Ariel's dad has long been a movie-theater-popcorn fanatic—he's been known to go into the theater just to get popcorn, then leave. This popcorn seasoning will cut out the middleman, allowing her dad to make his very own cinema-worthy popcorn right at home.
This isn't just a chili cookbook. Robb Walsh digs deep into the beloved dish's ancestry, tracing threads through Mexico City, San Antonio, and Santa Fe—as you might expect—but also Hungary, Greece, and the Canary Islands (off the coast of North Africa). Walsh is one of food writing's best storytellers, so the book is satisfying even if you never whip out your Dutch oven and get cooking. You should, though: The fascinating tale is best enjoyed with a big bowl of chili con carne. (Walsh's recipe from El Real in Houston is killer.)
This is the holy grail of inexpensive chef's knives: incredible quality and design, high-end materials, perfect balance, and a razor-sharp edge.
Homemade ice cream tastes better than almost anything you can buy in a store, and it's a snap to make. This ice cream maker, from Cuisinart, is all the gear you need: an easy-to-use workhorse that makes delicious ice cream every time. The simple construction means that there are few moving parts to break, and the wide mouth at the top makes it simple to add mix-ins and scoop out your ice cream when it's at its fresh, creamy best.
I actually received this classic Waterford pitcher as a wedding gift, and it's become a workhorse in my home. When I'm not using it to decant wine, it's hard at work serving cocktails, ice water, and juices. And in between any special occasion, you can drop in some fresh flowers and use it as a vase.
Forget those puny kitchen torches designed to make crème brûlée for ants. If you want some serious torching power in the kitchen, for putting the final touch on fancy desserts or for finishing off a sous vide steak, you want a high-output torch like this one. You'll get a deeper char than you'll ever be able to get from using a skillet alone.
Sous vide cooking—cooking foods in vacuum-sealed pouches in precisely controlled water baths—is no longer relegated to fancy restaurant kitchens. The Anova Precision Cooker is the best home water-bath controller on the market, with an easy-to-use interface, Bluetooth support, rock-solid construction, a sleek look, and an affordable price tag to boot.
Ariel discovered this spice mix 11 years ago, and it's still one of her favorite things to give as a gift. It's a perfect blend of everyday ingredients (shallots, garlic, paprika, and sea salt), but with unusual flavor notes from grains of paradise. She buys it by the pound to dump on meat, seafood, and even eggs, but you can start by picking it up a reasonably sized jar or bag.
You can find dark chocolate and almonds combined in any number of candy bars. What distinguishes these delicious nuggets from Nuts.com is the generous sprinkling of sea salt embedded in the thick chocolate shell. Just be sure not to open them for a taste—once you've had one, the rest will never make it to Dad.
The Akorn is a double-walled, insulated steel egg that is much lighter and in some ways more durable than the popular Big Green Egg. It performs fairly close to traditional kamados at a fraction of the cost, so you can spend your saved bucks on getting some great meat.
If your dad has a taste for a well-made cocktail, but isn't that likely to take off on a bar crawl in Brooklyn, this book is the perfect solution. It features 300 innovative and classic drink recipes from the best bars of the borough; every cocktail I've made so far has been killer. The drinks Carey Jones has selected aren't dumbed down at all, but, for the most part, you're not looking at mile-long ingredient lists, either.
Wooden pizza peels are too thick to easily slide under a pie once it's hit the oven; for that, you'll want a thin-bladed metal peel. A thin-gauge aluminum peel is just fine for the occasional baker, but it'll bend and warp eventually. If you're going to be making pizza multiple times a year for many years to come, you might want to spring for something heavy-duty. I use the KettlePizza Pro Peel, which has a thick-gauge aluminum body that extends fully past the solid teakwood handle.
Presto's Tilt-n-Fold model is very simple to set up and operate, and it has a compact design that makes it easy to store in kitchen cabinets when not in use. It has a large, smooth, nonstick cooking surface that heats mostly evenly, can be set at an angle to drain grease, and is easy to clean. We love the price, too.
The sleek and minimalist design of the Krups means it's easy to hold, handle, and store—perfect for anyone tight on space. Even without a removable bowl, cleanup is a cinch because spices never get trapped beneath the blade, and there are no unnecessary ridges or notches to clog with spices. The one-touch operation makes it easy to use, and it quickly yields a fine and consistent grind in both large, tough spices and smaller seeds.
The value-to-cost ratio on this lightweight model can’t be beat. It uses a pre-frozen, coolant-lined canister to chill down the ice cream base, eliminating the need for salt and ice or an expensive compressor. When properly frozen, the canister churns up in less time than any other model we tested, for creamy and smooth ice creams and other frozen desserts. This undemanding model has one button, a lid that easily snaps into place, and a small footprint for tight spaces.
A deft and nimble blade, Misono's UX10 is one of the lightest-weight knives we tested. It's razor-sharp right out of the box and handled every task we threw at it with ease, dicing an onion as if it were as soft as a blob of Jell-O and making paper-thin slices of smoked salmon as if the knife were a true slicer.
The Cuisinart is an easy-to-use, powerful blender that aced many of our tests. This model’s dashboard is intuitive, and it features a built-in timer that counts down for you or can be programmed to stop after a certain number of seconds.
No matter what your father likes to drink, it'll look good in these universal glasses from Iittala. They're big enough to accommodate a 12-ounce beer, his favorite cocktail, or a monster pour of wine...because it's Father's Day, and he deserves it.
Any dad who loves soft-boiled eggs deserves the perfect cup to eat them from. These sturdy stoneware Le Creuset cups come in a range of beautiful colors. They're totally classic, which is a good thing because they'll also last for generations to come.
At home, my mom usually does all the cooking, so when my dad takes a crack at dinner it's really an event. Without the burden of having cook every night, he's like a kid at an amusment park, gleefully breaking out the pressure cooker and dusting off the blow torch. The smoking gun will make the perfect addition to his rowdy dive into the culinary world. It allows you to easily smoke anything indoors with just the flip of a switch. Equipped with an assorment of wood chips, the smoking gun offers instant dad-fun right out of the box. I can see it now—there's probably going to be smoked dal along with smoked chana masala and smoked raitha at the next "dad" dinner.
This turmeric is as bright as a bar of gold, with a lovely, sleek label to match. Apart from the high-quality turmeric and nice packaging, the spice comes with a feel-good story: Diaspora Co. is run by queer women of color, and each jar purchased puts a much-higher-than-average amount of money back into the turmeric farmer’s hands.
The Japanese Culinary Academy has released a series of textbooks about Japanese cuisine and technique, and every one of them is gorgeous. It's the ideal gift for a dad with an interest in Japanese cooking.
Trying to get your dad to finally write down all those family recipes? This sleek Moleskin journal will get him organized and become a precious family heirloom in the process.
Marco Colzani is a great Italian bean-to-bar chocolate maker, with a number of excellent products under his brand, Amaro. But it's his spreads that have Ed addicted, particularly the Cacao Nocciole, or hazelnut-and-chocolate variety. Imagine a Nutella-like substance, but made with the freshest roasted hazelnuts and extra-chocolaty high-quality cocoa powder.
This cookbook by Julia Turshen, author of Small Victories and Feed the Resistance, is full of simple, delicious meals for everyday eating, parties, and holidays. Better yet, each one includes a bunch of suggestions for how to remake it as leftovers. It's a trove of great, creative ideas, and a must for any bookworm.
The Bonavita is one of the faster models we tested, and it earned high scores in nearly all of our tastings. A single switch governs all of its operations, making the brewing process incredibly simple.
If you've ever used a gas grill and grown frustrated with unfixable hot and cool spots and overall weak performance, this tool is for you. Made from hard anodized aluminum, the GrillGrate system sits directly on your existing grate, amplifying and evening out the heat, which allows for more even cooking, flare-up resistance, and exceptional sear marks.
Over the course of his career, Daniel has slowly built up a decent collection of both traditional and Western-style Japanese knives. Next on his list is a honesuki—a small, triangular butchery knife that tapers to a fine point. It's designed for breaking down chickens and other small pieces of meat. The blade isn't meant to cut through bone, but instead to deftly slide through meat and connective tissue, and carve its way between joints.
Dave Arnold (you might know of his bar, Booker and Dax in NYC) won't just accept the common assumptions about cocktail technique—his mission in this excellent book is to dig into the science of how the very best drinks are made. If your dad is the inquisitive type, and likes to host cocktail hour at home, this is a must-read for him.
Since I am now the best dad in the world, according to the bib I definitely did not buy my daughter, I get to pick something that I want for our Father's Day gift guide, and I want several bamboo steamers for my wok. They are useful for steaming, particularly large-ish things, like a whole (if small) fish, like a porgy or a diminutive sea bass. They are super useful! Easy to clean! I want it! Buy me it!
If you're looking for one definitive primer on pasta-making in its myriad forms, this is it: Superlative step-by-step photographs take the guesswork out of potentially intimidating fundamentals, like mixing and kneading dough, as well as more intricate tasks, like pleating teardrops of corn- and cheese-stuffed culurgiònes. Better yet, author Marc Vetri arms you with the tools and knowledge that allow for controlled, intelligent experimentation and exploration before sending you into the fray.
Proper seasoning is one of the most important parts of cooking, and if you're still using plain table salt from (heaven forbid!) a saltshaker, you're shooting yourself in the food. Using kosher salt from a salt cellar lets you feel exactly how much salt is getting into your food, whether it's a tiny pinch or a big ol' wallop.
A couple years ago, I managed to convince my wife of the necessity of buying a rice cooker. Not just any rice cooker: a Zojirushi. The only concession I was willing to make had to do with the size, since she wisely noted that we didn't have the counter space for any rice cooker at all, let alone the kind of rice cooker that I had in mind. So I bought a little guy that fits, max, three cups of rice, but really is only usable for about two and a half. She's since come around to the indisputable excellence of the cooker, and she loves everything about it, from the wonderful rice it makes to the "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" it plays when you turn it on.
There's a lot to be said for Baratza's entry-level Encore grinder, which comes in a lighter-weight, all-plastic housing. It packs the same motor as the more expensive Virtuoso, and it includes a slightly less effective burr set that grinds nearly as well as—and slightly more slowly than—the Virtuoso. Also worth knowing is you can upgrade the burr set in the Encore to the one made for the Virtuoso, if you do ever end up feeling like the Encore isn't quite cutting it.
Daniel's one-and-a-half-year-old son has a new and urgent interest in whatever's happening up on the kitchen counter that he can't see. He begs to be picked up, but that means Daniel can cook with only one hand, which, while kind of, sort of, maybe possible, is extremely difficult. Plus, the kid is heavy. It's time to add a learning tower to the kitchen so he can stand and watch, sometimes even help, while Daniel continues to get dinner ready. This one is great because it folds up for easy storage.
These days, I keep this solid slab of steel permanently atop one of the burners of my stove. One side has a pebbled surface—ideal for getting extra-crisp, better-than-a-baking-stone crust on homemade pizzas. And, unlike a baking stone, this thing is going to last forever. The griddle arrives as shiny steel, but with just a few uses, it seasons up into a dark, slick nonstick surface that Dad can use for pancakes, eggs, hamburgers, grilled cheese, and more.
Know someone who's interested in sous vide cooking? They're gonna want this. And it's handy for way more than just sous vide cooking. A vacuum sealer makes it really easy to save meats or other foods in the freezer, and it keeps air (read: freezer burn) off it all. The Oliso sealer uses a unique resealable-bag system, which means far less wasted plastic than a conventional cut-and-seal vacuum sealer.
Lighter fluid is fun to play with, but it can impart an off flavor to your food. A chimney starter is faster, cleaner, more efficient, and better for the environment. It's a tall metal cylinder with holes punched in it and a grate at the bottom for holding the charcoal. It works with the power of convection: When a lit newspaper is placed at the bottom, igniting the lowest coals, the hot air rises up, pulling fresh oxygen in through the vent holes and through the bottom. This constant supply of fresh oxygen, coupled with the fact that the metal efficiently reflects heat back toward the coals, means you require nothing more than a single piece of newspaper and a match to turn a full six quarts of coals into a roaring inferno within 20 minutes.
A good carbon steel 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 than cast iron, making it great for sautéing and searing everyday foods.
A pressure cooker is a cooking vessel that just keeps on giving: Once you discover the time-saving feats it's capable of, you'll never look back. The good ones aren't cheap, but man, is it ever worth having one. A countertop electric model gives you set-it-and-forget-it convenience. With the Breville Fast Slow Pro Cooker, not only do you have complete control over your pressure cooking (including any pressure level from 1.5 to 12 psi), you also have a slow cooker and a rice cooker built right in. It'll even sear meat for stews.
If you like your whiskey with a giant ice cube, then you'll really be into Mammoth Cubes—unlike ice cube trays from current competitor brands, these make eight cubes (not six) and are actually stackable, so they don't require a section unto themselves in your freezer.
This knife features an extremely sharp edge; a well-balanced, comfortable handle; and plenty of flexibility. It carves through roast turkey like butter, leaving very little meat stuck to the bones. It has a composite handle and a full tang to offer balance and support, with a bolster that is lightly angled and slim enough to make gripping the blade easy.
I don't mind baking with supermarket chocolate bars, but when it comes to snacking I'd rather spring for the good stuff—especially when it comes to my dad. He's decidedly a "bite of dark chocolate after dinner" kinda guy, which means every bite needs to count, and that's where this stack of single origin chocolates comes in. It's a fun way to explore the world of chocolate, and learn how different beans and countries of origin can impact its taste. Plus, I can steal some when he's not looking.
Mexico City is one of Sasha's favorite cities in the world, and he's traveled there a fair amount with his family. They always make sure to have lunch at Chef Gabriela Cámara’s restaurant Contramar when they're in the DF. Her food is bright, light, and absolutely delicious, and her newly published cookbook is everything.
Warning: Reading this book might lead to the purchase of some very expensive plane tickets. The Roads & Kingdoms crew will get you hungry for a journey to Japan, for onigiri basted with chicken fat, juicy one-bite gyoza, milky-white tonkotsu ramen broth, and briny sea urchin. Is Japan the best place on earth to eat? This book will convince you that it is.
Oxo's poultry shears include an easy to engage and disengage locking mechanism, a looped handle that won't allow greasy hands to slip when squeezing hard, and a take-apart hinge for thorough cleaning. But what really makes it our top pick is that it's one of the only pairs of shears we tested that can both snip through squirmy skin and cleave through bone. If poultry shears can't do that, you might as well not own a pair.
I have a problem with wooden spoons. I collect them like nobody's business. But there are a few I always turn back to, and this one, from Le Creuset, is one of them. It's gorgeous to look at; it has a flat front, which makes it great for scraping up fond or stirring vegetables; and it's got a smooth, ergonomic grip that makes using it a joy.
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.
If you're following my advice to buy someone julep cups, you might as well go all the way and grab a canvas Lewis bag, too: It's used to smash ice into a fine powder with a mallet. Unless, of course, the person you're buying for already has an ice crusher.
Wooden peels absorb excess moisture and have a rougher surface than metal, which means that your stretched and topped pizza dough will remain loose and easy to launch far longer, saving you from potential pizza-spilled-all-over-the-oven accidents. Though there are cheaper options around, I love my Perfect Peel Baker's Board, handcrafted to last a lifetime from gorgeous solid cherrywood. They'll even put your initials or logo on it if you'd like!
A good digital scale is an essential tool for bakers or home charcuterie makers. The OXO Food Scale comes with an easy-to-clean removable stainless steel weighing surface, great accuracy and precision, and a pullout backlit display to make measuring simple, even for large or unwieldy items.
A good grill basket should be durable, with a tight enough weave to allow very small foods to be cooked without risk of getting lost. Finally, it's worth hunting down one that's sizable enough to cook large batches of food in one go. One of our favorites is the simple Culina stainless steel basket. The metal mesh keeps even the smallest food items up on the grill grate where they belong. You can even toast or smoke nuts in it.
Ruhlman and Polcyn do a great job of demystifying one of the more abstruse cooking arts, and, while charcuterie may seem daunting, it can be gratifyingly easy. Start simple, with the pancetta, confit, rillettes, and duck prosciutto, and you'll find yourself with a mold-inoculated curing chamber in no time.
Make your own seltzer water at home with this easy-to-use unit. It comes equipped with LED indicators displaying three levels of carbonation and a BPA-free bottle that locks into the unit with no twisting, and it requires no batteries or electricity to operate. This model fits 14.5-ounce and three-ounce CO2 cylinders, which can be traded in for just the cost of the gas at your local hardware or home-goods store.
The OXO worked on every bottle and cork we tested it with. The two-step motion—push down, then pull up—yanks the cork out in about two seconds. Repeat the process, and the cork drops free of the opener. The capable foil cutter clips into the body of the tool.
Messy cooks—or germaphobes—will love this easy-to-use soap dispenser. Unlike some other models that have finicky settings, this Simple Human dispenser changes how much soap you get based on where your hands are: Keep them up high for just the right amount to wash your hands, or move them lower for enough to clean a few dinner plates.
In addition to making you look like Wolverine, shredder claws make quick work of pork butts (hello, pulled pork!), smoked chicken, smoked chuck roasts, and other meats, allowing you to tear the meat into shreds in no time. Sure, you could try doing it with forks, but you'd better have a lot of time on your hands.
This santoku from MAC's professional line is an absolute pleasure to use, no matter the task. It's lightweight, well balanced, sharp as can be, and comfortable to hold. It made perfect carrot cuts, broke down a chicken with ease, and filleted a whole fish as if it were a fish-shaped block of butter.
There's nothing worse than a hangry family member. Make sure Dad always has a snack on hand with this Mediterranean-themed gift box, brimming with Spanish snacks like chorizo, crunchy almonds, crackers, and fig cake.
Elazar's dad has always been into gardening, but recently he found a way to actually use all of the produce he grows. Since he got an Excalibur dehydrator a few years ago, he's put more or less everything he grows through it. That means Elazar gets sent bags of dehydrated tomatoes, apple and pear slices, and more. This is a great gift for any dads who love to garden—or make jerky! Plus, if you're lucky, you'll start getting gift baskets from them.
The Magimix impressed us with each slicing, chopping, grating, and puréeing test we tossed at it, especially with pizza dough, which it combined so well that no additional kneading was required.
One of our favorite recipes from the year thus far is Sasha's spaghetti con la colatura di alici. Conveniently, Gustiamo is selling a gift box based on the building blocks of the dish: a bottle of colatura, a bottle of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and a box of pasta, for a tasty gift indeed.
The Hydro Flask is designed to keep water cold for hours on end, but its vacuum-insulated walls don't discriminate between beverages: The 32-ounce flask can also accommodate a full bottle of wine, or a big batch of margaritas. It's ideal for picnics and trips to the beach, no matter what you're drinking.
Indoors, I prefer the control that a shorter, seven- or nine-inch set of tongs gives me. When flipping a dozen steaks over a blazing-hot fire, though, it's better to keep your distance. I use these OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Tongs at home, and their solid construction has lasted for a good six years of heavy (and I mean heavy) use so far.
Anyone who appreciates Scotch (or good spirits in general) will embrace Nikka's exquisite whiskies. The Taketsuru Pure Malt is named for the company's founder, who studied in Scotland before bringing whisky distilling back to Japan. This bottling has a slight fruity character, with lingering sherry on the finish.
I tested dozens of stovetop pressure cookers before settling on Kuhn Rikon's Duromatic. It has a heavy sandwiched-aluminum-and-steel base that gives you even heat and a pressure gauge that makes telling exactly how much pressure has built up inside visual and intuitive.
We wouldn't normally spend $9 on a bottle opener, let alone $95. But this beautiful creation from Craighill, made by Niki's good friend from college, is both sculptural and functional, just as the website proclaims. When it's not opening bottles, use it to decorate your coffee or dining table, or even as a paperweight on your desk.
After countless failed grilling mitts, we got ourselves a pair of welding gloves to use when grilling or smoking and never looked back. With great heat protection, dexterity, and construction, these are a necessity for every backyard cook.
After years of putting up with a cheap toaster that I picked up at the supermarket, I recently upgraded to this super fancy Italian job in cool mint. It's sleek design and soothing pastel color transform the kitchen's most boring appliance into a statement piece, and it really does a good job with the toast itself. Plus, I mean, it's really dang pretty. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to read this toaster's priceless reviews.
My good friend Jordana Rothman cowrote this thoughtful ode to tacos with chef Alex Stupak, and it's a must-have for anyone ready to take a deep dive into corn, masa, tortillas, and everything—modern and traditional—you can stuff into them.
A good pair of kitchen shears is one of those things that are hard to appreciate until you have them. Sure, there are all the obvious uses, like opening food packages with a snip and cutting up poultry, but that's just the start. Take another look at those things. Yes, that's right, they're also a nutcracker. Aha, yup, and a bottle opener. Did you see the flathead screwdriver built into them? Handy, right? Oh, they can also be used to unscrew stubborn jar tops. They're way more than just a pair of scissors. Plus, the two blades come fully apart, so you can wash them really well—no icky chicken juice hiding in the recesses. Isn't avoiding salmonella poisoning a gift worth giving?
If you love to cook and host parties, you'll know that a lot of prep time is spent on your feet. Why not make at least the cooking part a bit more comfortable with one of these gel mats? It'll provide some nice cushion under your feet, so when it's time to put on your party shoes, you'll be ready.
On a recent trip to Portugal, I discovered this line of homemade jams and honey. Worried that I'd never find them again, I brought 12 tubes home. Turns out you can buy them online, too. The packaging is beautiful and the product will revolutionize your cheese plate with flavors like pumpkin and orange jam with rosemary, fig jam with port wine, and apple jam with cinnamon.
If your dad likes to be on the cutting edge of what's cool, impress him with a whole type of spirits he may not have tried. Raicilla is distilled from agave, like tequila and mezcal, but few people have heard of it, since it only entered American markets in 2014. Sierra de Jalisco has a vibrant acidity, with earthy-fruity-vegetal elements playing around it. If Dad's a fan of funky mezcals, he'll enjoy raicilla's incredible complexity.
A bean is a bean is a bean. Or is it? Once you go down the rabbit hole of eating quality dried beans (after they're cooked, of course—raw dried beans aren't so great), you'll fall in love with their variety of flavors, textures, and colors. Some are starchy, some are nutty, some are earthy, and some are slightly sweet. Rancho Gordo is one company that sells some really cool ones to try. You won't look at dried beans the same way again.
If you're dead set on a traditional German knife profile—characterized by a more curved blade that's bigger and heavier than the Japanese options—the Wüsthof Classic continues to be a stalwart. It weighs more than most of the other knives tested, giving it a solid and sturdy feel, but it still handles well and has a sharp edge.
In this book, Meathead Goldwyn, the founder of AmazingRibs.com, distills decades of research on the art and science of barbecue and grilling into a single volume that shows not just the best ways to take food to live fire, but why the techniques work. Far more than a recipe book alone (though there are tons of bulletproof recipes), this text will teach Dad the hard-tested fundamentals of outdoor cooking, giving him the confidence to cook anything, even without a recipe. The myth-busting and equipment tips alone were enough to get me hooked.
Dad keeps his kitchen spotless because even just one crumb will summon all those Florida critters. This handheld vacuum (which I have, use, and swear by myself) ensures zero crumbs left behind, whether it's hanging in that small space under the dishwasher or the crevice between the stove and the cabinets.
After previously lauding Aerogardens for how easy they make it to grow herbs at home (and how having a constant supply of fresh herbs has changed her cooking), Ariel's upgraded to this larger system from Miracle-Gro. The increased size—it's about as big as a side table—and bright lights allow you to grow a bounty of lettuces, herbs, and other greens, and you can program the app to turn the lights off and on according to your schedule. An expensive but excellent gift for anyone who loves fresh produce and fears their own black thumbs.
Grill brushes come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but for a tool that sees so much use, I find it hard to justify spending a huge amount of money. This simple, heavy-duty wire-style grill brush has served me well for years, and if it ever wears out, well, it's cheap enough to replace.
A high-speed hand blender is great for whipping up silky soups and purées, making emulsions like mayonnaise and Hollandaise, or smoothing out sauces, all right in the pot. No need to dirty up an extra blender jar!
Cooking with fresh herbs makes every recipe better. Cooking with fresh herbs that you grew all by yourself makes life better. The AeroGarden takes the guesswork out of growing herbs inside, with an automated light to keep your parsley and thyme thriving and weekly reminders for water and nutrients. Just prepare yourself for epic amounts of basil.
Having The Cocktail Chronicles at your side is like having a friend who always knows a good drink recipe for whatever you've got on hand. It doesn't talk your ear off or suggest something with a dozen ingredients. Instead, it shares classics, recent spins on classics, and drinks you've never heard of but can easily mix up and enjoy, and the introductions are never preachy or boring. This book will appeal to full-on cocktail fanatics and newbies alike; there's something delicious on every page.
Baratza's Virtuoso coffee grinder is routinely picked by pros as the home grinder to beat and for good reason: Its well-made conical burrs produce a wide range of grind sizes, the results are consistent, the machine is solidly built from both metal and plastic, and it's all backed up by good customer service.
This small 2-quart saucepan is perfect for making and warming sauces, cooking small portions of grain, and heating liquids.
The Blackstone is the oven of choice for high-output, rapid cooking, as it takes very little time to preheat and recover, pumping out pie after pie at a nonstop clip. Users who are comfortable making frequent mechanical repairs and adjustments, and who care more about speed than about versatility and aesthetics, will be happy with this one.
It's not exactly cheap, but this burr grinder does an admirable job of grinding coffee for espresso, pourover, or drip, all at a significantly lower price point than similarly performing competitors.
Surprisingly, many of the portable pellet smokers out there still have an antiquated LMH controller, while Davy Crockett employs Green Mountain's advanced digital touch-pad controller, with an integrated meat thermometer that lets you check internal meat temp with the flick of a switch.
If you've ever been given a homemade birthday cake, return the favor by buying your favorite baker this iconic cake stand. Its heavy base keeps cakes secure and makes all types of decorating techniques a breeze.
There's form, and then there's function. The aprons from Tilit are great on both fronts. Made from waxed cotton, they offer breathability along with water resistance, but they're also damned handsome. Several NYC restaurants have commissioned custom apron designs from the company for their chefs and cooks, and I'm pretty psyched to wear one of these bad boys at home, too.
If our rice cooker got it on with a Roomba, we imagine their offspring might look a bit like the new Breville Crispy Crust countertop pizza oven. It's a new plug-and-go appliance that promises "professional brick-oven results right in your own kitchen," for about $150.
In the inexpensive-thermometer department, the ThermoPop is the new kid on the block, but he comes in an impressive package. An easy-to-read display rotates at the touch of a button, so you don't have to twist your head to read it. It takes a few seconds longer to read temperatures than its big brother, the Thermapen, but it's every bit as accurate.
Indian food has a reputation for being difficult and time-consuming, with hard-to-find ingredients and new techniques. I get it. It's intimidating. But in this book, Serious Eater Denise D'silva Sankhé breaks Indian cooking down into simple techniques that any home cook can master to produce amazingly flavorful dishes with minimal effort. Over the course of more than 100 recipes, Denise introduces us to simple cooking from every region of India, focusing on home-style dishes that move well beyond the world of curries. I'm also super stoked that she includes notes with every recipe on whether it's vegan, vegetarian, and/or allergy-friendly.
Since first getting his hands on a jar of this pistachio spread, Sasha hasn't shut up about it. Made from Sicilian pistachios, olive oil, sugar, and sea salt, it's sweet, slightly salty, incredibly creamy, and just flat-out delicious. While it's not cheap, this is one of those specialty products that are actually worth the price tag, and it makes a great gift. Spread it on bread, drizzle it over ice cream, or just eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar.
Not only do magnetic knife strips save space, they also look pretty badass hanging on your wall. They'll keep your knives from rubbing up against other utensils, which can make them dull (and can be dangerous, too).
A great mandoline will rapidly make photo-worthy cuts of your favorite vegetables, whether it's thin slices of radishes for a salad or potatoes for a gratin. This basic OXO slicer has three thickness settings and perches over a bowl to easily catch the slices as they fall.
No pasta machine? No problem. This book is devoted to the art of handcrafted Italian dumplings, from yeasty, spindle-shaped cecamariti to classic gnocchi to golden-brown parallelograms of deep-fried crescentine. If the adage "practice makes perfect" fills you with excitement rather than dread, this is the kind of book that will make you utterly determined to prevail.
Warning: Reading this book might lead to the purchase of some very expensive plane tickets. The Roads & Kingdoms crew will get you hungry for a journey to Japan: for onigiri basted with chicken fat, juicy one-bite gyoza, milky-white tonkotsu ramen broth, and briny sea urchin. Is Japan the best place on earth to eat? This book will convince you that it is.
Race relations, religion, the New South versus the Old: These are just a smattering of the heavy issues Rien Fertel writes about through the lens of—well—smoked meat in this new book. And, while you might be thinking, "Oh, man, another book about barbecue?", this one stands out from the crowd thanks to Fertel's superb writing and storytelling skills. In a book that's part culinary history, part personal narrative, and part tale of an American road trip, Fertel travels throughout the South, documenting the men who have long stood behind the fires practicing the time-consuming pursuit of whole hog barbecue—the ones who have been keeping alive the embers of what once seemed like a dying art, and the ones who are inspiring a new generation of pitmasters today.
If Dad finds Scotch too smoky, bourbon too sweet, and rye too spicy, Irish whiskey is the ideal gift. Redbreast emerges from the barrels complex and substantial; some of the whiskey is aged in sherry casks, lending it a weight and dark hue, while some is aged in bourbon casks, imparting characteristic vanilla flavors. There's a hint of fruit up front and spice on the finish.
It can be easy to brush off appearances as unimportant, but tableside presentation is a big part of a baking dish’s appeal. If you want excellent performance combined with a handsome and classic design that will look great on your holiday table (or on your Instagram account), Staub is your best bet. This heavyweight dish heats evenly in the oven at temperatures up to 575°F (300°C) and has great heat retention, keeping food hotter longer when you're serving. The generous four-quart capacity is ideal for large roasts and extra-deep casseroles.
This pitcher arrives sangria-ready. The pinched spout is a genius detail that keeps all the fruit and ice from splashing into your glass, and when it's not filled with sangria, it can be used as a vase. We love a two-fer!
A New York Times best seller! The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt is his column from this very website, blown up to 900-plus pages (and seven-plus pounds) of concentrated culinary science. Gorgeous color photos, detailed how-tos, and elaborate explainers cover ingredients, technique, gear, and the secrets of the universe underneath it all. May include puns.
Thanks to a few simple innovations in the filter and beaker design, this French press fixes a few of the brewing device's biggest drawbacks. The result is a cleaner batch of coffee that won't accidentally over-steep.
The New York–made gin is distilled from wheat and apples, resulting in a faint but perceptible dried-apple character alongside prominent juniper and cardamom—an exciting dimension that works especially well in cocktails.
I'll admit it: I'm a pepper mill snob. I need my mill to produce a shower of evenly crushed peppercorns. I want to be able to control the size of those grains, from a rough crush to a fine powder. Not only that, I want my pepper mill to last. With a solid metal burr and a unique, easy-to-load design, this is my favorite pepper mill of all time.
The Cadillac of kitchen thermometers is indispensable when roasting meat, cooking steaks, making candy, deep-frying, or at any other time precise temperature control is needed. With a big display and a blazing-fast measuring time of under two seconds, you won't find a better, easier-to-use thermometer out there.
The Smoke is designed for grillers and barbecuers, but it’s a precise two-probe thermometer that can be calibrated and is just as handy indoors. Use the meat probe to gauge the temperature inside a roast and the ambient probe to track the smoker or grill’s temperature.
With both parts made of rock-solid granite, the Thai mortar and pestle is (literally) a heavy hitter, and arguably the most versatile type of large mortar and pestle you can own. Its heft and weight, especially when combined with the stone-on-stone action that the all-granite build provides, make it ideal for one of its intended uses: making a Thai curry paste.
Burrough's Reserve is a rare thing indeed: a gin you can enjoy neat. It's distilled in founder James Burrough's original copper pot still, then rested in barrels that once held the aromatic aperitif wine Lillet, picking up a light straw color and a touch of oak. The barrel-aging mellows the familiar juniper-citrus character of Beefeater just a bit, for a spirit that's smooth and satisfying. It makes a superior Martini or Vesper, but it may be at its most appealing served solo in a chilled glass.
Take it from us: Living in hot urban apartments makes storing age-worthy wines nearly impossible, unless you don't mind risking the life of a pricey Burgundy by putting it through years of extreme temperature swings. Anyone with an interest in building even a modest collection of special-occasion bottles should get a wine fridge. It's a small investment that protects your real investment.
I'm a sucker for bentos, tiffins, and other tidy ways to carry lunch to the office, and the fact that I don't technically have an office to carry lunch to anymore has only slightly dampened my enthusiasm. This two-layer tiffin is neat and attractive without being too cutesy, and it's small enough that it won't occupy too much space in a shared fridge. In the warmer months, it'll do just as well for packing sandwiches and individual portions of salad or fresh fruit for a picnic.
The Instant Pot Duo60 is a fantastic value and performed almost as well as the top pick among countertop pressure cookers we tested. It's easy to use, the company has a reputation for great customer service, and there's an avid and helpful community of users online to boot.
Snow Leopard stands out among vodkas for its texture—distilled from spelt, it's fuller-bodied and richer-tasting than most vodkas. It makes for a pleasantly weighty martini.
The Spirit E330 was introduced last year to replace the E320. The two models are identical except that the 330 adds a 7,500-BTU sear burner between the left and middle main burners. Sear burners are one of our favorite extras for gas grills. You'll love turning this baby up to 11 when searing steaks and burgers.
Brisket is Texas's best-known contribution to barbecue culture, and though you can now get slow-smoked brisket in just about every major American city, you still need to go to the source to get brisket so good it will make you cry. But if you can't make it to Texas, ordering Louie Mueller's is the next best thing. The Muellers have been smoking the stuff since 1949. The key here? They ship the whole brisket, which means you get plenty of the critically important fatty half. Why is it critically important? Because we all know that fat IS flavor. Phone orders only: (512) 352-6206.
Like a pretty Bundt pan, a beautiful cake stand has an aesthetic value of its own, even without a cake—but present it with your giftee's favorite cake on top, and it will also be a nice reminder of the day.
There are enough coffee-brewing devices on the market to drive a person crazy, but it's hard to beat a quality pourover brewer like this Japanese one. It's compact and solid, making it ideal for home or the office, and it brews a mean cup of coffee. It claims to make two to four servings, but we find it's perfect for a full 12-ounce single cup, too (note that you need these filters for it).
Why give your dad one Scotch when you can give him three? This gift set includes three 100-milliliter bottles. A combination of 10 vintages from 1989 through 2007, the Vintage Reserve is mellow and fruity, the range of young and older whiskies contributing both bright, fresh citrus on the one hand and rich, oaky elements on the other. Sherry Cask (aged, as the name might suggest, in used sherry butts) leans toward dried fruit, and the Bourbon Cask (aged in bourbon barrels) toward creamy vanilla.
The ChefSteps Joule is the smallest circulator on the market. It's sleek, compact design fits in a drawer and it heats quickly and accurately. It has the advantage of the ChefSteps community and legacy content built into its app, though its one downside is that it requires a smartphone or tablet along with a registered account to operate.
For the last few years, I've taken to buying my dad a nice bottle of whiskey for most special occassions. This year, I'll be staying on theme, but changing things up by giving him something a bit longer lasting. This whiskey set from Snowe is durable and elegant, and I know it'll get serious use in the years to come.
I've used many, many oyster knives in my life, and the R. Murphy Duxbury knife is my hands-down favorite. It has a fat, grippy handle that's easy to wield, and a short blade that tapers to a point and always manages to find the sweet spot on an oyster's hinge. Pop! The slightly sharpened blade edges make slicing through the muscle and removing the top shell as smooth as butter.
My dad lives in Florida and never drinks enough water. These little tumblers seem like the perfect compromise to get him to drink just enough to not get totally dehydrated every day. And if he refuses to fill them with water, at least he can use them for alcoholic beverages. The final plus: They stack, so they won't take up too much space in his cabinets.
I've never been to Zahav, the Philadelphia restaurant where Michael Solomonov serves his Israeli cuisine, but its namesake book has nevertheless changed the way I cook. If Dad still cooks the occasional meal for you, you might point him toward the hummus tahini recipe, which includes a novel technique for incorporating garlic and lemon that alone is worth the price of admission. I've loved the Yemenite beef soup (and the accompanying hot sauce), his wide focus on vegetarian-friendly dishes, and a host of homemade condiments that will elevate almost any meal, even if you don't follow the full recipes from the book.
Sant’Eustachio is a coffee-bar institution in the center of Rome, and it's where Sasha's life as a coffee drinker began when he was a kid. The baristi at Sant’Eustachio perform coffee alchemy at espresso machines outfitted with custom-made metal partitions that keep their methods secret from curious onlooking customers. He always tries to bring back a bag of Sant’Eustachio coffee for his father every time he visits the Eternal City, but now he can just order some online. How convenient!
A premixed 2:1 rye-vermouth Manhattan with a few dashes of bitters, this stuff spends three months aging in used rye barrels, which integrates the flavors and adds a touch of woody character to the drink. Give it a quick stir over ice for chill and dilution, spray an orange twist on top, and you've got a drink worthy of any cocktail bar—no barrel required.
At drink o'clock, wefind myself turning to this app. Enter all the bottles you have at home when you start, and the app will tell you all of the drinks you can make, with recipes straight from New York's famous PDT cocktail lounge. You can also search for drinks of a certain type or cocktails created by a favorite bartender, and save favorites for making again. (To give an app as a gift, look for the arrow to the right of the "buy" icon.)
Few things get me as excited as a good raw bar, but most of the time, I eat far fewer than I want because, after the first couple dozen oysters or so, it just gets to be too expensive. That's even truer when the oysters are top-notch, like the briny little suckers from Island Creek up in Massachusetts. But here's the good news: You can order Island Creek's oysters online by the 50- or 100-count for much less than they cost at most restaurants and have them in your hands the next day for an at-home shucking extravaganza. (Obviously, it helps to learn to shuck first.)
The Breville produces crispy brown waffles the fastest and with the most consistent color of all the batches we tested, making it the best option if you prefer thinner waffles. Although it only makes one waffle at a time, it reheats and cooks rapidly, so you can crank out waffle after waffle with ease. The built in drip tray, non stick surface, and minimal design keeps clean up effortless.
When it comes to portioning pizza, a knife simply won't cut it. At least, not if you don't want to drag cheese and toppings all over the place. For my money, nothing beats a traditional pizza wheel.
This remarkable book, from Martin and Rebecca Cate of San Francisco's Smuggler’s Cove, traces the birth and evolution of exotic drinks and tiki bars—bars that embodied an American escapist fantasy. A lively exploration of our country's drinking history (and the current tiki scene), it's essential reading for rum lovers, offering the best categorization of the headspinning-ly diverse spirit that I've encountered. The Mai Tai recipe is great, too.
The Roccbox is an incredible little oven with simple, reliable operation, whether you're using gas, wood, or charcoal to fire it. It consistently hits wood-fired-oven temperatures and maintains them for as long as you are cooking, with no fussing or babysitting, which means Dad can spend more time enjoying pizza with his friends and family and less time coddling a temperamental flame.
Aprons get all the attention, but they don't protect your clothes nearly well enough, leaving large swaths of sleeves and shoulders exposed to spatters and stains. You could always put on a shirt you don't care too much about before donning an apron, but a protective work coat like this keeps your clothes safe without requiring a complete costume change.
This meat cleaver has a well-balanced weight, sharp edge, and solid construction—a boon since a lot of more-affordable cleavers like this one feel very cheap and after repeat use get wobbly around the handle.
There are a lot of custom-designed pizza ovens out there in various price ranges. I reviewed a bunch of them, and one of my favorites was the Uuni 3. It consists of a small stainless steel box with a pizza stone set inside it. You load up a hopper on the rear of the unit with wood pellets, light it up with a torch or lighter fluid, and let it preheat. About 15 minutes later, you're ready to cook. This little powerhouse hits temperatures in excess of 900°F and bakes up Neapolitan-sized pizzas in just 60 to 90 seconds.
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.
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.
Fancy olive oil always makes a good gift, but there's a difference between fancy olive oil and good fancy olive oil. The house oil from Frankies 457 Sputino in Brooklyn is delicious (i.e. great on fresh bread and in dishes), is DOC cerified, and comes in a nice tin that prevents the light from spoiling the product.
I don't often recommend single-function items, but for the cocktail enthusiast, a couple of julep cups really are fun to have. There's nothing like holding that metal cup frosted with ice on a blisteringly hot summer day—glass just doesn't pull the effect off in the same way. If the recipient doesn't have an ice crusher, check out my Lewis bag suggestion as well.
Friends have toted bottles of this fantastic gin back from Barcelona, but now you can buy it in the US. Macerated with Arbequina olives, thyme, rosemary, and basil, along with cardamom and coriander, it's remarkably creamy, savory, and spicy. It makes for a wonderfully aromatic Martini and a super-complex, earthy G&T.
This is hands down the KitchenAid attachment I use most often. It takes all of the frustration and fussiness out of making fresh pasta, and, unlike the manual alternatives out there, it's incredibly easy and efficient to operate on your own. Hello, homemade ravioli!
A quality spatula and tongs are essential for good grilling. Seek out ones with long handles, such as OXO's two-piece grilling set, to keep your fingers as far from the heat as possible. The nearly flat, scalloped edge on the OXO tongs is especially appealing—it's extra easy to slide the tongs under meat, vegetables, and other ingredients on the grill.
While you can get it brewing with just the push of a button, the Breville offers layer upon layer of fine-tuned control for the coffee geek who wants to tweak brew variables. Finishing near the top of our taste tests, this spendy machine allows you to control brew-water temperature and time and the blooming phase. It can also make cold brew, and it’s compatible with popular pourover devices like the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave.
Waffles are a pretty big deal in my family, and my dad knows full well that when I gift him kitchen equipment, I plan to use it whenever I come to visit (whether that's buttermilk waffles on a whim, or a well-timed batch of yeast raised waffles on Christmas morning). Plus, my dad's no stranger to the kitchen, so that iron will see plenty of use through the years.
I can't tell you how many times I burn bread crumbs or forget about the nuts I'm toasting in the oven. At least, I used to. That was all before I got myself a couple of these easy-to-use, loud kitchen timers that I can hang around my neck, so I never forget about something in the kitchen, even if I leave the room.
REC TEC offers high-quality pellet smokers featuring excellent digital controllers and sturdy construction. With a 40-pound pellet hopper, a 680-square-inch cook surface, and nine inches of headroom, the REC TEC 680 is a large, smartly constructed pellet smoker. It also looks awesome.
A combo cooker is the key to getting a gorgeous, shattering crust on homemade bread. It acts as its own little steam chamber, like what you'd find in a professional bread oven, and it costs way less than a kitchen renovation.
There's no such thing as too many serving bowls, and this simple two-tone piece goes with virtually everything. At 11.5 inches across, it's the perfect size for dad's favorite side dishes; in my house, it's go-to for salads, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and pasta.
A good gift for dads who are knife-curious, a nakiri is a double-beveled knife typically used just for slicing vegetables. This one is all carbon steel, so it's easy to sharpen on a whetstone and holds its edge well. On the other hand, it's susceptible to rust, so it needs to be dried after each use and periodically wiped down with mineral oil. Given its price point, this nakiri is perfect for a cook who wants to experiment with specialty Japanese knives or with caring for a non–stainless steel blade.
Espresso cups make a nice gift on their own for coffee fiends. But when they're Le Creuset, they're even better—mostly because everything from the French heritage brand is aesthetically pleasing and built to last. Oh, and these cups might be the most affordable Le Creuset pieces on the market. So, if you want in on the trend for a moderate price, they make a good starter item.
This hand-blown and -etched mixing glass from Japan looks stunning on a bar cart and even better in action, whether you're stirring a Negroni, a Martini, or a Manhattan. Mixing glasses made from two parts joined together sometimes split at the seam, but this version, made in one piece with a beaker-like spout, can stand up to heavy use.
Daniel's owned these terra cotta dishes in several sizes for many years now. They're attractive enough to go straight from the oven to the table, and versatile enough to be used as baking dishes for cooked foods or as serving dishes for snacks when you're hosting guests.
The great thing about buying a meat grinder attachment is that you already know that the hardest-working part of your grinder—the motor—is going to be a workhorse that can power through even the toughest grinding projects. Stand mixer attachments are a great option if you make a lot of sausage. You can grind the meat directly into the bowl, then attach the bowl to the machine and immediately start mixing it with the paddle to develop protein. It's a real time-saver.
Cynar (pronounced chee-NAHR) is often identified by the artichoke on the label, but that's just one of the many flavors you'll find in this complex liqueur. And, while we're fans of the rich, sweet, and vegetal 1950s original, we're really excited about the new Cynar on the block. Cynar 70 is 35% alcohol instead of 16.5%, and the extra booze makes a marked difference, rendering the liqueur a bit less sweet and accentuating its bold, spicy flavors. If Dad likes Negronis or other bitter drinks, this is a great choice for a gift.
Made from whiskeys averaging 10 to 12 years in age, this bottling is all vanilla and toffee in the aroma but spice and char on the finish. It's sophisticated and eminently drinkable.