Holiday Gifts for Hardcore Kitchen Nerds, or, Enough with the dish towels and painted pie plates already


by Heather Harris Brady

I know, I know, enough with the gift posts already! But I promise you, no pretty junk or one-trick gadgets. These are all gifts that any hardcore kitchen nerd would love – plus they would be hard to make yourself. I didn’t get compensated for any of these mentions in any way either BTW.  . .

1) An oak barrel (pictured above)I started making my own vinegar this year and it is so, so easy (topic of a future post). If I’m going to take my vinegar skillz to the next level though I’m going to need a way to age it, preferably in wood. I found good prices here. If you’re not into vinegar you could use it to age ciders and other drinkables.


2) A fermenting crock

When I was little our basement was full of pickle crocks, but you never see them much anymore. Great for kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut – a heavyweight crock is a pickler’s best friend. Plus, fermented foods are REALLY good for you, with lots of probiotic qualities. You can find crocks, along with lots of other awesome things, at Lehman‘s.

3) Cultures

Once you’ve started an heirloom yogurt or sourdough culture you can keep it going as long as you want, an endless supply! If you don’t know anyone who has a culture to give you, you can buy an amazing range of them here at Cultures for Health.


4) A Kaffir lime tree

Anyone who loves Asian food would be thrilled with their own Kaffir lime.  The leaves are used in curries and they give you this beautiful pure flavor that goes so well with the spices. I’ve gotten lucky and found frozen leaves at times, but a lime tree is forever! In cold climates you’ll have to bring it inside in the winter.

5) Gift cards/certificates

If you’re going the gift card route you can make it count by giving a gift card or certificate to Kalustyans or Barry Farm. Kalustyans has an astounding array of spices and international specialty items, and the extensive list on their website is an easy way for a cook to lose a good hour or more browsing the selections. Barry Farm has a really nice broad selections of ingredients in bulk, including specialty baking ingredients and gluten free, at lower prices than you’re likely to elsewhere.

6) For the cook who has everything: an immersion circulator

For those of you ready to jump out of the frying pan and into the sous-vide water, there’s a nice Nomiku circulator on the market at $300 here.

That’s it, short and sweet! Back tomorrow with a fruitcake post.

One year ago: Apricot Ginger Biscotti


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