Last night I took a class at the Chopping Block, a cooking school located just down the street from Kitchens.com at the Merchandise Mart (huge design center in Chicago). Coursework: Empanadas, grilled fish with fruit salsa, grilled zucchini and yellow squash, and coconut flan.
As happened the last time I went to a class, I was amazed by the difference the proper tools make. Last time I discovered Global knives, Microplane graters, the joy of sufficient counter space, and how much better a gas range is than electric for melting chocolate.
Last night, I realized the joy of sufficient counter space never diminishes, especially when cooking with friends or family. It's so nice to have a peninsula or island so you can face each either and talk while working.
Also, a double oven comes in handy when cooking for a group-the eight dozen empanadas were done and available for scarfing in no time.
I can only imagine how it would transform my cookie baking timeline. Having someone else do the clean up while you eat is pretty sweet, too.