How One of our Editors is Staying Warm This Winter

In Boston, where America’s Test Kitchen is located, the winters can get pretty chilly. The trick to staying cozy is getting the day started right.

"I like to stay home with my wife and my dog, brew a pot of hot coffee, and cook a delicious breakfast. This week I’m sharing all the equipment I use at home on these inevitable chilly weekend mornings. First, I love our coffee maker. It consistently brews flavorful, well-balanced coffee. For delicious breakfast recipes, check out one of the many courses offered by our online cooking school. I’m especially fond of our course on Bakery-Style Pastries—who doesn't want to learn to make buttery, flaky croissants?—but with hundreds of classes, you're sure to find the one that's right for you. There’s nothing better than a delicious meal with the people (and animals) you love while the snow drifts down outside. Stay warm this winter!"

  • Carolyn Grillo, Assistant Editor, Tastings & Testings

This basket-style tea strainer had the biggest capacity in our testing, equivalent to 13.5 tablespoons—more than enough for good water circulation. With a 2.5-inch opening, it was easy to fill and clean. And its tightly woven mesh basket kept even the finest leaves out of the finished tea. As a bonus, it has a top that can also be used as a saucer, holding the basket and catching any drips after or between infusions.  More on this test

Lightweight and easy to fill with its wide opening, good interior visibility, and handle that folds out of the way, this kettle was pleasant to use and has a generous capacity. Its whistle is assertive, its grippy handle is comfortable, and its spout has a gentle curve that lends itself to smooth pouring. It survived abuse tests with only the faintest dents, and the brushed-steel surface was easy to clean. A quibble: The lever on the whistling spout cover is stiff and snappy, and the pointy hinge underneath the lever sometimes poked our fingers when closing the spout. Also, it is not induction-compatible.  More on this test

This hard-anodized aluminum griddle heated and cooled quickly and did a good job of cooking eggs and pancakes; burgers were seared nicely, though they didn't get quite as thick a crust as they did on other models. It was one of the roomiest in the lineup, giving us plenty of space to cook, and its upright handles and light weight made it easy to lift and maneuver. With walls over 1 inch tall, the griddle contained most grease spatters, limiting flare-ups. A durable nonstick coating ensured that food didn't stick to the surface and made cleanup easy.  More on this test

With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.  More on this test

Coming in a variety of useful sizes that nest for compact storage, our winning set performed ably on almost every test. Its wide, shallow bowls were easy to hold, fill, empty, and clean. They can be used in the microwave and the oven. While the bowls in this set were the only ones to break when dropped, the heaviness of the glass with which they’re made makes it unlikely that they’ll easily fly off the counter.  More on this test

Featuring a six-point dial for customizing waffle doneness, this waffle maker quickly and consistently turned out two perfect waffles at a time, each with a crisp, evenly browned exterior and custardy interior. With indicator lights on both sides of the waffle maker and a loud audible alert, it was easy to tell when each waffle was done. Weighing nearly 10 pounds and measuring over 20 inches tall with the lid up, this model was by far the biggest and heaviest of those tested—but that extra bulk ensured stability and durability. Two minor flaws: the lack of a removable drip tray and the shortness of the handle, on which hot condensation tended to accumulate.   More on this test

These precut parchment sheets, which come in a large plastic zipper-lock bag, are the only ones in our lineup that are stored completely flat. They're also sized just right to slide easily into a standard rimmed baking sheet, although we did have to use two overlapping sheets when rolling jelly roll cakes into coils. Their superior convenience made them the runaway favorite. Don't let the purchase price distract you: The per-sheet cost falls squarely in the middle of our lineup.  More on this test

Our longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full. Even after brutal whacking on concrete, this model emerged with only tiny dents inside and one slight dent on the bottom, and it still sat flat on the counter.  More on this test

This light, smooth bamboo spoon was broad enough to churn bulky stews, yet small enough to rotate a single chunk of beef without disturbing surrounding pieces. Its rectangular handle was comfortable to grip; its head had the most surface area in contact with the pan, so it excelled at scraping fond. Stain-resistant, it emerged after testing looking closest to new.  More on this test