If you're looking for inexpensive stocking stuffers, or compact gifts in small packages (perfect for last-minute packing and shipping), check out these stylish cook's gadgets. These tools work beautifully, and they look sleek and sharp in any kitchen. Prices noted are the suggested retail prices, so you may be able to find them for less at kitchenware stores or online. For previous gift ideas, see my columns for 12/05/03 and 12/12/03.
Special Note: I'd be personally grateful if you consider my own latest books as part of your holiday gifts. I have three books, sizzling hot off the presses (click on each title to learn more):
Please note: Except for books sold through our links to Amazon, we do not sell any of these products at Global Gourmet. Look for them at stores in your area, or check out the weblinks to the manufacturer's site for buying information. (Note that most of the prices indicated below are suggested retail prices and the items may cost less at some stores or sites.)
Kate, Thomas, and all of us at Global Gourmet
A compact tool with a 2-1/4" adjustable blade (retractable for safety) for slices from paper-thin to 3-millimeters.
Makes big, fluffy shreds of chocolate or cheese, for instant, elegant garnishes. Or, flip the tool over for extra fine grating.
Four-In-One Measuring Spoons—$10
A set of two spoons, each with a two-sided measuring cup on each end.
Bakers' Silicone Scraper—$8;
Heat and stain resistant, these tools go from stovetop to dishwasher without a hitch.
Stainless Steel "The Press"
It's almost like having an extra hand in the kitchen. This one-handed mill grinds pepper, salt, or spice blends. Perfect for compulsive multi-taskers.
Dried nutmeg is almost flavorless compared to the freshly ground spice. Comes with whole nutmegs, conveniently stored in the tool, for grinding nutmeg fresh, as you need it.
Makes perfectly precise cuts for festive and elaborate garnishes
Wrangler Steak Knives—$30
With sharp serrated blades and hefty, black handles, this handsome set of four may be the last steak knives you ever buy.
Professional Holding Tongs—$11
Sometimes short tongs just don't offer the right leverage or balance. These do: they're 12-inches long, with a comfortable grip, and are handy for cooking indoors or out.
Take this all-purpose knife's sharp 3-1/2" blade and a safety sheath with you to picnics, tailgate parties, or cook-outs in the park. Comes in four colors.
Cheflamme Culinary Torch
Gifts for Sweeties: Dessert cooks will appreciate the performance of this handy little kitchen torch, ideal for putting the crunchy caramel finish on crème brûlée, browning the meringue peaks of Baked Alaska, or melting sugar toppings. Professional chefs use this same butane torch for even more complicated tasks, like pulled sugar and ice sculptures. In my own food photography, I've used the torch to melt cheese on nachos or casseroles, so it stays melted during shooting. It's super for roasting peppers, too, and if you have a turkey that didn't brown evenly, just fire up the torch and voila!-the perfect bird. It's a truly fun tool, and even the most basic cook will find you can toast marshmallows instantly, should you get a sudden s'mores attack.
My everlasting search for tools that really work led me to experiment with Metrokane's line of Rabbit corkscrew products. The Rabbit Wine Tool Kit comes in a Lucite case and contains six pieces: corkscrew, foil cutter, drip-stop ring, wine-Champagne sealer, spire corkscrew spiral, and the wax wacker, a handy tool for removing wax seals. If you enjoy wine regularly, the case is a bit awkward for storing the pieces in, but it makes a nice presentation for gift-giving. I was skeptical at first about the Rabbit's durability, since it seems a bit light in weight, but after three months of use, the silver-colored Rabbit is still pulling corks with ease. And since it now comes with a ten-year warranty (it used to be just two years), I'm trusting it to last longer than corkscrews of similar design made by other companies. If you don't want the complete set, the Rabbit is sold separately in various models and colors, as are the accessories, in kitchen and wine stores everywhere.
I admit: This is a shameless plug for my own book, but I wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't fascinating reading. It's not just for wine lovers, but rather, it's for anyone interested in unique business success stories. If you've ever bought the Sutter Home, Trinchero, Montevina, Fre, or Trinity Oaks wine brands, you'll have tasted the results of this humble, generous family's long struggle in Napa Valley.
From the Publisher:
This is the true story of an immigrant family's rise to prominence and the brand that rewrote the rules of wine. Harvesting the Dream tells the inspirational story of the Trinchero family and its Sutter Home winery, now among America's largest and most successful vintners. More than just a business success story, it's also the tale of an immigrant family's half-century journey to achieve the American Dream. Against all odds, Sutter Home's light and sweet White Zinfandel became America's bestselling wine and a staple at tables across the country. Harvesting the Dream uses the Sutter Home story to teach profound business lessons about the importance of calculated risk and creative thinking. But there's far more to the Sutter Home story than just business success. This is the rare story of a large and successful business that remains family owned and continues to operate on the basis of professional and personal integrity. Genuine, generous, and humble, the Trincheros stand out in glitzy Napa Valley for their philanthropy, world-class employee programs, and long-term community involvement.
Kate's Global Kitchen for December 2003:
12/05/03 Kate's Culinary Gift Guide, Part 1:
Cutting Up, Cooking, and Looking Good
12/12/03 Kate's Culinary Gift Guide, Part 2:
Wake Up, Eat Up, and Save the Leftovers!
12/19/03 Kate's Culinary Gift Guide, Part 3:
Cook's Gadgets, Wine Tools, and "Harvesting the Dream"
12/26/03 Caviar Nachos, New Year Nibbles, and Trivial Tidbits
Copyright © 2003, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 2003 and modified November 2006.
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