The Pampered Chef is a company similar to Mary Kay where people come to your house and host a party selling their wares, but it's even more like Tupperware because the focus is selling items for the kitchen. I have only had two experiences with Pampered Chef, only one included a party. The other was someone handing me a catalog. Do you know where the products are that I purchased from the catalog? Me either.I suspect they're buried deep in a drawer because they weren't very useful when I brought them home. Do you know where the item I bought at the party is? Believe it or not, the cookbook is right beside me. . .but not for long.
I wish to point out that although my experiences with Pampered Chef were not positive, many people like their kitchen items. And as someone who likes kitchen gadgets, I totally identify with the thrill of the search for the latest tool to make kitchen life more fun. I recognize that tastes differ and welcome comments to this blog affirming gadgets--even from Pampered Chef.
My opinion of most of the products is that the time the user allegedly saves by having the product is offset by the cost of the item, the lack of speed in cleaning the item, and the food wasted by using the item. (And what was that New Year's Resolution regarding wasting less food?)
My beef is with a specific product, the "It's Good for You" 128 page cookbook for $14.75 with only 63 recipes in it. The recipes focus on low fat, low cholesterol, and low calorie foods. I was far beyond disappointed by the book for numerous reasons. Firstly, the book is written as nothing more than an advertisement for how to use Pampered Chef items. A step in the hummus recipe tells you to pour your dip into Simple Additions Small Bowl, a fancy serving bowl that comes in a set of two for $16. One of my favorite recipes (for writing, not for flavor) mentions 10 Pampered Chef tools down to which specific pan (Square Baker to use to cut the recipe in half and which knife (Utility Knife) to use when cutting the brownies. The recipe is so poorly written that I am thrown off by which objects I am supposed to use in the creation of the dessert and am not focusing on the ingredients in the dessert. The book reads like it is meant to be used by an individual who has never stepped foot in a kitchen.
Another recipe makes shrimp with pasta in a white sauce. A note in the margin cautions that shrimp is actually a high-cholesterol food, but with careful planning for the rest of the day, the dish is still an acceptable dinner meal. Perhaps I am more annoyed by this recipe because I see too much heart disease at work and know there are many people who don't plan their meals carefully.
Beef 1 The book makes you feel like you can't cook without the other tools The Pampered Chef sells.
Beef 2 The recipes are difficult to follow with all the bold lettering highlighting the Pampered Chef product needed for the recipe.
Beef 3 The book is poorly named--even misleading. The shrimp recipe is not really "good for you," but is only healthy in moderation. Also, with all the additives in "reduced fat" and "fat free" items, the recipes are not "good for you," rather healthier depending on your priorities and even on recommendations from your physician.
Beef 4 The book might be better suited as a give-away. The price is ridiculous for the number of recipes and for the lack of taste and value in the food. My "Moosewood Cooks at Home" cookbook has at least three times the recipes and costs around $10 less! (The Moosewood cookbook is $1 cheaper, but Pampered Chef adds tax and shipping and handling.)
In search of positives, I will point out that the cookbooks all appear to come spiral-bound, which is nice. And, I enjoyed getting together with friends for the party. Sometimes, a get-together is worth any price paid for junk.