Home & Design

Kitchen Cheer

LONELY AND forlorn in the kitchen? We just remembered a few little gadgets and appliances that will get a smile out of you on the dreariest day. Promise.

—Nancy McKeon

Already a friendly classic, the Hug salt-and-peppers were designed in 2002 by Alberto Mantilla. White is salt, black is pepper, and the three dispensing holes in each make up  the characters’ faces. They’re $32 for the pair at the Museum of Modern Art shop.


Talk about friendly faces—though now they seem to come only with black ears. The mini salt and pepper grinders from Chef’n are magnetic so you can keep them nearby for one-handed grinding. The mini pair is $11.95 at Houzz.

I love this cuddly Penguin Sodastream sparkling-water maker. The Penguin model is $199.95 and is exclusive to Williams-Sonoma stores (and online). It comes with two 20-ounce-capacity glass carafes.

In 1990, French designer Philippe Starck sketched a squid and wound up with this now-iconic foot-tall Juicy Salif citrus squeezer, produced by the Italian design company Alessi. It is $105 in the classic polished aluminum, or $85 in white. At Alessi.


This friendly-looking blob, the Elite by Maxi-Matic 3.5-quart Digital Air Fryer, fries with every little oil, also cooks and even bakes. It can handle 2.5 pounds of food per batch. It’s $200 at maxi-matic.


Everyone has a mamma. The Nessie (as in Loch Ness Monster) ladle’s mom is a  colander spoon! Nessie is 2 feet tall, Mamma Nessie is 29 inches tall, and the pair of them, from OTOTO Design, is $29.99 at Animi Causa.



Left: The Francis! Francis! espresso machine made for Illy coffee comes in a pod version (iperEspresso). Retailer Sur la Table has a program, partnered with Illy, to take some of the evil out of all those landfill-hogging used single-serve capsules. The quirky-looking FrancisFrancis!! X1 is $595 at Sur la Table, online only.


Right: There are lots of cute little rice cookers on the market. But this mini from Elite by Maxi-Matic now comes in perky white. It makes 4 cups of rice (and cooks other things besides) and is $50 at maxi-matic.

From the Italian company Alessi, the polished stainless-steel Cheese Please grater, designed to look like a cowbell by Lorenza Bozzoli and Gabriele Chiave, is a bit over 6 inches tall and $65 at the online Alessi shop.

Darn cute, a silicone spoon rest in the shape of, hmm, a raviolo. It’s $15.99 at Animi Causa.

Richard Sapper based the design of his Todo giant cheese grater on the idea that one sweep of the chunk of Parmesan cheese down the length of the conical grater would be enough for a single portion. Made of stainless steel and wood for the Italian design company Alessi, the 18-inch-tall Todo now costs $105 at Bloomingdales.


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