Holiday Gift Guide: Things I’m Liking

I started this list, initially called Things I’m Liking, which I’d intended to post…oh, six months ago. Then I didn’t make it back to finish it, and it ended up being one of those files on my desktop that I’d check into once in a while, but never get around to finishing – until now. Using my expertise as a multi-tasker, I decided roll it over into this year’s holiday gift guide. Included are kitchen gadgets I’ve found myself reaching for more than the others, drinking accoutrements, my new favorite way to dial it all out, and a few cookbooks that arrived this fall that particularly interested me.

 

Bauer pottery

Bauer Pottery Bowls

I’ve always been a fan of California pottery and collected quite a bit of it when I lived there. So I was intrigued enough when I saw recently some reproductions of Bauer bowls and shared them on my Facebook page. From the brouhaha, I didn’t realize that so many people didn’t buy things made in China, including those who use computers and smartphones. (I also didn’t realize that so many computers and smartphones were made in countries other than China.) However I, too, prefer the Made in America originals and I hadn’t realized that Bauer was back again producing pottery, in California.

I love the beautiful colors and the functional shapes and sizes of Bauer Pottery, which is just as beautiful as the vintage stuff. I am saving my dollars (and luggage allowance) for a set of their Made in America mixing bowls, but am happy with the four bowls that I have for the time being. Every time I look at them, I smile. Note that if you live in Southern California, they have occasional factory sales and often do seconds sales on their website, too.

 

Quirky cord holder

Quirky Cord Catcher

Probably my favorite little purchase this year was this Quirky Cordies desktop cord catcher. I use a laptop and as anyone who uses a laptop knows, as soon as that cord gets unplugged, it goes flying off the desk with the strength of a whip-wielding dominatrix. And I have the bruises (on my fingers) to prove it. Or else it flees to behind the desk to the most inaccessible place you can imagine and you have to pull out the desk to fish it back out. True, there are worse problems once could have, but what else can you solve one so effectively for less than $5? (I got mine at The Container Store where I see they are on sale for $2.99, price subject to change.)

 

Tavolo ice cream container

Tovolo Ice Cream Tub

People frequently ask me what kind of container I store ice cream in. When I wrote The Perfect Scoop, I was churning out so much ice cream that went to a restaurant supply store in Paris and bought a big crate of plastic containers, which I still use to this day. However as technology changes, newer materials have seen the light of day (and the light of my freezer), and I’ve taken to using the Tovolo ice cream tub. I scored mine at TJ Maxx and it’s a nice size and shape, although they also make a long, narrow one if you’re the kind of person that likes to take a lengthy, leisurely scoop. Haven’t tried that one, but I’m happy with my canister.

the gourmet cookbook

The Gourmet Cookbook

A very seasoned cookbook editor, who has seen and edited hundreds of cookbooks, told me she swore by The Gourmet Cookbook. The magazine had an excellent test kitchen and many of the recipes have become classics that people turn to over and over again. For those who miss the much-missed culinary magazine, The Gourmet Cookbook includes many of the great recipes in one generous volume, edited by Ruth Reichl. The book is out of print but can be found at used book sellers and online. Mine has a few drips and stains on it, likely from someone else before me getting some good use out of the cookbook, before (inadvertently) passing it on to me.

 

kitchenaid mini food processor

Mini Food Processor

One of my least-favorite kitchen activities is getting out, and subsequently, cleaning my big-bowl food processor. All those nooks and crevasses where oil, herbs, and nut dust can gather will vex even the most diligent dishwasher. (ie: me) Putting the whole thing in the dishwasher, with five or six parts, takes up half of my machine. Then you have to deal with all the water stuck in the parts that needs to be dried. Stop the insanity! Enter a little mini chopper, I’ve been using this diminutive sibling from KitchenAid (who gave me this machine to try out). I didn’t think I would use it so much, but I can make a batch of tart dough in it, I use it for hummus, and if I need to chop 1 cup of pecans, well, a machine of this size will do it without as much fuss as its bigger brethren.

 

cocktail kit

The Carry On Cocktail Kit

Who cares if people are looking at you? Yes, you’re the crazy (or pretentious) guy in 17C, when the cocktail cart comes down the aisle and order a mini bottle of liquor to stir up your own “craft” cocktail…in the air. These TSA-approved airline cocktail kits may make your flight go just a little smoother, too. The gin and tonic Carry On Cocktail Kit includes a tiny jigger, a bar spoon, a TSA approved-size bottle of tonic syrup, and a swell linen coaster. The Moscow Mule kit swaps out the tonic for ginger syrup. Each kit makes two cocktails, or enough for a round-trip flight. A santé! (Dans l’aire!)

 

Bose noise cancelling

Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds

One of my least-favorite things to do is sit on a plane for hours and hours. (Even if I have a cocktail kit with me.) Almost as soon as the plane takes off, I count the minutes until we land. So I do whatever I can to make the time on the flight pass as comfortably as possible. For years, I’ve been using noise-cancelling headsets. Planes make a lot of noise which you don’t really hear until you put noise cancelling headsets on. Being a cheapskate, I never wanted to shell out for the Bose ones, so went with a bulky Sony pair, which cost a fraction what the Bose ones cost. But these Bose noise cancelling earbuds are a game-changer. You plug them in and life around you drifts away. Far, far away.

For one thing, airlines are constantly downsizing what you can take on the plane and my regular headphones took up about one-third of my carry-on. These little fellas slip into my jacket pocket with barely a bulge. But even more important, when I tried them on in the store, I could not get the wallet out of my pocket fast enough. The world changed and I never heard sound so clearly before. Even if you’re not a frequent flyer, these are unparalleled for reading and concentrating, as distracting noises fade away the second you switch them on. Yes, these are pricey, and I scoured the internet looking for a deal on cyber-Monday. (Bose doesn’t do sales.)

However…I was at one of their factory outlet stores in the U.S., and although they weren’t discounting them either, they were selling factory reconditioned ones for $179. Yes, that seems like a lot. But if you do the math, taking 3 to 4 round trip overseas flights a years, dividing the hours spent in the air – well, you can do the math. (While you’ve got your calculator out, factor in that it’s only a matter of time before they start charging you for having spare space in your carry-on, too.) All I know is that I’m 100% hooked on these earbuds.

 

the-food-lab

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

My first response when I got a copy of The Food Lab, was – well, I won’t say the words because I don’t want my mouth washed out with soap, but it was an explicative (ok, it was Holy S&%t) because I was blown away by the heft and the incredible amount of fascinating information in this book. J. Kenji López-Alt has been at the helm of The Food Lab, as part of the Serious Eats website. He is one of the people who is currently “winning” at the internet, by providing reliable information and recipes with explanations about how and why things work the way they do, as well as offering an occasional smack-down, too. In short: He’s my kinda guy.

He won our hearts by busting a bunch of myths about cast iron cookware (yup, it’s okay to wash that pan with soap), and won my heart by saying that it’s okay to stop treating cassoulet as a museum piece with a list of ingredients that you will be damned if you vary. (Spoiler from me: It’s peasant food, a dish to extend bits of leftover or preserved meat and poultry, with beans, which aren’t originally French, but came from the New World. So it evolved, and will continue to evolve.) In The Food Lab, Kenji lets us all know in a six page treatise (with pictures) that brining a turkey in liquid isn’t actually the way to make it more flavorful. Just so you know, for next year.

A seasoned pro at defending his theories and positions online (#blogger), Kenji lays it all out in this comprehensive 958 page book with over 1,000 color photos. The book is so massive and packed with information that he didn’t include baking, which Kenji says isn’t his forté. (Recommended for that is Bakewise by Shirley Corriher.) But for hours of good reading and hundreds of well-tested recipes, many which turn misconceptions about cooking around – like why it’s okay to press down and smash a burger on the grill, for example – The Food Lab will answer all those questions. And give you lots more to think about…and cook.

 

bialetti moke

Bialetti Moka Pot

I have a confession to make: It drives me a little batty when people put a coffee pot on a scale to make coffee and tinker over water temperature. I know, I know. Precision yields a consistent cup. I must be a rube because sometimes I want to say: Can someone just bring me a cup of coffee? Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t get all the hoopla. Sure, I’m thrilled that people are upping their cup of coffee game. But it should be made with an unclenched sphincter.

Bialetti Moka coffee pots

A number of people are loyal to their Aeropress coffee makers for travel – which someday, I will give a go – but I like the all-metal, timeless look and feel of the Bialetti. I’ve tried cheaper moka pots, but unlike imposters, the originals (and I use plural, as I think I own one in almost every size) don’t leak or drip. Plus I like the gurgling noise when the coffee is done that tells you when it’s ready. It means my day is going to start off on the right note.

 

kitchen-gypsy-joanne-weir-book

Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food

When I wrote My Paris Kitchen, I was a little concerned that I had too many personal stories in the book. Of course, there were plenty of recipes, but I also included tales about Paris, why and how I cook and shop, and a few curious stories told from the perspective of my kitchen in Paris. Joanne Weir tells the story of her life as a cook, through her travels and other culinary adventures, in Kitchen Gypsy. And I got hooked it as soon as I started in on her story.

I worked with Joanne at Chez Panisse, an era she writes about (and there’s a story about me, with an old picture), as well as her travels to France, Italy, and Morocco. Joanne is the author of one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, From Tapas to Meze, and Kitchen Gypsy is another tour du monde of international recipes, sprinkled with stories about how she learned to cook, what it took for her to get her job at Chez Panisse, and her time getting schooled by the great – and controversial – Madeleine Kamman. (The New York Times once called her “ungenerous.”) I’m hoping to share a recipe and more from this book on my blog shortly. But until then, if you want to dive into Joanne’s book, it’s one that I currently in the middle of reading. If I can ever take it off my nightstand, I’ll bring it into my kitchen.

 

falcon

Falcon Enamelware

I’m late to the game, but discovered these great British enamelware dishes and pans when I was in Ireland last year. I am drawn to anything sturdy and classic, which is why I was drawn to Falcon Enamelware. Even the kitchen cooks I met in Ireland were using these for holding food, which mean they stand up to rigorous conditions.

Falcon enamelware

I bought a stack of them in various sizes – most were pretty cheap – and I love them. (Prices are slightly higher elsewhere due to shipping and duties.) They’re lightweight so you don’t have to heft them around the kitchen and they’re ridiculously easy to put away because of their weight. Another bonus: They can go from kitchen to table easily. You can get them direct from their website, where they list stockists around the world. (In Paris, they sell some sets at Merci. La Trésorie sells Meunder-Email, similar ones, made in Germany.)

 

zahav-cookbook-cover

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking

Someone said to me that eating at Zahav would “change my life.” After my meal there, I found that to be true and couldn’t wait to get Michael Solomonov’s book, Zahav, which he wrote with his business partner, Steven Cook. The publisher took a quote from my post about the restaurant, which was shortened to a length that didn’t quite convey my enthusiasm for the actual book, which is now filled with bookmarks for recipes that I’m planning on giving a go.

The recipe and technique for Solomonov’s justly famous hummus is in here – which is the dish that changed my life (the Turkish-style with melted butter is my favorite), as well as do-able recipes for things as elusive as halvah and konafi, along with many of the vibrant salads and other dishes that are found in Israel and the Middle East. The flavors from Zahav literally explode from the pages of this cookbook, which also tells the story of Michael Solomonov’s challenging life, and how addiction and loss fueled him on to be the gifted cook and chef that he has become.

 

red boat fish sauce

Red Boat Fish Sauce

If you think you know fish sauce, think again. And if you don’t know fish sauce, Red Boat fish sauce is the one to try. This first-press fish sauce is made from wild anchovies that have been aged for over a year. It’s one of those things that once you taste it, you won’t buy the other stuff – that’s usually made from fish other than anchovies – again. Rather than smelling fishy, it’s deeply fermented scent bring out something primal in me, and I’m not even Vietnamese. I just love this stuff. It’s available in a few countries around the world, on Amazon, and on their website.

 

This is camino

This is Camino

I was once taken to task for recommending a cookbook that I hadn’t tried any of the recipes from. To me, a good book about cooking doesn’t just hand you a bunch of recipe and formulas and let you have a go at ’em. It teaches you something. It might be about a new approach to cooking or baking, how to shop for ingredients (and why that’s important), or teach you something, like the The Zuni Café Cookbook does, by just turning and reading the pages. I’m a better cook after reading that book, as well as This is Camino, by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain.

Just reading a paragraph in This is Camino will teach you something. Not just things like “remove the butter from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking so it’s room temperature,” (which I hope most of you already know!), but Russell talks about how to use everything in your kitchen and waste nothing, to why local foods taste better, which most of us also know, but he is so serious about that, and using things up, that even the drinks on the cocktail menu use leftovers from their pastry kitchen.

When I saw a galley of the book before it was published, I was astonished and called it my favorite cookbook of the year. It’s not because I know Russell Moore, the chef/owner, from working with him for many years at Chez Panisse, where he worked before he opened Camino. But because I sat down and read nearly every word in the book: Once I started scanning the pages, I was completely captivated and kept reading. This is a radical book, less about how to make a batch of cookies or a pot of soup, more about how to use odds and ends in your kitchen and from your garden. You’ll think about food differently after reading This is Camino, just like I was changed after reading The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook back in the 1990’s.

I know from many of your comments that people are frugal cooks, and don’t like to toss anything that can be used. Russell writes about how a certain frugality was critical to the philosophy and success of the restaurant. Six months after their opening, there was a financial collapse. Rather than laying off cooks, with their spare time, they preserved foods (and came up with the now-famous recipe for Herb Jam), as well as all sorts of other dishes made from things like ultra-ripe fruit, and their homemade vinegar, which is something that I’ve been saying to myself that I’m going to try someday. At some point, I’m going to do it but in addition to that Herb Jam, I’ve been eying the recipe for grilled fig leaf ice cream – which I’ve had and it’s excellent – as well as several of the intriguing cocktails that rounds out This is Camino.

 

 

 

 


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56 comments

  • Claire
    December 4, 2015 2:24pm

    To use a phrase my grandchildren use, Red Boat Fish Sauce is “the bomb”! Yes, it’s pricey, but definitely worth it. As a collector of cookery and crockery, I was pleased to see you recommend the Bauer Pottery bowls and the Falcon Enamelware. I have some of both and they are sturdy and useful as well as attractive.

    Thank you for years of entertainment, small slices of the Paris I love, and fabulous photos and recipes. Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee.

    Claire

    • December 4, 2015 2:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      I was skeptical too. I mean – fish sauce? But once I bought a bottle and smelled it, I knew it was completely different than the regular stuff. It’s not that much more expensive and one of those things that’s definitely worth it. I add it to other things, not necessarily Asian foods, as a few drops ups the “umami” factor and some cocktail people put a drop in things like Bloody Marys, etc. I’m sold on it!

  • Linda
    December 4, 2015 5:03pm

    …and where do you buy the fish sauce??? (Please don’t say in the US!)

    I clicked on their website and only saw the name of the importer in Lyon…and when I type in the name of a city (be it Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Rennes or any other) they tell me no results – –

    They can’t be importing all that fish sauce for shipping it to the DOMs?!

    • Ray
      December 4, 2015 10:34pm

      I found the Red Boat at Whole Foods in San Rafael, CA (but not at any of their other Marin locations).

  • Theresa W
    December 4, 2015 5:05pm

    David, thank you. I wait for your list every year before heading out to buy gifts for my foodie friends and family.

  • Michelle Drackett
    December 4, 2015 5:48pm

    Hi David,
    A couple years ago a friend gave me a Tavolo “long & narrow” ice cream container and I was shocked. I never saw anything like it (I don’t get to go shopping for ME very often). I made a batch of ice cream shortly after and called her to ask her where she got it. She got it at Home Goods. I went there and bought 3 more! I LOVE them! I have different colors which makes it easier to find the right flavor. And they hold almost the entire batch of ice cream. The left over just goes in my husband’s stomach, LOL!

    On a side note, love your ice cream recipes. Have tried many!

    Michelle Drackett
    Ohio

    • Karen
      December 5, 2015 11:53am

      The company’s name is Tovolo. Not Tavolo.

      Thanks…fixed! -dl

    • Danita
      December 7, 2015 7:08pm

      I purchased the long/narrow Tovolo container at Sur La Table and had to return it. Water trapped between the layers in the bottom portion of the container and it was impossible to remove the interior bottom container from it’s base. I tried, my husband tried and the store clerk tried. I might have gotten a dud, but I wasn’t willing to try again. It seemed like such a great idea.

    • Marguerite
      December 8, 2015 1:50am

      I love them, too. My sister bought my nieces ice cream makers for Christmas and I bought them the long ones along with, what else, The Perfect Scoop.

  • Nanda
    December 4, 2015 5:55pm

    Maybe I missed it, but which Kitchenaid processor model is yours?

  • Alexandra
    December 4, 2015 5:58pm

    Love this list…and in fact have some of these very items. Will have to look into that “quirky cord catcher” for one. I’ll skip the enamelware though as to me the pieces look too much like circa 1800s mini hospital bed pans. (sorry)
    Thank you though for some great ideas.

  • Anne Check
    December 4, 2015 6:21pm

    I love your posts and also follow you on Twitter. I did experiment with a marshmallow fluff, purchased pumpkin pie as the pie was $2.97 and the Fluff was $1.37! I had to freeze the pie to spread the fluff on. I then thawed it and stuck it in the oven. It was like a toasted marshmallow on top, and very sweet, got runny, the next day. I would stick with your recipe.

  • Debbie
    December 4, 2015 7:25pm

    Oh I so wish this list had come out 7 days ago. I have been on the fence about the Bose big noise cancelling headphones but also thought they would be too big for my always too full carry on. I was in the US not 10 miles from a Bose Outlet store. But I must have those earbuds. Airplane noise makes me nuts. Will see if my sister can scout them out. Happy Sinterklaas from Holland!

  • David
    December 4, 2015 7:42pm

    I can’t believe I never knew that the Bauer factory store is less than a mile and half from my house! And there’s a factory sale tomorrow morning! I may have to hold you partly responsible for any damage to the contents of my wallet…

  • December 4, 2015 7:49pm
    David Lebovitz

    Linda: Yes, I did buy mine in the U.S. and brought it back (carefully wrapped, of course) but saw that they do have distributors in France, so they must have it available somewhere. Best to contact them and see if they can direct you to a vendor.

    David: I actually was looking at their website and they have the sets of mixing bowls at very reasonable prices. I love those, and most of their pieces. Have fun at the sale!

    Debbie: I thought about them for around 8 months and two friends said they were amazing. I don’t know if all the outlets have them, but that was where I got mine. To be honest, I’d pay full price for them they’re so good. I didn’t expect to like them as much as I did…

    Nanda: It’s this one.

    Michelle: Thanks for the feedback on the other ice cream container. Next time I see one, I’ll pick one of those up. Glad you like my ice cream recipes-happy scooping! : )

    • Linda
      December 6, 2015 1:18am

      Thanks anyway -_-

      (Okay, this comment means nothing. But it’s rude to not thank someone. Or maybe thanking someone only because you’re afraid they’ll think you’re rude negates the bien élevé-edness.

      Yeah. I’ll stop now =_____=)

  • Kate
    December 4, 2015 7:55pm

    “I didn’t realize that so many people didn’t buy things made in China, including those who use computers and smartphones. (I also didn’t realize that so many computers and smartphones were made in countries other than China.)”

    This is why I adore your writing, David! Someone needs to make this into a sly Willy Wonka meme . . .

  • Lis
    December 4, 2015 7:59pm

    My mother is very trepidacious about trying new things, but has recently expressed interest in baking bread from scratch. Could you be so kind to recommend your favorite book for a beginner baker and maybe some baking essentials.
    Most gratefully!

    • December 4, 2015 8:35pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’m not much of a bread baker but I can recommend any of the books by Peter Reinhart. He’s a bread baking instructor and has written a lot of award-winning books on the subject. A new crop of “fast” bread books, and no-knead ones, have come out. Jim Lahey and Zoe François are two authors that you might want to check out. The King Arthur website is very good for bread making materials and basics.

      • Anne
        December 5, 2015 10:28pm

        Peter’s course on Craftsy called artisan bread would be fantastic for a beginner.

      • Lis
        December 7, 2015 4:06am

        Thank you so much!

    • Martina
      December 6, 2015 6:17am

      If she doesn’t have a machine for kneading this book has a terrific technique for hand kneading: The Art of Handmade Bread

      Also, get her this: Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Dough Scraper

      Best tool for bread ever.

  • Jim
    December 4, 2015 8:29pm

    David, the Quirky Cord catcher is a great idea. To help fish out cords from behind the desk, I have a straightened wire hanger with the hook still bent. The length is just right and the hook stags the cord to pull it up. Another of life’s little irritations solved.

    • December 4, 2015 8:31pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’m usually skeptical of “gadgets” but this one is a no-brainer and I never have to fish my computer cord out from who-knows-where, again. And they’re cheap, too. I did see that the company filed for Chapter 11 (they make other items) which may be why they’re discounting there. I may get a second one, just in case!

      • P Adams
        December 4, 2015 10:00pm

        Thank you for the recommendation and impetus to get the Quirky cable catcher. I’ve had it on my Amazon wish list but wasn’t sure how effective it would be. Thanks to you I purchased two today. I was concerned about the shipping cost but The Container Store waived it upon inquiry. Score, thanks! I believe I’ve saved enough to justify the Falcon enamelware.

      • Bebe
        December 6, 2015 4:12pm

        I ordered four at $2.99. Pick them up at our local Container Store on Friday. Thanks for the tip, David. Tired of crawling around the floor and under tables and desks. :-)

  • Viv Nichols
    December 4, 2015 9:03pm

    I love the carry on cocktail kits!

    Re: coffee – this one is not on your preferred list, I guess.

    • December 5, 2015 1:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      Wow – that’s quite a kit! ; )

  • December 4, 2015 9:26pm

    LOVE your list! Top of my list/holiday gift guide are two books, My Paris Kitchen and Zahav ;-)

  • Sandra Alexander
    December 4, 2015 10:12pm

    Dear Santa,
    All I want for Christmas is David’s List. Thank you in (keen) anticipation.
    S.

    • December 8, 2015 2:07am

      Ditto!

  • Robin
    December 4, 2015 11:15pm

    The yellow Gourmet cookbook is, nearly 10 years after I received it as a wedding present, still my go-to cookbook. I’ve made over 100 recipes from it, and some of those are in very regular rotation. There are very few cookbooks in my life that have a similar presence. Total winner!

    • Annie
      December 5, 2015 2:28am

      I also received the yellow Gourmet cookbook as a wedding present ten years ago. It is, dare I say, the modern day equivalent of the red and white checkered Betty Crocker cookbook. Every recipe I have made over the past decade from the book met or exceeded my expectations. The scope of the book is so comprehensive it is what I reach for whenever I need a tried and true “classic” recipe for which an Internet search would yield millions of dubious options. The instructions are clear and concise. It belongs in all home kitchens of those who love to cook.

  • Sara
    December 5, 2015 12:06am

    Thanks for this list! Was intrigued by the idea of the herb jam from “This Is Camino” and found the recipe online.

  • lizzie
    December 5, 2015 12:47am

    oh my god I literally just spit out my coffee (brewed with a moka pot, funnily enough) at “unclenched sphincter.” The closest coffee shop to my apartment is an Intelligentsia, whose coffee I love, but whose mustachioed baristas’ sphincters are all obviously clenched. I’ve never left a comment before but just had to thank you for that laugh (and a hilarious image that I won’t soon forget!).

    • Ruth
      January 2, 2016 5:37pm

      I busted up,too, at David’s comment about unclenched sphincters!

  • December 5, 2015 1:03am

    Those carry on cocktail kits are so adorable!
    Kari

  • jol
    December 5, 2015 6:13am

    This is an amazing list! Looking forward to the next one :)

  • December 5, 2015 7:36am

    You had me at the Bauer bowls! I admit it freely, I’m not a fan of any kitchen item that comes from China.

    Zahav is going on my personal gift list. So is a Moka pot. I’ve seen them thru many a jaunt thru T J Maxx. I admit it…I’m a coffee snob.

    Thanks for mentioning Peter Reinhart. He’s a very approachable, and quite enthusiastic craftsman of bread making. I’ve done recipe testing on two of his books, actually three. I also met him a few years back at a pastry workshop. He’s one of the nicest and most wonderful souls you’ll ever meet.

    Honey-Bunches, say”Hello” to Lucky Charms (Romain). Do stay vigilant and safe. Our hearts are with yours and all. Be not afraid to live your life.

    ☕️❤️

  • Helen in CA
    December 5, 2015 9:43am

    Just checked my copy of Gourmet Cookbook…..yeah, the one published in 1950 that was my mother’s.

  • Victoria
    December 5, 2015 6:35pm

    I always meant to buy the Gourmet cookbook but didn’t after I read how big it was and also people were complaining about the hard to read yellow titles. But after your review I found the only one in town at a used bookstore for $10. I’ve got to have the mini chopper too — I always thought they would be worthless but apparently not! Thanks David.

    • Bebe
      December 6, 2015 4:16pm

      Mini-choppers are wonderful. Mine was a gift in the ‘80s – an accessory for any blender. Perches on top (in place of the usual blender container) and away it goes. Can’t recall who made it or if they are still around, but it is nice to have one fewer appliance. This container and blade fit in a shoebox.

      • Bebe
        December 6, 2015 4:22pm

        I think it might have been an Oster. Presently in storage pending kitchen redo.

  • julie Iantorno
    December 6, 2015 3:13pm

    Thank you for the gift suggestion of the Bose Noise Canceling ear buds. It’s the perfect gift for my husband who is impossible to buy for.

    • December 6, 2015 11:59pm
      David Lebovitz

      It took me a while to warm up to the idea of buying them. But truly, as soon as I put them on, I was hooked.

  • Mo
    December 6, 2015 5:16pm

    My husband and I flew home to Canada from CapeTown yesterday. I ditched my noise cancelling headphones as they are too large so will be looking into the wee ones. I also love the Gourmet cookbook, Serious Eats, Bialetti moka pots, and Joanne Weir. The rest of the list I will investigate.
    But what I really wanted to tell you is about my burst of inspiration after tasting and rejecting the awful swill they serve as wine on the plane. On future long haul flights we will buy a lovely bottle (or 2) at duty free to consume on the flight. Can’t believe it never occurred to me before!

  • Oonagh
    December 7, 2015 3:51am

    Thanks David, I’ve just bought the mini chopper (and a cassoulet dish that’s been sitting in my Amazon basket since your article from a few months ago)!
    Did you know Gwyneth Paltrow also recommended the aeroplane cocktail kits in her Christmas list on Goop?

  • Sylvie
    December 7, 2015 7:34am

    I cannot wait to get a copy of Zahav cookbook. Make some real Israeli food. Any cookbook that shows me something to make that is out of my comfort zone is one of my favorites. All cookbooks are my favorites. Ones with stories like yours I read in bed, ones with just recipes only I read in bed. Cookbooks from the 60s and70s are faves……..

  • shell
    December 7, 2015 5:22pm

    I miss my little, mini food processor. Its amazing the things you can find uses for, without having to muck up the big Cuisinart.

  • December 8, 2015 2:04am

    I think I add to my Amazon.com wish list every time I read one of your posts! I so want to read these books!

  • December 8, 2015 11:21am

    This is just perfectly matching my lack of inspiration for Christmas. Thanks a lot !

  • angelitacarmelita
    December 9, 2015 5:54pm

    I loved your list! I have several bottles of Red Boat at home for fear that I’ll run out. It’s definitely not the same as the fish sauce we’re used to, and completely addictive. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find myself a copy of The Gourmet Cookbook (I miss them so….)

  • Jennifer
    December 9, 2015 7:19pm

    My husband works in Philadelphia, I’m sending him to buy me some Soom tahini right now, since my old jar from Paterson is almost gone and my family is expecting hummus at Christmas! (recipe brought to the US from Syria by my great-grandmother) Thanks for the tip!

  • soozzie
    December 14, 2015 9:27pm

    As far as I have been able to determine, it is legal to bring your own alcohol on an airplane, but it is illegal to drink it on the airplane. Makes sense, when you think about it….

  • Susan B
    December 17, 2015 2:39pm

    I found this article through your pin, which drew my eye as I will be making your Persimmmon Bread today! I pined over the Bauer bowls, as I am an OCD bowl collector but arthritic wrists mean no more crockery :( I also got a huge laugh out of the Moka Pot comments especially since I chose to use my Bialetti this morning. Thanks so much for fabulous recipes (your gougeres are a favorite) and the stories woven around them. Happy Holidays!

  • Peggy
    December 29, 2015 4:27pm

    Dear David,
    Thank you for your gift ideas. Under our tree we had: The Food Lab (for my husband, a retired physicist), The Gourmet Cookbook and My Kitchen Year, (both for me!), and The Sweet Life in Paris (for our daughter). We’re all totally enjoying our books!
    Peggydobro

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