A Good Place to Cook Up Wedding Gift Ideas

Times Staff Writer

In the market for a wedding present? Try something for the couple’s kitchen, which is always a great source for potential gift ideas. Varying in price range, the item could be anywhere from a nifty culinary gadget such as a small lemon reamer to a major appliance--an upscale noise-free dishwasher, for instance.

The duplication problem of ending up with a bridal present that stands the chance of becoming a candidate for store return or exchange may be avoided by providing an unusual but useful gift. Kitchen Whiz from Seiko Instruments is a brand new product that fits the needs of experienced and novel cooks, particularly dieters and those who adapt recipes from publications.

For the record:
12:00 AM, Apr. 06, 1989 Kitchen Cabinet
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 6, 1989 Home Edition Food Part 8 Page 42 Column 1 Food Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Column; Correction
In last week’s column, the toll-free number for acquiring information on Seiko Instruments’ Kitchen Whiz recipe conversion calculator was incorrectly provided. The correct number is (800)-873-4568.

More Than a Calculator

Nicely packaged, Kitchen Whiz ($59.95) is a recipe conversion calculator and more. The first of its kind, the invention was based on an original design by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My first impression of this electronic device was that it seemed complicated to operate. But once directions were read (they were rather easy to comprehend by the way), the operation was surprisingly simple. The only requirement is to remember the techniques, which become easier through frequent use; otherwise it’s just as easy to go over directions again.


With the touch of a few buttons, you can program and convert to the desired number of servings from a larger or smaller recipe. Each ingredient can be reduced or increased proportionally with a simple formula. Other applications of the tool include controlling meal portions (which is terrific for dieters), converting recipes from metric to English weights and measures, computing cooking times for roasts and converting temperatures.

The Kitchen Whiz also acts as a food preparation timer with a beep, a clock, a calendar and to say the least, a mathematical calculator. Unlike other calculators, the numerical figures and words in the washable key pad are easy to read and sensitive to the touch. Equally legible is the display screen with 8-digit, 12-character dot matrix. The computer measures 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 1 1/2 and is fitted with a special bar on the back for propping on a countertop or hanging on the wall. The Kitchen Whiz operates on two size AA batteries and comes with a full one-year warranty. For more information on the product, call Seiko Instruments’ toll-free number: (800) 837-4568.

Not an uncommon bridal gift is a set of cookware. For everyday cooking, particularly by those interested in low-fat dishes, nonstick cookware has fared very well in the past several years. Among the lines that have been successful is T-Fal. Attractive, lightweight and good heat conductors with its aluminum base, T-Fal nonstick cookware sets feature porcelain enameled pans in a variety of colors with heat resistant handles. The custom-fitted stainless steel covers are equipped with adjustable safety steam-vented cover knobs to help prevent boil-overs.

The latest from this French-based company is the Classic Series ($70 for an eight-piece set), featuring an elegant pewter gray and etched trim look. The outside has a special nonstick coating too for even quicker cleanups.


Gift of Cookware

Introduced last fall is the Versailles line ($90 for an eight-piece set) in the prettiest, brightest cobalt blue. Each piece features “Ultrabase,” an exclusive formulation from T-Fal that consists of three exterior layers: an outside porcelain enamel layer, a second thermic layer for heat distribution and a close contact layer for perfect contact on heat sources such as the newer ceramic cooktops. The interior features a nonstick surface that has improved resistance to scratches, abrasions and staining.

Also available are the Durabase Royale Black ($70 for eight pieces), with high-tech black porcelain and reinforced bottom surfaces, and the premiere Signature collection ($80 for eight pieces). The latter is Euro-designed in handsome dove gray with white accent. Each T-Fal cookware set is available in colorful gift packaging. Open stock pieces are available and different series may also include a Dutch oven, chicken fryer, griddle, an oblong roaster or a wok.

Handmade Block Sets

If you admire Corian countertops, you easily could fall for a Corian and Oak Knife Block Set ($519) from Kitchen Kitchen in Rancho Mirage. This beautiful block set includes a complete set of J. A. Henckels white Professional Series knives and sharpening steel plus a pair of Henckels shears. Phil Carter, owner of this desert specialty shop, designed the set and had them handmade by a Corian craftsman. He says: “The white-handled knives look out of place in an ordinary oak block, but absolutely come alive in the Corian block. The black-handled ones are also very attractive in it, especially when the kitchen has black appliances.” After designing the block, Carter has gotten positive responses from decorators as well as from people who have the Corian tops in their kitchens.

The block itself ($195) is usually available in Corian white with oak striping but can be specially ordered in a different Corian finish. For more information call (619) 568-0620.

The Seiko Instruments Kitchen Whiz will soon be available at Home Express, Arrowhead Business Machines, Buffum’s, Federated, The Sharper Image and Long’s Drugs.

The T-Fal cookware sets are available at Robinson’s and May Co and some specialty gourmet shops.


The Corian and Oak Knife Block Set is available at Kitchen Kitchen (Rancho Mirage).