I have a love/hate relationship with the cookware shop Dehillerin. On one hand, there's the sheer abundance of cooking equipment, everything from vegetable "ballers" in umpteen sizes to a colossal kite-shaped pan that's specifically for cooking turbot. On the other, if you do find yourself interested in something, you have to remember a six-digit number so you can look up the price in one of the binders located at various places in the store. But, as always, it was enlightening to see just how many sizes of pan and varieties of utensil exist for turning raw ingredients into every level of dish from the hautest of haute cuisine on down. (By the way, read Internet reviews at your peril. Most of them are by "hobby" cooks whingeing on about how it's not nearly as good as Williams-Sonoma.)
In business since 1820, the shop occupies an impossibly crammed main floor and a rather spooky basement lined with shelves laden with paper-wrapped pots and pans. Upstairs, the hâtelets always tempt me. Decorative steel skewers, their hilts adorned with ornate wild boars, fish, peacocks and other birds and animals, they're used for very formal dishes, the kind of object that looks as though it comes straight from the pages of Escoffier-era cooking. He shopped here too. You can browse--and buy--on-line at www.dehillerin.fr. If you have an overwhelming desire for a duck press, now you know where to look.