Microwave Oven Sales in U.S. Finally Back to Pre-Recession Levels

Microwave Oven Sales in U.S. Finally Back to Pre-Recession Levels

According to the data aggregating company, Statista, annual U.S. shipments of microwave ovens, which totaled nearly 14 million units in 2005 and 2006, languished between 9 and 10 million units from 2009 to 2014. This caused anthropologists to question whether Americans’ infatuation with this modern marvel was on the wane. Healthcare professionals held out hope that the decline signaled a shift toward healthier, fresher foods. Appliance industry experts pointed to a slowdown in technical innovation, coupled with improved reliability and longer useful lives for nearly all appliances. Construction experts attributed the decline in microwave oven sales to the significant drop in new home construction during the protracted recession and slow recovery. Their assessment is likely spot on.

But in 2015, microwave oven shipments jumped more than 20% in the U.S., to just below 12 million, prompting the question whether it was a one-time blip or a longer-term firming of demand. Statista’s projections suggest the latter, as the firm expects U.S. shipments will range between 11.5 and 12 million in 2016 and 2017 – in line with 2007 and 2008. New home construction will drive sales of built-in units; whereas innovations in smart appliance and wireless technologies are expected to drive sales of countertop models.

According to the International Houseware Association, a microwave oven can be found in more U.S. households (96%) than can any other home appliance.

IHA reports only two other items rank above 90% in household penetration: clothes irons (95%) and ironing boards (91%). Electric coffee makers (84%) and blenders (82%) round out the Appliance Top 5.

Since over half of the microwave ovens sold each year are countertop models, kitchen carts are also experiencing higher demand. Butcher Block Co. (website: https://butcherblockco.com), a leading e-tailer of kitchen furniture and accessories, indicates sales of microwave oven carts, in particular, are on the rise. Butcher Block Co.’s VP of Marketing and Operations, Kathleen Grodsky, says “John Boos butcher block carts and Catskill Craftsmen hutch-style microwave oven carts are top sellers. A cart proves most valuable when you don’t have space on kitchen counters to store small appliances such as microwave ovens. Drop-leaf carts are also perennial favorites. Homemakers love their versatility. They don’t take up much floor space day in and day out, yet they provide valuable extra work space whenever it’s needed.”

About Butcher Block Co. – BBC sells countertops, plus kitchen carts, islands and tables, as well as butcher block cutting boards, kitchen knives and knife blocks. Its top-selling kitchen cart brands include John Boos, Catskill Craftsmen, Chris & Chris and Oasis Concepts.

For more information please visit: https://butcherblockco.com

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

Walnut Butcher Block – Bring the Trend Home

Walnut Butcher Block – Bring the Trend Home

Over the last several months, we have seen a substantial increase in orders of Walnut butcher block products. The popularity of Walnut butcher block has been growing steadily for years, but the recent sales indicate this trend has really taken off! So, what’s got people so excited about Walnut? To put it simply: it’s gorgeous! Walnut butcher block has the ability to look both modern and rustic, making it a versatile material that can be used in just about any room of your home.

Whether you lean toward traditional country, sleek minimalism, or ornate details, Walnut butcher block can fit in beautifully with your style.

Let’s start small with countertop cutting boards. A Walnut butcher block cutting board is not only functional, it adds a pop of color and style to your kitchen. Because of their good looks, Walnut cutting boards and chopping blocks also double nicely as serving boards. Can’t you just picture an array of fabulous cheeses laid out on one of these beauties?

Walnut Butcher Block

If you are looking for more prep space than a cutting board will provide, consider adding a stunning Walnut butcher block island or cart to your kitchen. This is a great way to bring in some warmth and usable space if you’re not quite ready to remodel the whole kitchen. A Walnut butcher block island, table, or cart will add a fine furniture look to your home.

Walnut Butcher Block

If you are ready to remodel the whole kitchen, or if you just want to update an existing island or countertop, we have Walnut butcher block countertops available in a wide variety of sizes, and can customize to your specific size or shape if needed. Available in End, Edge, and Blended Grains, you are sure to find a look that fits your personal style. With its rich beauty, Walnut butcher block also stuns in other rooms of your home, from the office to the laundry room.

Walnut Butcher Block

If you would like to squeeze a little Walnut into your life, check out our selection of beautiful products, or give us a call and let us know what you’re looking for. We are thrilled to offer such a gorgeous collection of Walnut butcher block pieces for your home. This is one trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so jump on board with us!

Space Saving with Clever Kitchen Carts

Space Saving with Clever Kitchen Carts

Now that it’s spring and you are hopefully starting to defrost, it’s time to throw open the windows, air the place out, and get a fresh start! Getting the kitchen into tip-top shape is a great way to kick off the season.

We’ve got plenty of space saving innovation packed into these clever kitchen carts!

I’m going to start off with what will hopefully be the next addition to my own kitchen: a Microwave Cart! I will most likely end up with this little number form Catskill Craftsmen; it is the perfect size for my petite kitchen and will add some much-needed enclosed storage (keeping my new kittens out of my mixing bowls!) and allow me to bring the microwave down from on top of the fridge.

Space Saving

Another favorite from Catskill is the Grand Island Wine Cart with Drop Leaf. This space saving cart features a deep drawer to store your tools, a 6-bottle wine rack, a towel bar, and a drop leaf that adds 10” of extra work space when you need it. Rolling in on locking casters, this handy cart doubles as a mobile wine and cheese party!

Space Saving

If your space saving needs involve more spice bottles than wine bottles, we’ve got you covered there, too! Several options come with built-in spice racks to keep the flavor at your fingertips. With attached knife blocks, all of your tools can be right at hand.

Space Saving

The Deluxe Culinary Cart from John Boos & Co. is Space Saving the perfect space saving solution for the serious baker or cook. This cart comes with a knife holder, towel peg, tool drawer, and drop leaf. The most impressive part, though, is the attached power strip. On one handy work station, you can prep all your ingredients to throw in your stand mixer, food processor, or blender! When you’re finished being an expert chef, tuck your appliances underneath on the lower shelf and roll the whole setup out of the way!

Chris & Chris utilizes their Chop and Drop system to make food prep and cleanup a breeze! A small hole in the butcher block chopping surface allows you to slide your chopped produce or meat trimmings into a hidden stainless steel pan to keep your work area clutter free. This nifty little system is also great for collecting juices for gravy when you’re carving up your delicious roast! The Chop and Drop system is definitely a unique and incredibly useful feature, but what I really love is how much function they manage to squeeze into these carts! There are shelves, towel bars, spice racks, utensil hooks, drawers, built-in granite pastry slabs, and more. Everything you need to prep your meal from start to finish is right there in one multi-purpose cart!

Space Saving

A post about space saving would never be complete without talking about the Oasis Concepts Flip & Fold carts, tables, and desks. The Flip & Fold system is truly remarkable. In just a few seconds you can go from having a full sized workstation to rolling your compacted cart into that little 6” gap next to the fridge. These carts come fully assembled and ready to use; all you have to do is unfold and get to work! Oasis Concepts doesn’t just focus on kitchen carts, either; they manufacture a full line of affordable dining tables and desks as well. I’m thinking this Cherry Red desk would be an awesome addition to my office for when I’m working on a project with my son. I have several friends and relatives who are into gaming, and one or two of these tables would be the perfect way to make space for having friends over – just unfold and throw the laptops down and you’re ready to go (please don’t actually throw anyone’s laptop – that is a real good way to lose friends).

Space Saving I find our lineup of space saving kitchen carts pretty impressive. What do you think? Do you have any helpful hints for those of us with small kitchens? We’d love to hear them!

Get Organized and Stay That Way!

Get Organized and Stay That Way!

Now that you’re used to the idea of it being 2014 (I’m just assuming you’re not still writing “2013” on everything like I am), it’s time to start making good on those resolutions!

Now is a great time to get your kitchen organized in a way that makes sense for your life.

While the aesthetic of an organized kitchen is highly desirable, don’t just focus on putting things away to make the space look nicer – the key to staying organized is to set up a system that is logical, one that will be easy to maintain and will help your kitchen be more functional. We’ve been keeping track of our top sellers and best storage solutions to help you get your kitchen in tip-top shape.
Our best-selling butcher block table of the year is the John Boos Classic Country Work Table. This customizable table ranges in sizes from 36”x24” up to 60”x36”, comes in a variety of colors, and offers optional drawers, baskets, and shelves to meet your needs. This is a beautiful solution to the everyday cook’s organizational dilemmas. No wonder it was our top seller!

classic-country-kitchen-island-white organized

So many options to cater to your tastes

If you love to bake as much as you love to cook, check out the Pro Chef Prep Station, which comes with a granite inset for rolling out dough. This unique work center comes with wire baskets for stowing produce or towels, a slatted shelf for your mixing bowls and canisters, and a side rack for spices and utensils. A stainless steel pan is placed under a cut-out in the butcher block surface to catch scraps, juices, and waste for easy clean-up. This versatile workstation also features a large utility drawer with built-in knife storage.

Organized Pro Chef Prep Station

Look at all that storage!

Are you always trying out new recipes and staying on the cutting edge of technology? Well, John Boos has created the perfect addition for your kitchen: the iBlock. Available in Maple, Walnut, and Cherry, this handy little guy doubles as a cutting board and tablet holder. The iBlock comes with protective sleeves so you don’t get your tablet messy while you whisk and watch cooking shows at the same time!

iblock-cutting-board-with-stand

Keep your tablet handy without worrying about the mess

If entertaining or wine-and-cheese nights are more your style, Catskill Craftsmen has created the ultimate kitchen helper for you – the Portable Wine Island. This lovely cart can store 15 bottles of the good stuff and has a stemware rack for glasses up to 8” tall. This hardwood island also features an enclosed cabinet with an adjustable shelf, ample storage in a utility drawer, and two towel bars. The best part may just be the locking casters, though. You can prep all your hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen then roll the whole cart out for service in the dining room or on the patio.

Organized Wine Island

Entertain with ease with the Portable Wine Island

Now that we’ve introduced you to some of our most popular and helpful products, it’s time to get into gear and get your kitchen ready for a new year full of cooking, baking, experimenting, and entertaining! What has been the best addition to your kitchen? Do you have plans to get organized for the new year?

Butcher Block Care – Spring Cleaning Tips

Butcher Block Care – Spring Cleaning Tips

The weather is getting nicer, tulips are peeking up through the ground and I am reminded that it really is springtime – even though we still hear of snow storms across the country!  This means it is time for “spring cleaning”!  I may be an odd duck, but I actually find cleaning to be a bit cathartic.  When I am stressed I end up cleaning my kitchen to feel better. Maybe it is a control-thing.  Please tell me I am not the only one who feels this way?

So I thought it an appropriate time to share some butcher block care and cleaning tips for your kitchen.  My close friend, who spends a lot of time cooking and baking, was really surprised to hear that plastic cutting boards are less sanitary than wood cutting boards.  This learning has been blogged about and shared online for many years.  But if you have never heard of it, or need to be reminded of it again, here is the scoop.

For a long time it was believed that wood butcher blocks and cutting boards were more likely to harbor dangerous levels of bacteria; given that wood is porous, it would soak up juices from raw meats, allowing bacteria to seep down into the board. And this bacteria could pose a risk of contaminating the next food item placed on the cutting board. Plastic, because it is non-porous, was believed to be resistant to this bacterial invasion.

While it may not be entirely clear, research has shown that wood boards were actually more sanitary than the plastic boards.  It is believed that bacteria can get lodged in the nicks and gouges that form on a plastic cutting board.  High quality wood butcher blocks – made from Hard Rock Maple and other premium hardwoods – are more resistant to this type of knife damage.  Additionally, the wood used to construct these butcher block countertops, kitchen islands, kitchen carts, and cutting boards appears to have natural germ-killing properties which are not present in plastic!

Enough of the technical stuff, now for a few Quick Tips for Butcher Block Care:

  • Separate your FoodThe Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends using one cutting board for fresh produce and a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood to prevent cross-contamination.  We agree!
  • Wash Immediately – After use, always wash your cutting boards or chopping block with hot soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
  • Sanitize – Especially after exposure to raw meat. It is pretty easy to use 1 Tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. If you prefer, use straight white vinegar instead of diluted bleach solution.
  • Dry – Set cutting boards on edge to air dry completely.
  • Oil  – Once a month use a food-grade mineral oil like John Boos Mystery Oil or Beeswax Board Cream

At ButcherBlockCo we like to tout the many benefits of hardwood cutting boards and butcher blocks, and being more sanitary than plastic is one of our favorites.

Have fun cleaning!

 
Kitchen Fitness: Use it or Lose it!

Kitchen Fitness: Use it or Lose it!

Having grown up in a gourmet kitchen store, I have a fabulous collection of kitchen essentials. Unfortunately, I have a mass of non-essentials, too! I need to focus on my kitchen fitness!! Honestly, who really needs six whisks of the same style?

The new year brought a new home with a smaller kitchen and, let me tell you, this kitchenware collector did not adjust well! For a solid month we lived with pans literally stacked on the floor, utensils pouring out of boxes, and a butcher block table so overloaded with stuff I couldn’t even use it! After stubbing my toe on a cast iron skillet for the 27th time, I’d had enough. I painstakingly went through every piece of cookware, bakeware, gadgetry, and appliance and whittled my way down to a manageably fit kitchen.

A few of the more ridiculous things I ousted:

  • Five whisks (kept four!)
  • Three 8” fry pans. THREE!!
  • Two nasty 12” skillets
  • Two garlic presses
  • A brand new ravioli rolling pin (why??)
  • Two identical carrot ribboning tools (why I even had one is beyond me)

A few things I can’t live without:

  • Counter-space-hogging espresso machine
  • Super quality cookware and knives
  • Silicone spatulas (colorful AND functional!)
  • My KitchenAid mixer
  • Quality cutting boards
  • Cake pans (endless uses!)
  • Cheese graters (yes, plural – don’t judge.)

And a few things I WON’T live without:

  • Vita-Mix blender – Don’t use this enough to justify the hefty price tag, but it’s magic!
  • All 22 of my wonderful German knives (seven are steak knives – it’s not that excessive!) –I use about four of them regularly, but they’re all in one block, so getting rid of some won’t save me any space!
  • My 23-year-old gigantic Scanpan “witch’s cauldron.” I have used it exactly two times, but it’s the bee’s knees and holds 9.5 quarts of stew AND 23 years worth of family memories.
  • Absurd (someone said that!) amounts of cookware. After getting rid of about a dozen pans, I still have a full pot rack (excellent addition to a small kitchen, by the way) and then some.

Clearly I have a hard time letting go of things I might possibly-some-day-in-the-distant-future use (looking at you, pasta machine). Getting rid of some of my unnecessities, however, made me appreciate the value behind the pieces I kept. I can do just as much with a simple set of tongs, spatulas, and bamboo spoons as I could with the multiple boxes of utensils I chucked (donated, don’t worry).

before & after

Moral of this story is that investing in quality multi-tasking pieces not only makes sense financially, but will improve your kitchen fitness. Plus you end up with space to keep the occasional frivolous purchase (*cough* individual instant popsicle makers).

You know that feeling when you clean out your closet and it’s like you have a whole new wardrobe with room for new boots? It’s like that. So next time you throw a spatula in frustration because its fat rubber handle won’t fit into your utensil crock, do yourself a favor and get your kitchen fit!

What are your must-haves for the kitchen?