The Early Riser

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?

It may sound nuts to mail-order cornmeal and grits, given that they're found on any supermarket shelf. But I'd argue that you haven't experienced the best cornbread, grits, or other classic Southern dishes until you've had them made with the kind of high-quality stuff Anson Mills is selling. It'll change how you understand those foods and what they can be.  — Daniel

A good carbon steel pan has many of the qualities that make cast iron great—it's durable, it forms a completely nonstick surface if cared for properly, and it's inexpensive—but it's lighter and easier to maneuver, making it great for sautéing and searing everyday foods.  — Kenji

Old cast iron has a perfectly smooth nonstick surface that's surprisingly easy to maintain. You can sear, bake, roast, braise, stew, and deep-fry in it, and there's nothing more thoughtful than a gift that you have to expend a bit of effort to find (check out eBay, yard sales, and flea markets). Of course, these modern Lodge pans will do in a pinch if vintage isn't in the cards.  — Kenji

This is the electric kettle of my coffee-delayed dreams. It has an elegant gooseneck spout that makes pouring a thin, controlled stream easy (very helpful for Chemex and other pourover coffee methods), and a base with controls that allow you to set a specific temperature and hold it there.  — Daniel

Sorghum syrup is made from the pressed juice of sorghum grass, which grows prominently throughout the American South. This amber-colored syrup has a unique nutty flavor that's both sweet and savory. And since the 1960s, the Guenther family of Muddy Pond, Tennessee, has been making some of the best.  — Keith

Coffee and tea just feel more luxurious in this pretty handmade mug from Portland's Mazama Wares. I love the satiny, soft-colored glazes and find the handle particularly comfortable. They also stack nicely thanks to an unfinished tapered section at the base of each mug.  — Maggie