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20. The 2021 Gift Guide - Part 2
All I want for Christmas is this.
Welcome to the second part of my gift guide, this time focusing on things I would be thrilled to receive. As I said in the last issue, I have no first-hand experience with most of the items on this list, so these aren’t endorsements. I’ve tried as much as possible to avoid duplicating things that appear widely in other gift guides, but those things appear widely for a reason and if it’s something I’d also like, it made the list.
One of the cats knocked ours off the counter earlier this year and it smashed into more pieces than even the most skilled kintsugi artist could deal with. It was a little wider and lower than this one and it held the chow mein at New Year’s. It was the perfect size and nothing in our cupboard has taken its place, even from just a functional standpoint.
I did a double-take when I saw this on the Grape Witches site. Beth and I shared a terrific bottle of Blaufränkisch at The Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow that looked just li— Oh wait. That bottle had the silhouette of a deer and it was facing right. And if you’re stopping by the GWs, there’s no harm in picking up a few of these as well.
A little something to go with that wine. We don’t have room for this in the fridge, but a guy can dream, right? Eliminates having to use plastic wrap and bags (which aren’t great for storing cheese in the first place). The base wicks away mold-causing moisture and the lid traps cheesy smells from taking over the fridge.
It’s hard to do your cooking show cosplay without a snazzy apron. I’ve got the standard kind that hangs around your neck and I’ve come to hate it. The cross-back style seems much more comfortable.
This is something that shows up on quite a few gift guides because it’s such a bright idea. Instead of a solid weight trapping steam beneath it, The Chef’s Press lets it pass through. They’re also stackable to create a heavier weight.
We’ve got a Peugeot pepper mill and it’s fine.1 But by every account I’ve read, the Pepper Cannon grinds laps around it. Like most people, I (mostly) can’t see myself spending this much on a pepper mill, even though I know I would enjoy it. But that’s one kind of perfect gift isn’t it?
During COVID The Stop has served over 63,000 meals and distributed 7,200 food hampers for Torontonians struggling with food insecurity. Please help support the great work they do.
But, but… didn’t I just say that a ricer is far superior to a masher? For mashing potatoes? Yes. But this summer I used a masher at a cottage we rented to break up the ground beef I was browning. It was far, far easier than using the edge of a wooden spoon or spatula. It’s also great, I imagine for mashing avocado.
I don’t need this pot in any way. I’ve already got ones that hold eight quarts. It’s hard to explain, but I find the proportions of this pot very, very pleasing. I won’t say more or I’ll sound even creepier than I already do.
14 air-tight bins! Multiple temperature and humidity zones! The ability to dry age meat! There was one on display at the LG head office when I worked on the brand. I always made a point of lingering around it, hoping someone would notice and tell me they needed to get rid of it for cheap.
What I’m consuming…
The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After by Corey Mintz. If you enjoy restaurants, this book is a must-read. Mintz examines how COVID laid bare the many cracks and faults in how restaurants have always operated. He then goes on to search for ways we can help build a better system that works for everyone.
The content of this New York Times magazine article about the Unification Church’s huge role in popularizing sushi in America was fascinating, but both the online and print designs were so distracting that it became a very unsatisfying read.
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives absolutely tearing the roof off the Ed Sullivan Theater in 2011. Growing up, I think I was put off by Marty Stuart’s look and so didn’t pay much attention to him. I’ve only recently come to appreciate just how talented he is. And Kenny Vaughan is just an assassin. If you want to go deeper, watch this after you watch below.
What’s on the menu…
As written, this cabbage stew is good (and vegan!2). The first time I made it I added some cooked beans3 to make a complete protein when served over rice. The second time I made it I browned some chopped chorizo and added a few anchovy fillets when the garlic went in. It’s definitely a keeper. I can usually eat leftovers twice and that’s it, but I went back again and again and again.
Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, but with carrots because we like carrots. I very rarely make stews that have you throw out the vegetables that flavour the stew’s broth before adding ones cooked separately, but it really does make for great eating.
Stush Patties. I’d seen a lot of posts about them online, so when I saw a box in someone’s cart at Fiesta Farms, I zipped over to the freezer and grabbed a box of four. What I did not notice then or when they were scanned is that the box cost $16. For four patties! To be fair, they are good, quality patties with natural ingredients, but I live a 10-minute walk from arguably the best patties in the city at Randy’s. The going rate there for a dozen is $20. But hey, not everyone lives so near to a good patty place, and by the standards of frozen patties the Stushes fare well. If you crave having some patties on stand-by in the freezer try them out for yourself.
One last thing: if you have any off-brief uses for your kitchen tools like my mashing ground beef with a potato masher, what are they? Let me know in the comments or reply to this email. Thanks in advance!
The best pepper mill in our kitchen is actually a $12 PC-branded one I got at Loblaws.
Only a handful of people will get this: If it’s vegan, it should be called Cabbage Stu.
Beans and cabbage are great together but be forewarned: things may get a little breezy.