December 18, 2011
A New Way to Wash Wine Glasses
Do you know someone who ends every party standing at the sink, laboriously washing wine glasses by hand? Doesn’t everyone? Well, here’s their perfect present. Tethers fall so squarely into the why-didn’t-someone-think-of-this-before?-department that they make me a little crazy. Such a great idea.
The flexible plastic rods attach to the stem of your wine glasses, stabilizing them in the dishwasher so they won’t fall over. What wine-lover wouldn’t want these? At $15 a pack, you might even want to throw in a few wine glasses as well.
December 17, 2011
This is what I like about Maldon salt: The shape. It comes in great fat flakes, that don't penetrate food, but sit on top, waiting to provide a little saline jolt right when it's most needed. It's exactly what you need to make a new-laid egg taste like heaven.
And this is what I like about this salt box: It's an incredibly beautiful object. Just looking at it makes me happy. I'll bet you have a friend who will feel the same.
This handsome wooden salt box, carved from a single piece of walnut and trimmed in leather is the sort of thing few people would buy for themselves. It's an expensive indulgence. And that's exactly why, with a box of Maldon salt from the supermarket, it would make a practically perfect present for a passionate cook.
December 16, 2011
A Tiny Grinder
Yesterday I suggested that any cook would love a masala dabba, which is certainly true. Want to embellish the gift? A spice grinder would be a very nice addition. Lately I’ve found I can’t live without mine, which has taken up residence on the kitchen counter. (It used to live in a drawer.)
This is what I like about this handy little machine. It crushes spices with extreme efficiency. It’s easy to clean (you can put the bowl in the dishwasher). But most importantly, it works wet as well as dry, so it’s perfect when you need to puree a small amount of something soggy (chiles in adobo come immediately to mind). And at this time of the year, it’s exactly what you’ll want when it comes time to grind those nuts for tortes and cookies.
December 15, 2011
Something Spicy (but not hot)
When an Indian woman marries, she carries her spice box to her new husband’s home. Every Indian cook has at least one masala dabba, a perfectly designed stainless steel box with seven small containers (and a small spoon) to organize the spices she uses most frequently.
But you don’t need to be an Indian cook to find these wonderful spice boxes useful; any cook would be happy to have one. You can find them at all price points – some are really cheap- but since you're giving this as a present, you’ll want one that will still be beautiful this time next year. I like this masala dabba, and when I give it as a gift, I fill it up with exotic spices like kokum, dried mango powder and whole fenugreek seeds from Kalustyans.
December 14, 2011
Antique Plates and Glasses
I have to admit that sometimes, when I’m trying not to write, desperate to lose time, I find myself trolling through the beautiful vintage plates and silverware at Elise Abrams, imagining a more gracious world. Her collection of plates, bowls, and glasses is so vast that it’s like visiting a museum where everything is for sale. Even the descriptions are exotic. One ornate offering is described as “ French Hand-blown Apricot Crystal Vase with Raised Paste Gold.”
If you’re looking for a unique (and expensive) present for someone with wonderful taste, this would be a good place to begin. Even if you don’t find something to buy, it’s an awfully good way to escape into another world for a little while.