I enjoy sharing products I use with you… knowing when I need a recommendation, I look to a good friend for advice, or do a little online research.
I hope my thoughts on certain brands can count as both friendly-advice and honest online findings.
I’ve always tried to be very selective with the companies I work with and share. Please know, if I don’t really like and use a product, you will not find it on A Spicy Perspective. Earning your trust is important to me, and I wouldn’t squander it for a quick buck.
This year I’ve determined to focus on sharing a select group of companies that I feel truly stand out from their competition. I have hand-picked the brands represented on A Spicy Perspective, from the products I use in my home.
If you were to rummage through my kitchen and pantry, you would find
a big mess that I use the following products over and over because these companies are committed to: excellence, functionality, flavor, and/or durability.
I’m very proud to partner with the following sponsors this year, because they are worth sharing with friends.
Gold Medal Flour
- Created flour specially formulated for baking bread (1920)
- Created Betty Crocker to respond to baking questions (1921)
- Introduced streamlined method of making cakes (1943)
- Revolutionized no-sift flour (1961)
Gold Medal know the best ingredients come from the best cared for land, which is why they buy wheat from the farmers they admire the most. Trusted farmers who have a relationship with Gold Medal grown wheat that meets the highest standards. Gold Medal takes their milling process very seriously as the best way to uphold consistency.
For every style of baker, there is a Gold Medal style of flour. From cake bakers, to pie enthusiasts, to whole wheat supporters, and all that’s in between, Gold Medal has a product for you. Baking is the art of a science. It is your love of the time spent sifting, measuring, folding, kneading, and waiting that keeps Gold Medal flours at their highest quality. Just as your goods are baked with care and dedication, so is Gold Medal flour.
Why I Bake with Gold Medal Flour. You’ve heard the sayings, “Only time will tell” and “It stands the test of time.” Gold Medal has proven for over a hundred years that dedication and mindfulness are the key ingredients to creating a superior quality product.
Over the years, I have tried many brands of flour and have noticed a significant distinction in the texture and overall appeal of Gold Medal Flour. It is consistently fresh and light, producing baked goods with a sweet wheaty taste and fine uniform feel. Gold Medal is always the flour I reach for.
Real California Milk and Real California Cheese
Formed in 1969, the California Milk Advisory Board was created as a vehicle to promote California dairy products to consumers. Over the past four decades, the CMAB has worked hard to drive awareness and demand for California’s wide range of dairy products from milk and cheese to butter, whey and ice cream. As a result of the CMAB’s efforts to promote the delicious and high-quality products produced by the state’s hardworking dairy families, California has become famous for its Happy Cows and its Real California Cheese and Real California Milk seals.
California became the nation’s leading dairy state in 1993, and its 1,700 dairy families continue to set the standard for animal welfare and sustainability practices while working to feed the economy and produce wholesome products that consumers enjoy nationally and internationally.
Why I Prefer California Dairy: So I live in North Carolina and buy California Cheese and Yogurt… Yeah well, the other states that produce lots of cheese are far away too! California sets extremely high standards for their dairy farmers and producers. These standards not only cover quality of ingredients and health-safety, but environmental issues as well. I know when I buy cheeses or yogurt that carries the “Real California Milk” and “Real California Cheese” seals, I’m getting an exceptional product.
Last summer I had the opportunity to meet several California dairy farmers and cheese makers. I was awestruck by: the passion involved in dairy farming, the cleanliness of the farms, the health and care of the animals, and the artistry of cheese making. I have yet to meet a dairy product from California Happy Cows, I didn’t like!
The George DeLallo Company was founded with the ideals of offering true authentic Italian foods with integrity and consistency. In the mid-1940s, Mr. George DeLallo began selling Italian grocery items door-to-door in the immigrant neighborhoods of Western Pennsylvania. In 1954, he and his wife Madeline established a grocery store in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, which specialized in authentic Italian foods. Soon after, they began to develop and sell traditional Italian products under the DeLallo name.
As the years progressed, the retail and wholesale businesses grew. In the 1980s, DeLallo pioneered the olive and antipasti bar concept, which has become a staple of grocery stores around the U.S. and has revolutionized the American consumer’s experience of table olives and antipasti.
Today, DeLallo’s original Jeannette retail store remains a vibrant and beloved part of the community and DeLallo products are distributed throughout the country. Whether it is found on traditional Italian grocery items such as olive oil, pasta, vinegars and tomatoes, or on our complete line of cured olives and antipasti, the DeLallo label guarantees consumers authenticity, integrity, and consistency.
Why I Buy DeLallo Pasta: I have purchased every brand of pasta known to man, looking for a convenient dried pasta that tastes and feels like homemade pasta once cooked. DeLallo is the winner, hands-down. If I’m not making pasta from scratch, DeLallo pasta is always my first choice.
DeLallo still makes authentic quality Italian foods, just like those sold door-to-door at the humble beginnings of their company. DeLallo Organic Pasta comes in an array of shapes and sizes, and they now offer Whole Grain and Gluten Free pastas as well. So I can have pasta any time I want–even on a diet. Thanks DeLallo, for keeping me in my skinny jeans.
Villeroy & Boch
Villeroy & Boch is a brand to be trusted. After all, the company is over 265 years old and an exception in modern industry. It is still family owned – the eighth generation of its founders still actively creating and proudly producing extraordinary tableware designs treasured the world over.
Villeroy & Boch is the largest producer of ceramics, making everything from egg cups to bath tubs. Its dinnerware sets the tables of crowned royalty, households of the rich and famous, renowned restaurants, and is in family homes on every continent. Villeroy & Boch’s passion for dinnerware is reflected through exceptional products that are designed to be with you for a long time. While dinnerware – bone china, porcelain and earthenware — is its mainstay, consumers look to Villeroy & Boch as a total tabletop resource, because it also offers crystal stems and barware, stainless steel flatware and an array of kitchen accessories – many which are designed to complement and accent its dinnerware patterns. With the mantra, quality products improve quality of life, you can rest assured that each piece is as durable as it is well designed. Whether your home decor is modern, classic, trendy or formal, Villeroy & Boch has designs just for you.
Why I Love Villeroy & Boch: First and foremost, I adore Villeroy & Boch because their products are GORGEOUS!
Villeroy & Boch truly has something for everyone, from elegant china trimmed in gold and handmade crystal barware, to sleek modern pieces, and homey farm-style ceramics. I never get tired of looking through their online catalog (and through my personal stash) at the beautiful tableware that helps make every meal special.
My guests ooooh and ahhhh when I pull out the eye-catching serving pieces I have.
Plus, Villeroy & Boch products are well-made and very sturdy. We’ve knocked a plate on the edge of the counter more than once, without a chip or crack. There’s nothing better than decorative eye candy that can stand it’s ground against 8 year old boys.
At Musselman’s, we believe making healthy, delicious apple products is more than just a job. It’s a way of life. We’re committed to preserving the American dream by helping the family farm to prosper, and that’s why the growers who have spent their entire lives nurturing and harvesting apples also own the company. The folks who know apples the best make Musselman’s the best.
Musselman’s products include several varieties of apple sauce, apple butter and premium apple juice. Musselman’s Apple Butter, featured in many recipes on ASpicyPerspective.com, is a surprising “secret ingredient” to sweeten or spice up a dish for delicious new possibilities. Of course, it’s also simply a great-tasting spread.
Musselman’s Apple Butter is made in true Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. Apples, cider and spice are cooked in giant copper kettles with slow, constant stirring for hours, giving the Apple Butter a wonderful caramel color. Musselman’s Apple Butter is “America’s Favorite” and can be found nationwide all-year long. It is non-dairy and can be found in the jam/ jelly aisle. It is fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free and does not contain sodium or preservatives.
Why I Use Musselman’s Products: I discovered Musselman’s Apple Butter, because I had an apple bread recipe I wanted to bake, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of making my own apple butter first. I was surprised at the depth and richness of Musselman’s Apple Butter, without all the preservatives and flavor enhancers most companies add to their canned goods.
I love supporting family businesses that have been around for generations, and continue to hold their purpose and convictions close to heart. Musselman’s supports American farmers as a grower-owned company, meaning each farm-family has a stake in the company. I think that’s pretty impressive! Along with apple butter, Mussselman’s makes apple juice, apple sauce, and vinegar.
For 28 years, Shenandoah Cabinetry has been helping Americans make their homes more comfortable, functional, and stylish. Committed to meeting today’s trends as well as traditional tastes, Shenandoah offers the looks you love and everything you need to design and build the kitchen or bath of your dreams. We support designers and remodelers every step of the way, with friendly customer care professionals and innovative tools on our website.
When you choose Shenandoah Cabinetry, you’re getting great products at a great price. To ensure lasting value, every Shenandoah cabinet is manufactured in the United States, from quality hardwoods harvested from sustainable forests in the Appalachian corridor. Our cabinetry meets the rigorous strength, quality and performance standards set by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA). We also meet their standards for environmentally responsible manufacturing. Shenandoah Cabinetry is available exclusively at Lowe’s.
Why I Remolded with Shenandoah Cabinetry: I live in an 80+ year old home, so renovations are always on my mind. For an older home my kitchen was spacious, yet with peeling laminate cabinetry, it needed a lot of love.
Every time I stopped by Lowe’s, I wandered through the Kitchen Design Center and dreamed about remodeling my kitchen with beautiful hardwood cabinetry and better storage solutions. I noticed Shenandoah Cabinetry right away, because it’s extremely well-made with very competitive prices.
This spring, with the help of Shenandoah, my dream has finally coming true. Come see my beautiful new kitchen!
Land O’Lakes is a farmer-owned cooperative that produces pure, sweet cream that’s churned into Land O’Lakes Butter. For nearly a century, the iconic brand continues to set the standard for quality, creating products that represent simple goodness, while making cooking and baking easier and more enjoyable.
Land O’Lakes Butter Facts:
- Only nationally distributed butter brand
- Only butter brand to offer a convenient, individually wrapped half stick (1/4 cup) size
- Only Land O’Lakes Butter has the FlavorProtect® Wrapper to keep other flavors out and the fresh taste you love in
- Land O’Lakes farm families are real, hardworking families, like yours, who are passionate about producing the freshest, pure sweet cream
Why I Cook with Land O’Lakes Butter: Have you tasted it?!?
If you have, there’s no need to read any further. If you haven’t, you are sorely missing out.
Land O’Lakes Butter tastes so fresh, I honestly can’t tell the difference between Land O’Lakes Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter and home-churned butter… You know, in all the blind-folded butter tasting I’ve been doing.
Land O’Lakes Butter has a sweet clean flavor that enhances every dish it graces. If there was ever a way to elevate warm homemade bread, it would be a creamy shmear of Land O’Lakes whipped butter.
Not only do I think it’s special, it was rated in the top two butter choices by renowned Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. You can’t argue with Christopher Kimball.
OXO began with a few simple questions – Why do ordinary kitchen tools hurt your hands? Why can’t there be wonderfully comfortable tools that are easy to use?
The man who asked these questions was Sam Farber, an entrepreneur in the housewares industry. Noticing that his wife Betsey was having difficulty gripping ordinary kitchen tools due to a slight case of arthritis in her hands, he saw an opportunity to create more comfortable cooking tools that would benefit all users. Sam came out of retirement and approached the design firm Smart Design with that challenge. As part of the initial research that included talking with consumers, chefs and retailers, Patricia Moore, a noted gerontologist, was brought on board to help understand the needs of users with special needs.
After hundreds of models, dozens of design iterations, and extensive research, OXO was born. In 1990, the first group of 15 OXO Good Grips kitchen tools was introduced to the U.S. market. These ergonomically-designed, transgenerational tools set a new standard for the industry and raised the bar of consumer expectation for comfort and performance.
Today, OXO offers over 850 products covering many areas of the home. Each was developed based on the concept of Universal Design (also known as Inclusive Design), a philosophy of making products that are usable by as many people as possible. OXO continues to be dedicated to providing innovative solutions that ease everyday tasks.
Why I Use OXO Products: From my very first cushy OXO veggie peeler, that was part of a kitchen accessory wedding gift, I knew I would be a life-long OXO fan. Especially after using my mom’s rusty metal peeler that left an indention in my hand every time I held it.
OXO tools are comfortable to hold, extremely durable, and affordable. OXO does a superb job of designing kitchen and home goods to make daily life a little easier. I don’t know what I’d do without my OXO flexible cookie flipper or egg beater.
Anytime I think, “Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a _____.” I can pretty much count on finding it on OXO.com. Thanks OXO, for anticipating my every need.
Today, the KitchenAid brand offers virtually every essential for the well-equipped kitchen with a collection that includes everything from countertop appliances to cookware, ranges to refrigerators, and whisks to wine cellars.
Cook for the Cure®, the brand’s partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, is now in its twelfth year and has raised over $9 million to help find a cure for breast cancer.
* Based on a 2012 survey, KitchenAid was found to be the home kitchen appliance brand chosen most often by members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Why I Prefer KitchenAid Products:
Of all the homes we’ve lived in and all the appliances I’ve owned, I believe KitchenAid Appliances are the most reliable. Built with performance and longevity in mind, KitchenAid products last and last. (Longevity being a characteristic many appliance companies have forgotten over the years.)
My first KitchenAid Stand Mixer is now 14 years old and still beats with the best of them. Not too mention, my mother has had her KitchenAid Mixer for over 20 years and it’s still going strong. She also swears by her KitchenAid large appliances.
So I’m thrilled to tell you, this spring I’m selecting brand-spanking-new KitchenAid Appliances for our kitchen renovation. KitchenAid offers cooking appliances with incredibly innovative features like even-heat convection and steam assist technology. I can’t wait to show you!
Founded in 1850, and located in Marcigny, a small town in the province of Burgundy, France, Emile Henry has established a worldwide reputation for manufacturing the finest quality ceramic ovenware, gourmet cooking products, and bakeware products. Still owned and operated by the Henry family, the company today manufactures all of their new cooking products from Burgundy clay using their proprietary High Resistance Oven Ceramic state-of-the-art manufacturing process.
Worldwide, professional chefs and home cooks appreciate Emile Henry for the many products and shapes that are properly designed for cooking and baking. The products have the right dimensions, the correct depth and the special features that make Emile Henry products so desirable for everyone that enjoys cooking and eating great foods. We offer cookware products such as baking dishes and cake stands, and the discerning gourmand will recognize the quality in every loaf pan, casserole dish, stew pot, handcrafted pie dish, trivet, tagine, and brazier we create.
- Burgundy clay evenly and slowly diffuses cooking heat to the very center of the cooking dish. Food is cooked evenly, which brings out the flavors and aromas. Burgundy clay has superior heat retention properties which keep food hot and more flavorsome when resting on the dining table or on a kitchen sideboard.
- All Emile Henry products are direct freezer-to-oven. They exhibit extraordinary thermal shock properties. They go under the broiler and in the microwave.
- Emile Henry products do not chip or crack easily. One can cut directly on the surface without scratching or damaging the product.
- The surfaces do not trap and hold baked on or burnt food. Cleaning is remarkably easy. All Emile Henry products can go in the dishwasher.
- There is no lead or cadmium in our products, all of the glazes meet California Prop 65, and all of the products are 100% food safe. Offered in a large variety of colors, the glazes will not craze, discolor or fade over time.
- All Emile Henry products carry a limited household ten (10) year warranty against breakage due to defective workmanship.
Why I Cook with Emile Henry Cookware: If you haven’t noticed thus far, I do not like to sacrifice form for function… I expect both.
Admittedly, I’m a complicated woman. The practical side of me wants sturdy reliable products that work they way they should. The artistic side of me wants to surround itself with beauty twenty-four hours a day.
With Emile Henry, I get the best of both worlds. These gorgeous ceramic cooking vessels are specially-made to place on the stove top, grill, in the oven, in the freezer, and even in the dishwasher as well. They can stand temperatures up to 930 degrees F and are incredible at defusing heat for low-temperature cooking. I have been extremely pleased with the Emile Henry products I have, and I’m thrilled to share many more with you this year.