International Home + Housewares Show ~ What American Cooks CAN Use

Fiesta Dinnerware Homer Laughlin CollageIt felt like Dubai crashed into Bed, Bath and Beyond. A trade show of stuff with something for any home on the planet. This was THE trade show for new or improved, classic or kitchy, high end or cheap, useful or useless STUFF. If you are girly, it’s mecca.

Attending the International Home + Housewares Show is not for weenies. Besides the requirement of needing to be in the trade (as in, not open to the public), you need stamina to see the 2100 exhibits in the gi-normous McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago. I covered it in a single day and needed to FOCUS. Time to Think Like Patti.

Patti dislikes clutter. Patti doesn’t like owning stuff that turned out to not fit our lives (our expensive juicer, pasta machine come to mind). Patti dislikes coddling delicate utensils and machines. Patti hates polluting the environment with trash like spent coffee pods. Patti was hell-bent on drilling down to useful stuff. 

Well, useful stuff and PRETTY DISHWARE.

Here, then, are 10 Patti-pleasing things that would be a great purchase once in the stores (some items were displayed for retail buyers to bring into stores):

IMG_2307A fresh set of dishware. I’d buy a mixed palate of Fiesta plus holiday set. The holiday pattern cleverly matches any color in their rainbow. See how that Christmas tree has décor of all their colors? Smart, cute, casual.


This German clay baker, called a Romertopf. Soak the lid in water. Put the ingredients in the glazed bottom. Cover. Bake. Juicy. Serve in it. I think this is a worthwhile gift, too.


IMG_2311A substantial Bundt pan. Nordic really is best; I know this because when I did PR for Baker’s Joy baking spray, we learned ALL about bundts. Cakes bake gloriously. And the shapes are stunning, including this cinnamon roll layout. MMMM.

Chalk labeled jars

Storage containers with chalkboard labels. Chalkboard paint came on the scene a few years ago and crafty folks like me went nuts with ideas (we painted one of our kitchen walls a chalkboard). Now, jars with chalkboards already painted on will be popping up everywhere. Dishwasher safe. Me likey.

IMG_2294Tiny garlic chopper that cleans easily. Ugh, the standard squeeze garlic press gets all its little holes clogged. No more, I say! The Garlic Chop has a bottom that pushes all the stuff out, then goes into the dishwasher. The green helps you find it in the drawer.


Wine shades. Little flexible sheets {in a ton of designs} that turn any wine glass + votive into a darling tiny lamp. I met the designer from di Potter at a catering show and her products caught my eye — again! I am in awe of simple ideas that transform a tabletop into glam.


Silicon baking sheets. Until now, I didn’t grasp the point. But with so much stuff at the show made from silicone, there must be something to this. As long as they are easy to wash, I’m IN. See the cookies markings?


Cookware for Hispanic Food. Tamales need steamers. Carnitas need griddles. Beans need deep kettles. If you cook Caribbean food, useful.  Cuban food, useful. I think this is really smart, and the colors are stunning.


A double boiler that solves problems. Bonjour 1.5 Qt. all-in-one. See the little trap door on the top of the handle? Pour your boiling water in there (there is a window to see water level) and it gently – with no burning – melts things. Pick it up and pour. No flopping around with the drippy steaming hot interior bowl. YES.


Googly candy eyeballs for cupcakes, cakes, ice cream, sandwiches. Wilton makes thousands and thousands of clever things, you could go crazy buying all their stuff. Start small. Get some eyeballs. I think they are quite useful.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sippitysup March 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm

My mom had a Romertopf. Of course she had a substantial bundt pan too. It makes me happy to know these things are still embraced by the best of us. GREG

2 Jeff Parker March 21, 2014 at 8:23 am

Love, love love! I have always wanted to go to the Housewares Show! My mind is reeling… especially love the Fiestaware Christmas plate (odd since I’m not really that into Xmas decor) and the chalkboard labeled containers… must have! Glad you had a great time!

3 Kristina Vanni March 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Great seeing you at the show! Love those wine shades – I missed that one. So creative and useful!

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