Imagine being a kid in the candy store. Not just any candy store, but one of the largest in the world, with treats from all across the globe. It’s just too much to take in.
That is about the best description we can give for the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. Miles and miles of booths, from all over the world, offering everything (and anything) for cooking, for the kitchen, the bath, the table and more.
Only thing is, you can’t buy. Nope. Nothing. It is the annual showcase so that buyers from top department stores and the biggest discount stores to the tiniest gift shop can see what is new.
We had the privilege of working at the Select Brands booth—and fun was the name of the game. We made pizzas in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pizza Maker and served waffles that featured Marvel Super Heroes.
Slow cookers are fun when Pixar characters decorate the outside and you can safely transport the hot slow cooker to the potluck or tailgate when you use the Toastmaster locking lid slow cooker. And for those that want the flavor and crispness of fried foods, but without the oil mess, odor and calories, an air fryer delivers crispy fries, poppers and all of the fried treats you can imagine.
Next to us in the Select Brands booth, Dr. Dan, The Pancake Man drew intricate designs with pancake batter. The pancakes were works of art and people watched in total amazement.
Booths cover every inch of McCormick Place in Chicago, so the sights, sounds and smells are amazing. What did we see that you will find on store shelves later this year? Colors exploded and ranged from pastels to bright hues, and from bright red to lime green, pastel pink. purple and yellow. Cooper was featured everywhere. This display of colorful KitchenAid mixers showcases the range of colors we saw!
More electronics mean more smart appliances—for example, a kettle with different temperatures specifically targeted for green, oolong or black tea or French press coffee. Even your water bottle got an electronic make-over for Thermos featured a water bottle with a smart lid that measures your intake and works with a FitBit and Bluetooth. T-fal added a guide on a pan that monitors the temperature as you cook.
Rice Cookers are especially popular and now are electronic controlled or double as pressure cookers or multi-pots. The new Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker also specializes in hot cereals so you can cook oats and other whole grains.
If you walk the aisles, you might think everyone in the world drinks coffee and believe us, you can brew it just the way you want it. Pro blenders get top billing and many now feature soup settings and heating elements.
Bakers might really like the new Betty Crocker 3-tired oven rack that slips into your oven and increases the capacity. Those of us that crave macaroons can’t wait to get the Trudeau silicon sheet, with raised circles that serve as a guide and mold for those scrumptious macaroons. Hexagon shaped boards that you can mix and match make stellar serving pieces and baking pans designed so you can add filling or a hidden surprise in the cakes look fun.
It is all so very tempting and for those of us that like to cook Chicago becomes the height of kitchen excitement for one week. For now, we must wait and watch until all of the new pans, dishes and appliances are on the store shelves. Rest assured, it won’t take long.