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Opinion
Megan McArdle

Give Thanks for Williams-Sonoma and the Garlic Press

This chain's founder, who died last week, made kitchen gear fun for all.
Shopping and cooking were less fun before all this.

Shopping and cooking were less fun before all this.

Photographer: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated

You may not have known Chuck Williams, but you know his brainchild, the Williams-Sonoma stores that for decades have dominated the market for high-end kitchen goods.

On a trip to France in the 1950s, Williams discovered that French cooks took for granted an array of equipment, from heavy pots to nifty tools, that were mostly unknown to their American cousins, who were busy discovering new and exciting ways to use canned soup and pineapple in dishes.