There are some great threads on the kitchen forum about what people love most, or regret, or wish they had done, etc...if you are interested. I unashamedly stole tons of ideas from there!


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Lots of light. My previous kitchen was literally a "black hole". It's amazing how happy it makes me to walk into my kitchen, even to face a sinkful of dirty dishes, when I can actually SEE when I enter the room.

We put in massive picture windows across the entire back wall (so I lost upper storage, but managed to compensate), up to a vaulted ceiling. Then I put in a ton of light fixtures, too!


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I 100% agree with Williamsen about having a really good vent hood. We often see people spend $$$$ on a powerful range, and then cheap out on the hood. Meanwhile the new beautiful expensive kitchen gets smelly and greasy cause there's not proper exhaust. Along with the excellent hood itself, needs to be proper ductwork. Make sure your exhaust duct diameter is 8" or 10", not smaller. If the duct is smaller, you will have a noisy inefficient hood through no fault of the hood.

I agree with Weissman about your 48" range in the big island you mentioned. The exhaust will then be more challenging - there are no cabinets around the hood to help capture smoke and grease, so the hood needs to be more powerful. It then needs to be a good-sized canopy-style hood, six inches wider than the width of the range - i.e. 54" wide hood. But some people only want a designer-y style flat glass hood over the island due to sight lines, but then you won't have an effective exhaust, and once again spending a lot of money but not getting the right result.

Your island will also have to be really really big, as you will need landing space on either side of that 48" range. There's discussion on the Kitchens Forum about how much landing space you need if you are having a range in the island. And, if you plan to have people sitting at the island, you will need to allow space so that they can sit far enough away not to get splattered by whatever is cooking.

The idea of a range in the island sounds good, and TV cooking shows make it seem so wonderful. The reality is that people spend most of the time in the kitchen at prep work, and only a small percentage of time actually at the cooktop. If you want the island to be a social gathering place for you, better to have it be used for all your prep/chopping/mixing than cooking. You will also be able to have family members/friends help you with the chopping and so forth at the island if it is big enough, which is fun. If there is a 48" range there, will they be helping you cook stuff? Not as likely. So, make the island a prep space, and put a prep sink at one end of the island with a disposal to help you with those tasks.

Speaking of disposals, I also couldn't do without mine. I do not compost, but people who do feel they don't need a disposal. I use mine constantly. I do not have a prep sink, but if I did, I'd have two disposals: for my main sink and my prep sink.

BTW, these are all appliance-related "must-haves". You could also post on the kitchens forum for other must-haves in the kitchen.

This post was edited by akchicago on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 10:29


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

My gaggenau plumbed combi steam is my favorite kitchen "must have" that I would purchase again (can't say that about every big ticket appliance - Would NEVER purchase another Liebherr). The gagg combi is so versatile! Yes, it is expensive but worth every penny to me.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

When we remodeled our kitchen,we were entering the stage of our lives where our children/nieces and nephews getting married and having children with attending parties, rehearsal dinner and showers. I like to cook and have those occasions at home. We wanted our kitchen to be able to handle that and have been very happy with all our choices.
I was very lucky in that a neighbor who is a carpenter built all of our cabinets for us. One of the things I like best is that we used all drawers on the lowers with glides that pull all the way out, The only lower cabinets are across from my range in the island for stock pots and taller things. They are also shallow. He was also willing to work with me on some of my " ideas" instead of what everybody else does. I wish I would have used the very lowest part of the cabinet, the toe kick as an additional shallow drawer. There is hardware for this. It would be so handy for trays and other big flat things.

Some things I found helpful when planning my kitchen-

Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind

One idea from this book was that I made one countertop against a wall deeper to allow for frequently used appliances to be left out and still have 24 inches of depth as a work area. You can get this book on Amazon very inexpensively.

Also you may want to read this or this on chowhound.

As others have said the kitchen forum is all about design. I think there are some threads about what you wouldn't do if you had it to do over as well as what you would do.

A great oven(s) was also a priority for me. I have always loved to bake but have really expanded my repertoire.

The design of a sink(s) is very import to me as well. I have one that is deep(10 inch) which is too deep for me to do dishes in as it hurts my back. Its good points though--- we use it as a cooler for soda and beer and it hides pots and pans. My other sink that I use for dishes is a little more shallow. Consider ergonomics in all your choices.

Another thing that really helped me was to understand cookware.

Common Materials of Cookware

Understanding Cookware

I would certainly look at an induction range and consider a steam oven. I don't have either but some those that have them seem to like them.

Whether you talk about appliances, faucets, cabinets etc, there are many features touted but you have to choose based on your needs rather than what is the latest thing. Case in point for me-- deep sinks. Some people love them though.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Wow - too many things to name on this post.
Induction cooktop
Speed oven
Convection oven of your choice...
UCL LED lights on dimmers
LED can lights
A good faucet
A place for everything planned in advance
Etc
Have fun!!!


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I think you are making this all too complicated.

Every kitchen needs a talented and flexible chef.

With that, the rest of this stuff becomes window dressing.

Skills and the ability to cope with imperfect settings, equipment and people are paramount. Because, no amount of turbo ventilation + make up air, rocket fired wok burners , steam appliances, 700 h.p boat motor blenders, spic and span dishwashers, or zen lighting is going to make up for the inability to select quality ingredients, and manipulate them into tasty inspiring dishes with whatever equipment and space is available. Or , deal with curveballs.

The guests on a safari don't care or wanna hear that you only have a campfire and knife any more than the owner of a yacht cares that the galley is 75% smaller than your home kitchen. What if the blender craps outs or you run out of propane? Whatcha gonna do?


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

The most important thing in the kitchen is my wife. ;-)

I really like my new vent hood setup. I still need to measure it with my sound meter, but it is really quiet. Roof mounted blower, with a muffler (silencer) inline. My wife would not use her old Viking hood with built in motor unless something was really smoking -- just too noisy for her.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Like a2gemini, I have a list, but my favorite thing in my kitchen is my induction cooktop. Not my particular model, which is by Kitchenaid and is annoyingly noisy, but the function of an induction cooktop, with hobs arranged in a way that works for you. It has made the most difference in how I cook and how easily I clean the stove. As someone else said in another thread, induction rocks.

I think there's a thread in the "New to Kitchens?" post on the Kitchens Forum about "Favorite things" or something like that. I got a lot of good ideas from it.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I've read repeatedly that the single most-used item in the kitchen is the sink. So I'd be sure to put real thought and effort into choosing just the right one for your purposes. If the budget allows, people seem to love the Kohler Stages sinks, both the smaller and the larger ones.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I think that the best money we spent was for the design of the kitchen and spending more on that. We went with a "higher" end designer/builder and it really paid off. There were other options that were cheaper, but I didn't get the same good feeling from them in terms of how the build would go or that the designs would be good.

One guy was a builder turned designer and we could just tell he wasn't really a good designer, he didn't have a good eye for that.

You need to shop around for that, IMHO, as much as you do for any appliance. You need to feel comfortable with the person/group that is going to do your layout and make sure that they understand you and what you want out of the kitchen.

As for a sink as mentioned by "smiling" while I loved the Kohler stuff we have really loved our choice of Franke, we went with the Orca and love it to death.

If you want my one appliance that I just had to have well that is a tough call between my BS 36" rangetop and the Wolf steam oven. Love them both and I really wouldn't want to give up either to be honest and very glad we were able to afford both!!

Good luck!
Phil


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

" Posted by xedos

I think you are making this all too complicated.

Every kitchen needs a talented and flexible chef."

We are assuming that this already applies to the OP.;-))


"With that, the rest of this stuff becomes window dressing. "

If you are building a kitchen, and spending the time and money, you might as well spend a little more time and energy to maximize the benefits of those expenditures. At what point is something "window dressing"? Would it be anything more than a dutch oven and fireplace? Anything more than a $500 Hotpoint range? We could all live in a tent and cook on a campfire but I have enjoyed the little luxuries and conveniences in my kitchen. I would not avoid them because the power might go out. Yes I have had to activate plan B- as in 10 days with no power and a party for 60.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

wekick - I'm glad someone took me up on my offer.

I think you assume a lot with regard to skill/talent. Asovey , no knock on you as for all I know you are a degree in nutrition and attended Cordon Bleu.

I do not disagree with you about maximizing benefits, but my take in this industry over the last 20+ years is that too many people obsess over this light or that , or worry if the cooktop they selected is the right choice because it only is capable of 18,000 btu while the one their friend got CLAIMS to produce 21,000. All the while neither of them can make a proper omelet or tell how fresh the asparagus bunch they picked up is.

I think if more of us invested the same amount of time honing our kitchen skills as we did worrying about the doo dads in our kitchens and their looks - a whole new world of taste would open up. That frozen pizza may cook faster in a lickety split speed oven and look more appetizing under color corrected lighting and stay warm in the humidity controlled warming drawer - but -

Is it better than a fresh baked version that doesn't take that much more time to execute if you know how to plan ?

I love fancy and cutting edge kitchens and have a few myself, so don't mis-understand me. I'd just like people to consider a different perspective.

Namely, technology and progress can go a long way in helping us out , but it is no substitute for skill and knowledge. Siri is a cool piece of software for the iphone crowd , but do you think its going to replace your grandkids' need to learn the skill of writing ?


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Ditto, jkom51. I could cook on a buddy burner with a candle under it as long as I had a light, bright kitchen.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Wow! Thanks everyone! You have all given me things to think about on many issues. I will go to the kitchen forum too and take some time to do some reading.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Mine is our induction cooktop.

Honorable mention would be LED can lights, Speed oven and regular oven & 48" built in fridge.

We do love our granite thou too.

We've had the kitchen going on 7 years now and wife still remarks how much She loves it.

Gary


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I enjoy reading this thread. We remodeled 7 years ago, and there are a few items I would definitely repeat, and so glad I didn't miss out on in my decision process.
1. Gaggenau combi. I am pretty sure this gets used every day, from steaming tortillas for wraps when I make kids' lunches in the morning, to almost every evening meal. Many appliance choices are not a permanent yay or nay. You can swap out ranges, fridges, and dishwashers, but due to the plumbing and space required, I think it would be difficult to change your mind and add it later.

2. Pull-out spray arm on the faucet. I have the Grohe Lady Lux plus, and I recently received a replacement spray arm...after 7 years the rubber switch was starting to crack/age, and they sent a simple-to-replace spray arm at no charge. I have had a few different pull-downs, and they simply do not spring back in all the way, all the time. We purchased a Kohler in our vacation home remodel last year, and it is always sagging about 1/2" out of the mount.

3. Mentioned above: The Franke Orca sink. I love the racks that allow versatility in using a large single bowl. And if you are into gadgets, there are plenty to purchase to fit this sink (colander, cutting board, etc.)

4. Spice pull-outs. I love this convenience, and am sure it was from a suggestion on this forum! No searching to find something in the back. Mine are narrow, as I wanted them for everyday spices, rather than larger containers.

4. What I wish I would have done? Put function and noise at the top of my hood list. Although mine was rated as a very low noise hood, and is mounted against the wall, about 10 feet with one right angle from the exterior wall, it is indeed a freight train when turned high....which is a must in my home when I sear.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I enjoy reading this thread. We remodeled 7 years ago, and there are a few items I would definitely repeat, and so glad I didn't miss out on in my decision process.
1. Gaggenau combi. I am pretty sure this gets used every day, from steaming tortillas for wraps when I make kids' lunches in the morning, to almost every evening meal. Many appliance choices are not a permanent yay or nay. You can swap out ranges, fridges, and dishwashers, but due to the plumbing and space required, I think it would be difficult to change your mind and add it later.

2. Pull-out spray arm on the faucet. I have the Grohe Lady Lux plus, and I recently received a replacement spray arm...after 7 years the rubber switch was starting to crack/age, and they sent a simple-to-replace spray arm at no charge. I have had a few different pull-downs, and they simply do not spring back in all the way, all the time. We purchased a Kohler in our vacation home remodel last year, and it is always sagging about 1/2" out of the mount.

3. Mentioned above: The Franke Orca sink. I love the racks that allow versatility in using a large single bowl. And if you are into gadgets, there are plenty to purchase to fit this sink (colander, cutting board, etc.)

4. Spice pull-outs. I love this convenience, and am sure it was from a suggestion on this forum! No searching to find something in the back. Mine are narrow, as I wanted them for everyday spices, rather than larger containers.

4. What I wish I would have done? Put function and noise at the top of my hood list. Although mine was rated as a very low noise hood, and is mounted against the wall, about 10 feet with one right angle from the exterior wall, it is indeed a freight train when turned high....which is a must in my home when I sear.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

For me there are two must-haves, first is the Chinese plain steel cleaver I bought for $4 35 years ago. It takes a wicked sharp edge, sharpens with a couple quick flicks of a diamond hone, and cuts everything I need to cut in the kitchen. Second is my cast iron frying pan, the best non-stick cooking surface ever invented. My grandmother got it as a wedding present in 1910, it's still going strong. A new favorite is a tool I just discovered going to cooking school in Thailand, a most versatile wok tool like the one shown in the picture. Handles many measuring tasks and makes wok cooking a breeze.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

While I agree with xedos about high-tech kitchens not being a substitute for skills and willingness, I think OP was asking a different question.

My parent's kitchen was smaller than my current bathroom, had zero counter space and couldn't fit more than 2 people (three, if one was sitting at the tiny table). Yet, we made some very elaborate meals there. And yes, I cooked over campfire.

I also know people with all-Gaggenau kitchens who hardly ever cook.

But having modern conveniences makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. I cooked yesterday on my new cooktop for the first time and I was astonished how "indecently" easy it felt to cook with a "real" hood, plenty of light, and sufficient counter space. It turns out, I never knew what I was missing because I never had all three together. I was even going to post here about it but didn't have time.

My personal must-haves (in addition to hood and lighting everyone mentioned) in no particular order:

1. Two sinks, both undermount or integrated.

2. Stainless counter with integrated backsplash for the clean-up area

3. Induction

4. Drawer dishwasher (two would have been better but we didn't have enough room)

5. Steam oven

BTW, I am not liking my spice pull-out so far. I think, I would prefer a spice drawer.

Have fun!


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

My favorite "thing" in my kitchen is.... my "un-skru" jar opener mounted under a cabinet....LOL.....It easily opens a bottle of fingernail polish up to a gallon jug of pickles...


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Hey redoingit,
I'm curious what vent hood you have that is super loud? I'm trying to decide on a hood liner to handle my thermador freedom induction beside a 15" Wolf multifunction gas burner. . . looking at VAH and Abakka. . . the Abakka is the most expensive option I'm shopping so I want to make sure it's worth it. . Thanks


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

10x12" kitchen here. The most functional "must have": I added 8' of counter space. This makes the cooking "pace" more comfortable as pots and chickens are no longer teetering over my head on the 3' counter I had before.
outlets: I previously had 1 outlet ! I added 4 more :) so handy to have one in the corner next to the sink for filling up the electric kettle, blender etc. No more jockeying small appliances around. All of them live on the counter next to their very own outlet ! The toaster and mixer are thrilled.
sink: Franke PSX1103012-single bowl. I had a much smaller flimsy SS sink before and the size(and depth) of this one is perfect for my needs. I love just dumping everything in it and then loading the DW late at night. It's perfect in every aspect, except for the price :(
Speaking of DW, installed the Miele Crystal in June. Best DW I have ever owned(I had a pot scrubber from 100yrs ago),
and yes I must mention my GE profile bottom freezer fridge(I never had a bottom freezer before---so convenient and a nice spacious fridge) I bought it used for $700. which allowed me to get the DW...
Kitchenaid undercounter glass door fridge--VERY HANDY for storing nuts, miso, herring, fruit and extra veggies. I like being able to see what needs to be restocked.
My mr. Magic Chef stove (80's)was bought used for $160(del. incl. !). and is working great for the past 6 years, it will be replaced when absolutely necessary but with what ? That will be a question for GW.
My wish list for any future residence includes an outside vent since I can't do that here...


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

This isn't bad. We also have a mixer lift, and a 80" high pullout beside the fridge.

Here is a link that might be useful: LeMans pullout


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

I have those "LeMans" pullouts in both blind corners in my U-shaped kitchen. Those units hold a LOT of weight. I store cast iron cookware (stacked) in the corner nearest the range, and baking supplies (jars and tubs of flours, sugar, etc. in the other. While there is a fair amount of mostly inaccessible space in the backs of the cabs, these make for much more useful and organized storage in these corners, now that my baby has grown too big for me to send her into the back to find stuff.

I also have a tall pullout next to my fridge. Again, much more organized storage than in the shelves that it replaced, with very little wasted space.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Since it is difficult to cook good food with water that tastes like iodine and looks like liquid rust:

Here is a link that might be useful: Everpure H-1200 water filter


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Water chiller-- works in tandem with the water inc purifier and dispenser. We always have cold, but not icey water at the sink. DH loves it and uses it all the time.


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Hi Asovey,

How great that you're at the beginning of the process--it's a blast!

Top of my list is an open, light, bright workspace that's beautiful--a place where I love to spend time and can easily work. Under this category fall an excellent KD and cabinetmaker, great lighting, natural light, and in my case white cabinets and white marble counters (personal taste...)

Second is an excellent, quiet vent hood (I have the 54" Best by Broan with inline attic-mounter blower). I tore out an entire section of perfectly good kitchen in order to be able to install this with the custom wood hood around it.

Third would be drawers, drawers, drawers. Deep pot drawers, plenty of drawers for utensils and wraps, etc. They're the best thing since sliced bread...literally :) ...in the kitchen.

Fourth is a spacious, well-lit, easily accessible pantry.

Fifth is pull-out sink faucets and a veggie sink in the island or main prep area.

I love my new higher-end appliances, but I was pretty much just as happy with my Kenmore rangetop as I am with the new Wolf range, my Viking fridge is nothing to write home about--the previous Jenn-Air was just as good and quieter, and although I love my Miele DW, it's had so many problems that it was replaced by the company after 16 months. Never had a problem with the previous Kenmore.

My point is that in my case and IMHO, form, storage space, layout, construction quality, and lighting are more important than my appliances.

Have to agree with the 48" Wolf in the island being a potential problem. Your island would have to be massive to accommodate the range and still leave room for landing space and everything else that goes on around an island, that space could easily lose the intimate feel. I also hear people with in-island ranges complaining about splattering guests and family members while cooking, and always having a big mess in the main gathering area.

It looks great for cooking shows, but ask around and see if people with that arrangement like it IRL. Personal choice, of course.

Good luck, and enjoy the process!!


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

Island cooking does not appeal to me at all. Venting can be a major construction problem, needs to be hung high to be visually appealing, and thus needs a very big blower. Keep the cooking on an exterior wall as noted above.

FACT...you spend 2/3 of your "kitchen time" prepping and/or cleaning up. I advocate putting a sink(s) in the island that way you face your guests and everyone can pitch in. If you have an open kitchen plan the island becomes the prep center or activity center and you don't want your cook top there, IMO.

Beyond that...gas cooking, plenty of counter space, two dishwashers and a 36" farm sink (I'm a cook and my wife is a baker.)


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RE: What is your favorite kitchen "must-have"?

My must- have: the husband who cooks and has a lovely meal ready for me when I pull late nights at work. I recommend you get one of these, but they don't come cheap.


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