2010 International Home + Housewares Show Review – A Real Eye Opener

My companion, Tish, was a new attendee to this year’s 2010 International Home + Housewares Show. She had never been to a show of this kind.  Each year at the end of winter in Chicago, a winter that always has lasted too long, the home show comes to Chicago bringing a spring-like feeling with new products, new colors, and new ideas.  The vast array of items in categories such as Bathroom and Personal Care, Gourmet and Specialty Foods, Furniture, Personal Care Electrics/Home Healthcare, was a real eye opener and at times overwhelming. It was easy to be distracted by demonstrations and/or food and drink samples while trying to find specific items.

First stop, Dave Phillips demonstrated Mario Batali sauces

Tish’s “new eyes” and positive comments put the show into a different perspective such that I saw it from a fresh point of view.  She was amazed by the size of the McCormick Place facility and the vast array of products displayed.  She especially noted that items were present from all over the world and tended to emphasize their  “greenness” either in the production by using recycled materials or in their intended use.  For example the Wellnessmats are green because they have a seven-year guarantee and don’t need frequent replacement.  We also noted these mats really energized our tired legs and feet giving us a boost for continued exploration.  There was an emphasis on goods made in the U. S., green items and the color orange seemed to pop up everywhere.

The heart of the show

Displays were very attractive, colorful and appealing.  It was clean and well managed. Fortunately, security was well placed and alert because as we went to register, Tish slipped on some spilled liquid and immediately someone appeared and made sure she was OK and that it was cleaned up.  Guards and guides were everywhere and were pleasant and helpful.

Tish asking Kevin Perkins questions at the Tramontina Booth

There was a lot of coffee-everywhere.  Even when the display item wasn’t a coffee maker, there was coffee.

We began our tour by choosing five items the interested us. While finding our way to them we were pulled in every direction by food demonstrations mostly but also by the colorful displays and intriguing products.

Tish at the Bialetti booth

Tish was interested in a company whose product she knew well, having been introduced to it by her Italian sister-in-law.  Bialetti is from Italy and makes espresso coffee pots for the stovetop, sauté pans and more.

The Zyliss opener I was looking for

I was interested in Zyliss.  I had recently visited long-standing friends who live in Corvallis, Oregon and when the lady of the house pulled out a jar opener, I loved it and asked where it was from. She didn’t remember and we noted the name. I planned to check it online but had not done so and was delighted to see it on display at the Zyliss booth along with many other user friendly, attractive kitchen items.

At one booth it was the packaging that demanded our attention.  The product was a dip mix, delicious it is true, but the packaging is what pulled us over.

Foxy's Gourmet from Toronto

With Chicago’s dark winters we were interested in Verilux's full spectrum lighting and intrigued by how light can be used to clean.

And there was the perfect travel computer, Netbook by GCM "The Internet Warrior".  Small, functional and inexpensive, it was something I knew I needed.


We noted a very busy area that seemed to be the heart of the show. Famous chefs were rotating and demonstrating cooking techniques. And signed books with recipes by famous Chicago  chefs were being sold in this section.

Cook books written by famous Chicago chefs

Looking everywhere and stopping frequently, we barely made a dent in viewing the products and covering the range of displays but we did go into each section.  Tired,  we left with Tish amazed at all she had seen, the good food she had tasted, and the vastness of the show.  What will next year's show will be like, she wondered.

Photos: Barbara Keer

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