CHICAGO — The semi-annual 85th International Housewares Show held recently in Chicago's McCormick Place produced a monstrous display of new gourmet products and recent modifications of old hot-selling small household appliances and other products for the home.
A first-timer at the show but staging a full-blast presentation was Philips Home Products, which just opened the U. S. market for a sleek-looking line of small appliances. Positioned to appeal to an upscale market, the range of European-style white appliances from Philips in Holland includes coffee makers, espresso makers, tea makers, automatic kettles and juicers, cool-to-touch toasters, food mixers, food processors and ice cream makers. One attraction was the Kitchen Machine ($250), a versatile four-in-one appliance. By using different attachments, the machine can be used as a mixer for cakes or bread dough, a blender, a food processor and even a meat grinder. The attachments snap on and off the main unit without screws or bolts.
Another Philips introduction is the sleek, compact electric ice cream maker ($100) that has a cooling disc and therefore eliminates the use of ice and salt. The disc requires freezing before operating but doesn't take up much space in the freezer.
A larger bowl (1 1/2-quart capacity) and convenient handles on the bowl container are the selling points in two other new ice cream makers: Salton's Big Chill ($49.95) and Nordic Ware's Supremer Ice Creamer ($49.95). The units do not use electricity, ice or salt, but the chill bowl has to be frozen for at least seven hours.
In pursuit of the success of ice cream makers, ice cream cone makers have resurfaced. Tara Products Corp. came up with the Cone Factory ($15), a four-piece kit of grid and cone molds. The idea is to precook the batter on the grid in the microwave to a semisolid state, then roll it around the mold where it will harden into a cone shape.
To expand its ice cream maker line, Nordic Ware also introduced a stovetop ice cream cone maker ($32). In addition to cones, the heavy aluminum iron with a delicate scroll design makes krumkakes, a light crisp Scandinavian cookie.
Ever dreamed of non-stick glass bakeware? Corning Glass Works has finally come up with such a product in the form of Clear Advantage ($4.17 to $12.16, depending on size) in its Pyrex line. Available in various sizes , the microwave-suitable bakeware has a clear "Invis-Clean" coating for quick release and easy cleanup.
If you can't beat them, join them. And that's just what Farberware, long known for its quality stainless steel stovetop cookware, did when it expanded to the microwave market and brought out a stain-resistant microwave cookware set ($39.99 for a 10-piece set). Designed in contemporary pearl gray and charcoal, the deluxe set consists of three casseroles with handles, cooking lids, storage covers as well as bacon and roast racks.
Other developments from Farberware include the Extendable Can Opener, which lifts into an extended position for tall coffee, juice or shortening cans ($29.99) and, in addition to its roast-and-serve stainless steel line, the new rectangular roaster with rack ($29.99) and roaster with high cover ($66.99).
The universal problem of uneven toasting has been solved in Proctor-Silex's Electronic Toaster, which has nine digital settings for the shade of toast desired. Another feature is there's no waiting for cool-down between toasting.
Small seems to be "in" among the new coffee makers as the number of smaller households gets bigger. Since large-size versions are not designed to brew one to two cups, small servings often lack flavor. A tiny contribution from Black & Decker is its "Cup-at-a-Time" drip coffee maker ($26.98), which brews coffee directly into one mug (up to 12 ounces). It also doubles as a hot-water dispenser for tea, hot chocolate, soups.
A similar concept is the Maxim Bellhop 2 ($35), a compact electric water boiler with coffee brew-and-serve kit for two (seven-ounce) servings. The Bellhop 1 ($27) is a compact water boiler for making hot beverages; it boils 16 ounces of water faster than a microwave oven.
Another small but mighty entree from Black & Decker is its compact Flamebuster Kitchen Fire Extinguisher ($24.98). Easily grabbed by one hand, the lightweight cylinder uses Halon, a powerful vapor that works on grease, fat, electrical, small trash and paper fires. Styled in white, the unit stores in its own wall-mount housing.
An attractive bar-set collection was introduced by National Housewares of Towle Manufacturing Co. Created exclusively for Towle by designer Edgar Watkins, the collection of ice bucket, serving tray, double old-fashioned and highball glasses has a palm-tree pattern with bright pinks, greens and yellows on a crisp white background.