We're easily distracted at the Home & Housewares Show. With a celebrity chef here, a funnel cake machine for home cooks over there, every booth woos us. The Chicago show is a launching pad for new colors, new trends, and over the top ideas (any takers for an LED light that makes the water flowing from the kitchen tap glow, anyone?). On Day 2 we tried to focus on practical products that solve real kitchen problems. We hunted for truly useful products we could put right to work in our kitchens. Here's three of our favorite finds . . . • Lunch Launch: We discovered a new lunchbox option for grown ups. This lunchbox from Aladdin is broad but thin, designed to fit into messenger bags. Two sets of inserts snap into the box, along with the ice pack: a green salad insert, including dressing cup, cutting board/lid, and crisper and a red microwavable container with a flexible divider. Aladdin told us the lunchbox with red insert is available in some Target stores for about $20.
• Kitchen Scale Does Time: Salter showed off their new CD-style kitchen clock/scale. Some readers tell us they just don't have room for a scale. This digital scale mounts on the wall and looks like an inconspicuous kitchen clock with a thermometer function, but pull the outer ring off the clock and it becomes a kitchen scale. The weight is wirelessly transmitted to the clock face. Cool, huh?
• Counter Space: This Instant Counter from Conimar lacks the high-end design appeal of many of the other products we discovered, but is still a great find for small city kitchens. This cutting board with legs turns the space over the sink or stove into useable counter space. We grilled the sales guy with our safety concerns, but he said the counter is super-safe, as long as it isn't used while the burners are on. A new flat glass version with a stainless steel look will be on the market soon. More News From the Housewares Show: • Our report on Day 1 of the show • AT:Chicago reports from the show • Pittsburghs Post-Gazette sizes up the show's gadgets • CBS News: Beststuff.com says "It's not about practical, it's not about functional, it's about putting it all together with cool design." We disagree.