Every year, I seek out new holiday gifts for food lovers, and this month I've got three new columns packed with gift-giving suggestions, and assorted holiday recipes to match. Truth of the matter is that these products were all so tempting, I had to try them out for myself (yes, it's a rough business I'm in). They've turned out so terrific, I wanted to share them with you as gift ideas (and there's nothing wrong with including yourself in your gift-giving list!). Please note: We do *not* sell 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.)
Adjustable Fiddle Bow Bread Knife
$33.95 Mountain Woods (www.mountainwoods.com)
This is my new favorite toy: beautiful, practical—and it's such a bargain! Turn the brass screw to adjust the thickness of slices, from ultra-thin to 1-inch thick. I tried it first on a round boule of dense, crusty whole wheat La Brea Bakery bread and was amazed at how well the knife performed. With the variety of artisanal breads now available, this knife is a must-have for the gourmet kitchen. It comes in cherry, oak, or Asian hardwood, and in right- or left-handed versions. The same company also makes a fiddle bow knife that's not adjustable, but the ability to adjust the size of the slices is what first attracted me to this product. You can also use it to slice vegetables and fruits. The people at Mountain Woods are what you'd expect from Montana: good, friendly folks that take pride in their products. Give them a call at 800-835-0479 or visit www.mountainwoods.com for one of the more pleasant holiday shopping experiences.
Art Deco Bowl Set
$39.95 Mountain Woods (www.mountainwoods.com)
Even folks who don't cook will appreciate this handsome set of two deep wooden bowls, with a textured finish in red or blue. I can envision them on a guy's dresser, as catch-alls for keys, wallet, and coins. In the kitchen, they bring elegance to salads, popcorn, chips, and more, with their natural wood finish inside and the rustic etched ceramic-like pattern on the outside. Each bowl has a two quart capacity. Mine have held all sorts of kitchen goods: a supply of dish towels, a dozen apples, assorted nuts for cracking, dinner rolls, winter squashes, and endless other possibilities await.
$9.95 Mountain Woods (www.mountainwoods.com)
It's tough to find a $10 gift that has style, but the folks at Mountain Woods have come to the rescue. This isn't just a hardwood sushi board: It's a complete serving set with a built-in recessed bowl for soy and wasabi, and a pair of 9-inch chopsticks which store snugly under the board (in the cross braces) when not in use. The 10x16-inch board stands 1-1/2 inches high. The simple design radiates a Zen elegance, making it beautiful just to look at. Of course, even if you don't use it for sushi, it also makes a delightful server for tempura, sake, and small bites.
Corian Cutting Boards
Oval cutting board: $24; other prices vary.
If a Corian countertop is your idea of the perfect kitchen surface, then perhaps you'll be asking Santa for your own Corian cutting board. Eraz, a small company in Chico, California, makes a line of Corian cutting boards in various colors and shapes, from rectangular, round, or oval, to pig-, apple-, heart-, or dolphin-shaped. Why Corian? The best-known brand name among solid surface materials, Corian is nonporous, so it resists stains, bacteria, and germs. The hard surface doesn't scratch easily and is more durable than wood or plastic. Any small cut marks that do appear are easily removed by polishing with a ScotchBrite scrub pad or, in extreme cases, with sandpaper. These boards are heavy, and in some cases, have rubber feet to keep them firmly planted on your work surface. Pastry makers will love the way they hold a good chill, and all cooks can use them as trivets to protect their countertops from hot pans or casseroles. I also like that these boards are cut, sanded, and finished by disabled workers at a local nonprofit training center. Featured in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, these products are also sold at various retailers and online. For a source and a look at the company's other Corian-made products, visit www.eraz.com.
Chantal: For the
Chantal Party Pan—$65
Heart-Shaped Bakepan—$14.99; Ramekins—$2.99 ea
Chantal 3-Quart Red & White Baker—$25
Chantal Tea Ball—$50
I like to make entertaining easy, and having the right cookware helps. Like the elegant Chantal enamel-on-steel party pan, which cooks both on the stove and in the oven. This year, I was also pleased to experiment with the company's new lines of bakeware. Food is love, as is often said, and the attractive heart-shaped baking pans reinforce this message, from small ramekins to large casseroles. For those who prefer their meals square (or rectangular), Chantal's ceramic bakers are handsome, easy to clean, and heat evenly without fail. Their durable two-tone glazed finish is scratch resistant and the pans are stylish enough to go from oven or microwave straight to table. Even non-cooks occasionally boil water, and Chantal's inviting Tea Ball is just the thing to leave on the stove, ready to provide that soothing cup of tea or instant cup of soup.
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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