A good steak knife should cut steak well, and it should look good while doing it. French-made Laguiole knives are the gold standard in performance, with extra-sharp edges for easy cutting, a long life, and gorgeous handles with distinctive bee-shaped bolsters. (Beware of inexpensive knockoffs!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I wouldn't recommend carbon steel knives for most folks, since they require more care and are prone to rusting. But if for the cook who's already into their knives and wants to work on improving their sharpening skills, this is the ultimate present. It's one of my personal favorites, and it takes a razor-sharp edge more easily than just about any other knife I've sharpened in my life (that's a lot of knives of all types!). This particular length is on the shorter side for a chef's knife; I like it for how deft and nimble it feels in my hand, but Misono makes this same one in larger sizes as well, in case that's more appealing. Just keep in mind: the longer a knife blade gets, the more skill required to sharpen it well.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
It's hard to find a better curated food selection than Zingerman's. They are righteous folks, they know seriously delicious food when they come across it, and they sell it at a fair price. Nothing in the catalog is cheap, but then again, good food rarely is. So whether you order cheese or olive oil or bread from Zingerman's, you can be confident you're going to be very happy when it arrives at your house.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coffee and tea just feel more luxurious in this pretty handmade mug from Portland's Mazama Wares. We 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.
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.
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.
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.
High-quality Swedish steel and Japanese design, along with great features like a perfectly balanced handle and blade and an ergonomic bolster, make the Misono UX10 Santoku the most used knife in my arsenal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This line of serveware features hand-painted ceramics with gold detailing—nothing too flashy, but special enough to dress up a meal. The size of this bowl is perfect for side dishes, like roasted Brussels sprouts or mashed potatoes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the holy grail of inexpensive chef's knives: incredible quality and design, high-end materials, perfect balance, and a razor-sharp edge.
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.
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.
This is one of the more complex vanillas Stella's come across. It has the same grassy, vegetal aroma of a freshly split vanilla bean with a flavor that's both earthy and deep. It's a double fold vanilla, which means you can get away with using half as much in your favorite recipes—something worth remembering when you consider the cost.
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.
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.
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.
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!
My mom's signature dish is her homemade lefse, a Norwegian potato flatbread, rolled gauze-thin and cooked on a round griddle at a blazing hot heat. Her old one has finally crapped out after many years of service, and I want to treat her to the best model on the market. If Dad's not into the Scandi thing, he can use this griddle to make crepes, injera, or regular old pancakes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.