The Amateur Gourmet's Gift Guide 2023
Well seeing as Black Friday is this Friday and Cyber Monday is next Monday, I figured I’d offer you up a gift guide to take advantage of the sales, in case you need ideas for what to buy. These are all things that I currently have in my kitchen and absolutely love, so hopefully they’ll give you some inspiration.
Before we get to that, I have my dream Lunch Therapy patient this week: Amanda Hesser!
Find out why the co-founder and CEO of Food52 won’t reread Cooking for Mr. Latte (one of my all-time favorite food books), how it was almost adapted into a CBS sitcom featuring “Professor Cappuccino,” and how she pivoted from being a full-time writer to running a business. You can listen to the whole thing here or wherever you listen to podcasts:
Also, I just posted a video for my all-time favorite holiday snack mix (via David Lebovitz) that’s a perfect thing to make for your guests to nosh on while you’re basting your turkey.
Now let’s talk gifts….
Here are the Top Ten food things that I think you should put on your gift-giving (or gift-getting) list this year:
Is it possible for a machine to change your life? Well this one has. We use it to make cappuccinos / cortados / and iced coffee beverages FOUR TIMES every day. That’s two coffee drinks per person, which — with tax and tip, at current rates — would add up to $28 a day in coffee drinks. Do the math, and this machine pays for itself in 35 days. Not only is it a breeze to use, it’s also a handsome addition to your kitchen counter. And if you practice enough, you can learn to make a little heart (that’s as far as I’ve gotten with my latte art). Note: if you buy it from the Amazon link above, I get a teensy, tiny, almost negligible commission. No pressure, I’m just supposed to tell you that.
I get asked about my confetti cutting board on a regular basis, and the answer is: Frederick’s and Mae. I got mine last year and absolutely love it: I use it all the time. The surface is perfect for cutting meat, cutting garlic, anything too wet or smelly to do on your wooden cutting board. It’s hefty enough to stay down on the counter when you’re cutting on it, but light enough to whisk over to the sink to rinse off. Can’t recommend it enough.
One day I did a very shallow thing: I decided that I wanted a chef’s knife with a red handle. I only chose it because of the red handle — I thought it would look cool sticking out of my knife block — and, as a bonus, the knife was from a company endorsed by Tom Colicchio. Well: this is my favorite knife now. It’s my go to for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing. My favorite thing about it is that it’s fancy enough to feel professional, but inexpensive enough that you can sharpen the dickens out of it on your electric knife sharpener (both Ruth Reichl and I recommend this one) and you won’t feel guilty about hurting the blade. I haven’t tried the other knives in the collection, but if I needed a full set, this is where I would go.
Company by Amy Thielen.
If I didn’t have it already, this is the cookbook that I would put on my list as a must-have. First of all: it’s gorgeous. The cover, which comes from a painting done by one of Amy’s friends (Amy was on my podcast, so you can hear her talk all about it), is the best cookbook cover of the year, as far as I’m concerned. And then there’s the actual content. Amy brings hard-won kitchen wisdom from her years at four-star restaurants in NYC back to Northern Minnesota, where she lives and cooks and grows her own fruits and vegetables. The recipes in this book are wild but also realistic: Bohemian poppy seed coffee cake, crispy curried cauliflower with mustard seeds, hot water rolls, whiskey sour gelatin shots with potted sour cherries. I plan to cook from it all winter.