Kitchen Essentials

by Russ Parsons & Amy Scattergood
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From the L.A. Times

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Value is a relative concept. Just ask the folks at Lehman Brothers. But when it comes to ingredients and kitchen tools that beckon to the enthusiastic home cook, it's important to the bottom line -- in this case, a great meal -- to take a look at what's really worth your hard-earned cash -- and what isn't.

We scrutinized our kitchens and the merchandise. Our thumbs-up, thumbs-down verdicts on a couple of dozen popular or hyped cooking items follow. No apologies – we're opinionated. Some gadgets and goodies are grossly overvalued, others just don't get their due. We considered cost, efficacy and practicality – as well as the happiness factor. Because for a true chocoholic, a 3.5-ounce bar of Michel Cluizel Noir de Cacao 72% cacao really is worth $6.

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