Gift Guide 2017: For the Gear Geek

December 1, 2017


I’m giving this Infrared Digital Thermometer to every anal cook I know.  For one thing, even the most gadget-prone cook is unlikely to own one.  For another, they’ll love it.  And for a third, it’s remarkably inexpensive.

The thermometer measures surface temperatures – so it won’t replace a probe thermometer.  But it’s perfect for taking the temperature of meat on the grill or for testing the temperature of a pan, pizza steel or the oven itself.  Kind of addictive too; after a while you find yourself checking the temperature of the refrigerator, the walls, windows and ceiling.  No touch – simply point and shoot.

And should you happen to have a sick friend, it will take their skin temperature – without so much as a single touch.

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Gift Guide 2017: Vintage Menus

November 30, 2017

I’ve been buying vintage cookbooks from Abebooks for what seems like ages, but I somehow missed the fact that they also sell vintage menus from all over the world.  The menus don’t cost much – they average around fifteen dollars – and they’re the real thing, not copies.  So if you know someone who wishes they’d been at a country hunt in England in 1889, eating a kaiseki meal in Tokyo in 1911, or feasting in Paris during the time of Toulouse Lautrec, you can find an appropriate menu here.  There are dozens to peruse and the range is enormous, so even if you’re not searching for a gift, this is an intriguing way to spend some time.

They also have gorgeous botanical prints – like the one above – cut out of old illustrated books.  If you know someone who loves antique apples, pears or gooseberries, one of these would make a unique and very welcome gift.




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5. Gift Guide 2017: World’s Best Panettone

November 29, 2017

I wrote about Roy’s Panettone in last year’s gift guide, but since then I’ve come to love this amazing fruit bread even more. I’ve just finished ordering some for a few special friends, and I thought I’d remind you about it. In addition to the classic, Roy’s now making panettone in a few new flavors: pecan-caramel, chocolate or pistachio-cherry.

This is not the cardboard panettone that sits morosely on the table, wishing someone would eat it. This is light, airy fruit bread that vanishes in a flash. Eat a slice and you instantly want more. You can read all about Roy and his obsession with this Italian classic here, in my new column in Town and Country Magazine.

Or you can just cut to the chase and order some direct from Roy.

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4. Gift Guide 2017: Classic Christmas Pudding

November 28, 2017

If you’ve got Charles Dickens visions, you can’t do better than Talbott and Arding’s traditional Christmas Pudding. A family recipe, it’s  made with three kinds of raisins, candied orange peel, organic eggs and suet from grass-fed local cows. Lots of spices and brandy too. It’s hard to think of a better finale to a festive holiday feast.
An extra bonus: the crock it comes in is a perfect little bowl; I’ve reached for mine a million times this year, and each time I remember how much I loved eating the robust cake (it really is more cake than pudding), it originally held.
And while you’re at it, you might want to think about the shop’s astonishingly delicious fruit and nut loaf.  I’ve never had anything quite like it. Gluten-free, it’s a whole world of fruits and nuts that seems to be held together with nothing more than a wish.
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