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Cookware | Manolo's Basement of the Bargains
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Hail to the Chef!

When my parents first met, my mother admired a top-quality 12″ chef’s knife. She told my father how much she wanted it. My father went back later and bought it for her birthday. He spent the next few days in a cold sweat, certain that she would hand him his hat as soon as he handed her that knife. After all, it wasn’t a terribly romantic gift coming from a boyfriend…let alone as his first gift to her. He needn’t have worried so. Mom was an enthusiastic cook who knew good kitchenware. They lived happily ever after and had four kids.

Me? I’m my mother’s daughter. Good cookware gives me a thrill. There’s nothing like holding a really good kitchen knife in your hand. Mom taught me a lot about the importance of really excellent knives in the kitchen. They hold their edges better so they don’t go dull in the middle of a job. The handles are sturdy and won’t come to wobble later in life. They’re comfortable in the hand so you can cut what you need without tiring your hands unduly. Oh, and that birthday gift? Outlasted Mom. That’s a good knife, when it can last more than thirty years of daily use and still be in good enough shape to keep on using.

There are several excellent companies making just such knives today, but my go to knife at home is a Wusthof. It’s incredibly comfortable in the hand, holds an edge beautifully, and is easy to manage. And that’s why I was so excited when I took a glance in the sale section at Williams Sonoma this morning:

Wusthof Twelve Inch Chef’s Knife The Wusthof 12″ chef’s knife is a full foot of fabulous disguised as kitchen equipment. With this baby you can handle anything from a roast to a cabbage with aplomb and precision.

Even on sale it’s not cheap, but then again, when you add up what you would spend on replacing a mediocre chef’s knife every few years against what you’ll spend on buying this level of quality once, it really is a savings.

And speaking of savings, they really are tremendous right now. This baby usually sells for a cool $500.00. Right now, though, at Williams Sonoma, the price has been slashed to just $399.95. What’s more, if you spend $299.00 worth on Wusthof Classic Cutlery, you’ll get a free in-drawer, seven-slot beechwood insert to hold your knives safely for free ($19.95 retail value, see site for details).

I don’t know about you, but I think this handsome knife would be the perfect first denizen of that insert.

Friday Finds Under Fifty: The Hippity Hoppity Edition

It’s spring and I can’t help thinking of rabbits.

And, of course, I can’t help thinking about bargains, too. Here are the few of the bunny bargains I’ve found for your shopping pleasure.

We start our journey at Cooking.com, where I found this adorable
Chef’n Grabbit Salt Grinder
, complete with lovely long bunny ears.

Chef'n Grabbit Grinder, Salt How cute is that? Not to mention practical. Oh, and it also comes in a pepper grinder version. They normally sell for $24.95 each, but right now at Cooking.com you can get them for $17.99 apiece.

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Frakking Great Deal

Yes, I am a huge sci-fi geek. Last night was the final episode of the astonishing re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, and I am officially in mourning.

And so in honor of one of the best shows I’ve seen in many and many a year, I bring you a great deal on a Toaster.

KitchenAid 4-slice Pro Line Toaster, Pearl Metallic
This is the perfect toaster to help you remember the Cylons for a long time to come. It’s by KitchenAid, which tells you it’s top quality. It will handle four slices at a time, too, which is proof of the efficiency of machines. Bring home a Starbucks or six, and have all the toast you need to go with it.

And now that you’re groaning (or horribly confused) by all the bad puns above, I’ll bring you a bit of relief in the form of the pricetag. The retail value of this fine toaster is $249.99. Cooking.com usually carries it for the frakking great price of $199.99, but right now it’s on sale for a mere $129.99.

Now that’s what I call Adama superfantastic deal!

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Pots and Pans Excite Me

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Le Creuset? A whole lot, as a matter of fact. And that’s why I got so thrilled when I saw this deal at Williams Sonoma on a 6-piece set of the good stuff.

6-Piece Le Creuset Cookware Set The set consists of: a 5 1/2 qt covered Dutch oven, 10″ square grill pan, a 14″ x 10″ baker, and a 3 1/2 qt covered braiser. It’s shown in the Sonoma green color, but if you’re not wild about that, there are eight other colors to choose from, all at the same great price.

What’s the price? Well, the retail value of the set is $990.00, but right now at Williams Sonoma, you can get this amazing set for just $549.95!

Cut Price, Not Cut Rate

My mother always said that with kitchen knives, you get what you pay for. With all due respect to dear old mom who knew a thing or two, I’ve found a case where that wisdom doesn’t hold true.

Wusthof Knife and Scissors set Wusthof knives don’t usually come cheap. What’s more, they’re worth every penny. Mine gets a workout nearly every day, and is in just as good shape now as it was when it was given to me as a wedding gift nearly sixteen years ago.

Right now, though, there’s a superfantastic deal going on at Sur La Table. The set you see above, consisting of a 6″ utility knife and a pair of shears, usually sells for $125.00. If you move quickly, though, you can get the set for just $39.99!

Sorry, Mom, but sometimes you get more than you pay for…even with good knives.

Get Cooking!

Bargain alert! Bargain alert!

Today is a great day to shop at Williams Sonoma. Why? This is why:

LeCreuset 6-piece Cookware Set Williams Sonoma has an exclusive deal with Le Creuset on this incredible six-piece cookware set. The set includes: a 5 1/2qt covered Dutch oven, a 10″ square grill pan, a 14″ x 10″ baker, and a covered 3 1/2qt braiser. That’s enough to get any serious cook off and running!

The retail price for all of that would be a steep $990.00…and it would be worth every penny. But why pay what it’s worth when you can get a great deal? Right now, through this exclusive deal, you can get the whole shebang for just $549.95!

I’m crazy about this lucious, citrussy yellow called ‘Citron,’ but you can have the same deal in eight other fabulous shades, as well. And if the six pieces aren’t enough for you (or you have an extra couple hundred dollars lying around), be sure to check out the nine-piece set and the twelve-piece set.

First You Take a Little Pot….

Friends, I have moved up in the world. A few days ago I put my money where my mouth has been all this time and bought my first ever Le Creuset cooking pot. Here’s the one I got:

Le Creuset 2.75-qt. Enameled Soup Pot, Cobalt Blue Okay, mine is red, but you get the idea. It’s a lovely 2.75qt soup pot. It goes on the stove top or in the oven. And while it’s designed to make soup, it works for a variety of things. I cooked last night’s lentil stew with sausages in it, and not only did everything cook perfectly, clean up was a breeze!

Of course it doesn’t hurt that there’s a hell of a deal on it at Cooking.com. Yes, that’s right, it’s on sale. The regular price is a whopping $164.95, but it’s on sale at just $99.99.

Le Creuset for less than a hundred dollars? I’ll eat to that!

I Could Stand This Deal

As regular readers of this space know, I love good cookware with a passion. I’m an avid baker who appreciates the best tools for the job. That’s why I’ve been a fan of KitchenAid since about the time I was old enough to say the name. If you’re a frequent baker who wants to save dough, have I got a deal for you!

KitchenAid 6-qt. Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer, Licorice
The KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer is the perfect tool to help you bake to your heart’s content. The 6qt. bowl will allow you to mix up to 13 dozen cookies or eight loaves of bread at once! The sturdy construction and powerful motor will last nearly forever, and the handsome finish in your choice of seven colors will look superfantastic in your kitchen all the while.

The mixer comes complete with a burnished aluminum flat beater, a bread dough hook, professional wire whip, and pouring shield. Yes, there are lots of attachments you can get later, but these will get you started nicely.

Of course, all that power and all these features don’t come cheap. They can, however, come at a very good deal. The suggested retail for the stand mixer and basic attachments is $499.99. That’s actually not at all a bad investment for something that will bring you that much pleasure for so many years. But why make a not bad investment when you can make a superfantastic one? Right now, Cooking.com has the Professional 600 series mixer with basic attachments for just $399.95! Save $100.00 and change on a lifetime of great baking experiences? Sign me up!

But wait! There’s more! No, it’s not the incredible Ginzu steak knife. It’s a $50.00 Visa gift card, yours free when you mail in the rebate card that will come with your new mixer. You’ll have to hurry, though. The rebate is only available through December 31, 2008.

Need another reason to act now? How about free shipping on a 30lb professional grade stand mixer? That’s right, this mixer qualifies for free shipping with code C88267.

So, to sum up: a hundred bucks off the top of the price, a fifty dollar gift card to spend as you like, plus free shipping on a thirty pound item…if you love to bake, you can’t afford to pass up a deal like this.

Great Cookware to the Nines

Regular readers of this space already know what I think of Le Crueset enameled cast iron cookware. It conducts heat perfectly, will go from cooktop to oven with ease, looks great on the table, cleans easily, and provides a great iron-pumping workout when being transported. In addition to all of those great features, it’s also some of the sturdiest cookware on the market.

Of course, there is a downside. That would be the fact that the pricetag puts it into the realm of fantasy for many of us.

That’s why this deal at Chef’s Catalog makes me so happy.

Le Crueset 9-Piece Cookware Set The 9-piece set includes: one 3 1/2 qt Dutch oven and lid, one 1 1/4 qt saucepan and lid, one 9″ skillet, one 6 qt stockpot and lid, and one 1 1/2 qt round casserole and lid. The set comes in your choice of the following colors: cherry (as shown), cobalt, or Caribbean.

If you were paying full price for this set, you’d probably shell out some $625.00. The good news is, you’re not going to pay full price. You’re going to head over to Chef’s Catalog and pay the extreme discount price of $399.99! That means you’ll save $225.00.

Spend the savings on a grand feast for all your friends.

Friday Finds Under Fifty: Food-Related Finds

Let’s face it. The economy’s in a mess. The holidays are coming up. The cost of living the superfantastic life isn’t going down anytime soon. And so it is that I’ve decided to add a new feature to the Basement of the Bargains: Friday Finds Under Fifty. Drop by each Friday to see a new set of superfantastic luxury goodies marked down to the sorts of prices you’d expect to pay for not-so superfantastic items. Give them to birthday boys and girls, be generous to new brides and grooms, wrap them and put them under a tree, keep them for yourself…just don’t miss these deals!

For our first article, I thought I’d go seasonal. After all, it’s November. Thanksgiving and a lot of other holidays that lead to big dinners with family and friends are on their way.

Our first deal is from Cooking.com on a beautiful and practical set of baking dishes by Le Creuset:

Le Creuset Baking Dish Set Cherry The set includes one 12″ rectangular baker and one 9″ square. Whether you’re baking a casserole, roasting root vegetables, or making a batch of delicious brownies, you’ll be set. Choose from four different attractive colors to fit your holiday table. The sturdy stoneware is great for oven or microwave and cleans up in a jiffy. It’s also pretty enough to grace any table.

The regular price on this set is $74.95, but right now Cooking.com has it for a mere $49.99.

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