Journal entries from December 2013

2013 Gift Guide: This Year's Publication

There's still time to send a subscription......

Every year at about this time, when it's getting pretty close to Christmas and you're still out there desperately seeking appropriate presents, I suggest a magazine subscription.

Last year it was Modern Farmer and Fool. (And if you're not acquainted with these fascinating publications, I suggest you remedy the situation.) The year before it was the now extremely famous Lucky Peach. The mere fact that these passionate independent magazines exist makes me incredibly happy. But this year's suggestion makes me happiest of all.

In light of the flap about the Time Magazine food issue debacle - "The Gods of Food" - which utterly ignored the contribution of women in the kitchen, it's nice to know there's a magazine celebrating both women and food. And what a magazine!  It's beautiful. It's well-written. And it's always interesting.

If you know a woman who's involved with food (and is there anyone who doesn't?) the biannual Cherry Bombe would make a perfect present. 




2013 Gift Guide: Future Perfect

When was the last time you had a perfect peach?

A peach so powerful that its fragrance filled your kitchen. A peach so tender that juice was running down your cheeks with the very first bite. A peach so satisfying that the flavor lingered, long after you'd tossed the pit away. 

Modern peaches are a pretty dispiriting lot. They're so hard that an entire generation thinks of peaches as a crisp and crunchy fruit.  And so lacking in fragrance that the seductive perfume of a peach had become an extremely rare experience.  

But real peaches still exist.  The best I've found come from Frog Hollow Farm.  They're seasonal, of course, you have to wait until summer. But right now you can send the promise of peaches to your favorite friends.  I can't think of a better present. 


Frog Hollow's peach program promises to pick each of 6 varieties as they hit the peak of their season, and pack them so carefully that they arrive in perfect condition. In my experience, they always do; each time I've opened the box the aroma has staggered me. 

$300 is a lot of money for a few peaches. On the other hand, what you're really buying is a taste of the quickly vanishing past.  And that, I think, is priceless.


2013 Gift Guide: The Winter Solstice

Adopt an olive tree?  I posted this last year, and I still think it's an incredibly cool idea. 

Here’s how it works: You go to a beautiful website and scroll through the various orchards on offer. There are more than a dozen in Le Marche, Abruzzo and Sicily, with a picture of each, a little biography of the olive farmer, and a description of the oil they make. You choose the orchard you want, and “adopt” one of the olive trees.  They, in turn, send you the oil from your olives when it’s pressed.  (The next olive oil will be shipped in the spring.) 

This is, in essence, an international CSA (community supported agriculture), a way to collaborate with a farmer, become part of his farm. It offers the consumer a way to participate in the creation of a product, while providing financial security to the farmer.

Best of all - you can go visit your tree and meet the farmer.  Hard to think of a better excuse to visit rural Italy. 

There's still time; a gift costs $69, and you can print the certificate out immediately. 

In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I’ve still never done this. But I'm posting it again in hopes that one of my friends will get the hint.



Gift Guide 2013: Still Time.....



Say cheese. You can't do it too often. 

I'm repeating myself here, but since I first posted this gift, 4 years ago, it's become much easier to find. And I still think these cheese papers make a fantastic gift: it's impossible to have too many. 

Here’s the problem: If you love cheese as much as I do, you always buy too much. Then you watch it wither away in your refrigerator, dying a slow and horrible death. In order to protect it, you need to wrap it away from all the aggressive odors that inhabit your refrigerator, waiting to pounce. But plastic or foil simply suffocate your cheese. Waxed paper is less lethal – it allows it to breathe – but offers little in the way of protection. If you want to make your cheese happy, this is the answer. 

Somebody once brought me a package of cheese papers, and it changed my life; I’ve been grateful ever since. I’m pretty sure your friends will feel the same.

A package costs $9, and they're available in all sorts of supermarkets (even Safeway!), kitchenware shops (Sur La Table) and gourmet emporiums (Dean & DeLuca).  And while you're at it, buy some for yourself. You won't regret it. 


2013 Gift Guide: The Christmas Spirit

I love food people.  I’ve always thought it was impossible to be a great cook and have a mingy soul. Yesterday, Luis Weiss proved that once again on her blog, The Wednesday Chef. 

I’ll let you read Luisa’s description of what moved her to auction off her fascinating collection of cookbooks (many are signed first editions). But if you don’t tear up, at least a little, on reading her words I’m betting you’re not much of a cook.  

The auction is truly in the Christmas spirit. After reading Luisa’s blog I threw in the last hardcover copy that I’ve got of my first cookbook, Mmmmm: A Feastiary (1972).

(They only printed 3500 hardcover copies, and they’re almost impossible to find.) I’ll sign it - and match whatever the winning bid is.  

There's lots of great stuff here, and Luisa's throwing in a copy of her own wonderful book, My Berlin Kitchen, to anyone who spends $50. The auction ends tomorrow.

I just wish I’d come up with this notion on my own.  



2013 Gift Guide: Put This in Your Pipe


I’m kind of surprised they did not write “Ceci n’est pas une asiette,” across one of these Magritte plates, but on second thought it would have subverted the entire purpose.  

Because they are, of course plates. Brightly colored. Endlessly absurd. Entirely amusing. And at $16 apiece ($14.40  if you’re a member of MOMA), they take care of an entire range of people on your gift list. Smokers. Apple-fanciers. Peaceniks. Wearers of hats. Security freaks. Collectors of giraffes. Not to mention anyone who ever saw a Magritte painting and was stopped cold in his tracks. 

Not interested in plates?  You might want to consider this very appealing chalk board:


Order today and you're still in time for standard shipping ($6.95 flat rate) to get your gift there in time for Christmas. Wait til tomorrow, and shipping charges go up. 


2013 Gift Guide: Cooking the Books

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Lots of people sell vintage cookbooks, and I spend too much time trolling through the sites. Favorites include Bonnie Slotnick ( in New York and Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

But The Cook's Bookcase was new to me, and I appreciate the quirkiness of the collection. And, I might add, the fairness of the prices.  I can think of at least a dozen people who’d be thrilled to get a signed first edition of a James Beard book - but I’ve rarely found one that I could afford.

 At $90, this signed first edition of Delights and Prejudices seems like a bargain. 

The collection is.... odd.  I’m sure I’ve got a friend who’d love this signed Shirley Bassey menu from Caesar’s Palace ($15).

Although what was the great Welsh singer (most famous for singing Goldfinger) doing on a menu?  

Plenty of great stuff here. (Issac Hayes had a cookbook? Who knew?) Even if you don’t find the perfect present, you’ll have great fun noodling through the site. 



2013 Gift Guide: Day Twenty-Two


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Past Scents
Years ago, when you could still travel Europe on less than $5 a day, I always made a pilgrimage to the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella as soon as I landed in Florence.  It’s one of the world's oldest drug stores - founded by Dominican Friars in 1221, it opened to the public in 1612.  They make all manner of herbal beauty products, but what I like best is their pot pouri. I’d buy bags of the dried herbs and flowers so I could stow them in my dresser when I got home. The potpouri is said to repel insects, but the truth is that I love the way it smells; each time I opened a drawer a wonderful fragrance came drifting out to remind me of Italy. 

I don’t know when the Santa Maria Novella people opened branches in America, but these days you don’t have to go to Florence to procure potpourri.  It makes me a little sad - the original  shop is so old, so quaint, so lovely.  But the products here are the same, and they arrive packed in these agreeably old-fashioned boxes.  


Lots of people make potpourri; most of it, frankly, makes me shudder. But this stuff is different. The company says this:

“Scrupulously handmade using ancient methods, this incredibly long-lasting, beautifully fragrant potpourri is a full-bodied blend of herbs and flowers (a secret formula), all grown without pesticides in the Florentine hills exclusively for Santa Maria Novella. Each batch is collected by hand, then soaked in essence in enormous, centuries-old earthenware jars, sealed with wax, then aged for several months, and carefully packaged as it has been for centuries.” 

That may or may not be true.  All I know is that the light fragrance wafting through the house always makes me so happy that I’d be deeply grateful to anyone who plunked down $35 and sent some as a present.


Gift Guide: Pigging Out

 An Enchanting Pair of Porkers


A pig product of some kind has become de rigeur for my gift guide.  Goldpig480(2)

(In year one it was the gilt piglet bank, above, from Moss in New York. The late, much-lamented shop was as much museum as store.)

Although this year’s offering is not quite so grand, I can’t resist such an endearing pair of pigs. Filled with salt, pepper or sugar, they sit on your table adding an instant touch of whimsy.

I’ve found half a dozen on-line sources (including Ebay), ranging from $30 to $17 a pair; this Wisconsin shop is the least expensive of the lot.  If you have a friend who loves pigs - and who doesn’t?- this would make a perfect present. 


2013 Gift Guide: Day Twenty

Be A Better Bread-Baker


Ever since I discovered Jim Leahy’s no-knead bread recipe (in his book, My Bread), I’ve been turning out home-made bread on a regular basis.  Jim’s recipe takes all of about 3 minutes and produces a great, fat, crisp loaf.

I’ve been using my ancient cast iron Dutch oven to bake the bread, but now I’ve found something better. This beautiful bread dome lets the bread rise higher and rounder.  And it’s such a great looking stoneware pot that it works wonderfully as an oven-to-table casserole when used for stews and roasts. 

I should have mentioned this earlier; in order to get it there in time for Christmas (ground shipping is free), you need to order by tomorrow.  So what are you waiting for?  Any baker would be delighted with this $60 present.




2013 Gift Guide: Day Nineteen


Bagels.  Everyone knows that New York bagels are no longer what they used to be. Victims of inflation, they’ve gotten bigger, softer, sweeter over time. While you can occasionally find a decent New York bagel (I appreciate the mini bagels at Russ and Daughters), most of them are pretty sad.

Montreal bagels, on the other hand, cleave to tradition. Their own tradition. Originally brought to Canada by Polish immigrants, they’re bagels of a different sort. Smaller and sweeter than New York bagels, they’re always rolled by hand, boiled in a honey-sweetened water bath and then, more importantly, baked in a wood-fired oven which gives them their character and unusual appearance. The bagels lack uniformity; each one is individual. Some are larger, some darker - but all are delicious. 

The two classic Montreal bagel bakeries each have their fans (including an impressive roster of celebrities). Fairmount is the older of the two (it opened in 1919), but it doesn’t mail-order its bagels.  St. Viatur, opened by Myer Lewkowicz, a Buchenwald survivor, in 1957 does.  The last day to order for Christmas is December 17th, so you still have a little time. 

Bagels are shipped in 4 or 6 dozen units, but you might as well go large since shipping charges are the same. (4 dozen bagels are $30; 6 dozen bagels are $45. Shipping charges are $29.) The bagels keep well - a couple of months in the freezer -  and any  bagel fan would be thrilled with this gift. It's even worth  negotiating the extremely annoying web site; perseverance pays off. 


2013 Gift Guide: Day Eighteen

Go Fish


Even if your friends live near a coast, if they don't live in a large urban city they very likely lack access to first-rate seafood. That's where Browne Trading Company comes in. Rod Mitchell has been supplying sustainably-sourced seafood to big deal chefs like Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud for many years.  But he also mail-orders his wonderful products to ordinary people. They run the gamut from wild and farmed fish and shellfish to smoked fish and caviars.  Order before 2 p.m., and you can have it for dinner tomorrow.

What to send?  Any committed cook would be happy to have one of the Turbots (pictured above). Highly prized in europe, this mild, firm-fleshed fish is easy to cook but hard to find on this side of the Atlantic. (You might also consider a pair of Dover Soles.)

Best of all, perhaps, this time of year are Nantucket Bay Scallops. 


They're small. They're sweet.  They're the easiest seafood you'll ever cook.  And they're in season now - for a very short while.  I can't imagine anybody being anything but jubilant to find a package from Browne Trading Company landing at their door. 






2013 Gift Guide: Day Seventeen

A Different Kind of Cookbook

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It's not just that these sweet little books each tackle a different ingredient.  And it's not just that each was written by a really good cook - and that the recipes are wonderful. Or that they're beautifully printed and hand bound. It's also that Shortstack Editions represents an entirely new idea in publishing. 

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, they've got an ambitious publishing schedule; the first six volumes were published this year, with plans for another six next year. The writers invest by creating the books, and are paid each time a volume is sold.

Buttermilk_small Grits Strawberries2x3Sweetpotatoes_small

Falling somewhere between a book, a pamphlet and a magazine, the $12 Short Stack editions make very nice stocking-stuffers.  Especially if you know someone who's obsessed with one of the ingredients. But a subscription to next year's as yet unpublished editions would make an impressive present for a committed cook: all six volumes for $75. It's like those old-fashioned surprise balls: you don't know what you'll get, but you do know that it will be good.





2013 Gift Guide: Day Sixteen


Remember when chefs used to wear toques?  That went out sometime in the 80s, when open kitchens became the rage and chefs who wanted to look hip began sporting baseball caps instead.   

But for a long time after that chefs continued to wear the traditional black and white chefs pants. So dull! Now that too is starting to change: today's trendiest chefs wander around their kitchens in bluejeans.

That gave chef Chris Cosentino, of San Francisco’s Incanto, an idea: why not design a pair of jeans specifically for chefs?  The result is Betabrand’s Chef Jeans, which are designed to be cool in the kitchen.  The crotch is vented, the fit is relaxed, and there are special pockets for a cell phone and a sharpie (you never know when some fan will demand an autograph).

The pants have many other interesting details like apron lining on the pockets and bone buttons. Available only since November, they’re the latest thing. 

Don’t feel like spending $118 on your friend?  Then maybe you’d like to invest in these meat feet socks.

A three-pack sampler is $33, and they even come with a replacement guarantee should you lose one. The socks are currently sold out, but they’re so adorable they might just be worth waiting for. 



2013 Gift Guide: Day Fifteen

Oh Rubbish!

My first attempts at recycling - back in Berkeley in the 70s - were so annoying that it was a relief to move to Los Angeles and give the whole thing up.  We had so many receptacles in the kitchen: brown glass, green glass, clear glass, bi-metals, aluminum, tin- that there was barely room to cook.  But the compost bucket was the worst; a big odiferous mess. 

Looking back, I can’t believe how easy recycling has become. Composting, on the other hand, continues to be problematic for city people. That’s why I was so excited when I found the sleekly designed Urban Composter Bucket. 

You can throw any organic material into this neat little bucket - even leftover meat and fish - and the bucket immediately begins the composting process. Within a matter of days you have a nutrient rich fertilizer.  The company's trick is the composting spray, which uses "effective microbes" to break down food quickly (like the Japanese version, Bokashi, but without the messy granular mixture you use to jumpstart the process.) The tap allows you to drain off your organic fertilizer, dilute, and use it immediately, while the tightly sealed top makes the whole thing virtually odorless. 

Everybody's looking for ways to help save the environment.  This is one small step; at $75 it makes a very practical present.  




2013 Gift Guide: Day Fourteen

A Great American Oil


For years food-savvy travelers returned from Austria with Styrian pumpkinseed oil for their friends. A classic Austrian ingredient, it’s an important addition to soups. Mixed with apple cider vinegar it makes a classic dressing. Bread tastes great simply dipped into the oil. In Austria they even use pumpkinseed oil like hot fudge, splashing it across vanilla ice cream for a very delicious dessert.

But why buy a European product when pumpkins are an indiginous American vegetable?  Wholehearted Foods makes roasted pumpkin seed oil, from organic pumpkins grown in the Finger Lakes region of New York and very gently pressed. It takes 11 pumpkins to make one small bottle of oil, which explains why the flavor of this deep green oil is so intense. 

But the Wholehearted people don't stop with pumpkins; they press oil from an entire range of organic squashes grown on nearby Martin Farms. At the moment they’re out of Kabocha, Delicata and Acorn Squash oil, but they still have some Butternut Squash Oil on hand. It has a warm golden color and a flavor so nutty that I often add it to dishes for people with nut allergies.  And unlike pumpkin seed oil, which has a very low smoke point, you can use butternut squash oil as you would any vegetable oil in cooking; it's particularly good for sauteing vegetables, adding a lovely subtle flavor of its own. A bottle of oil costs about $12, but introducing your friends to this truly American product is a gift in itself.




2013 Gift Guide: Day Thirteen

I was introduced to Hot Bread Kitchen through their wonderful tortillas: handmade with stone-ground organic corn, they're like no tortillas I’ve encountered before. Deliciously resilient, they actually taste like corn.

The tortillas became such a staple in my house that I began sniffing around, trying to find out who was making them. That's when I discovered that Hot Bread Kitchen is more than a bakery; it’s an enterprise dedicated to giving low-income immigrant women professional experience.  The breads, which are inspired by the native countries of the bakers, are merely the starting point of a very ambitious program of scholarships and job placement. (Some of their trainees have gone on to work at instututions like Daniel.) But this is a two-way street; part of Hot Bread Kitchen’s mission is introducing Americans to a whole new world of breads.

The breads themselves are wonderful.  One of my favorites is

Moroccan M’smen,

thin, floppy, flaky flat breads that have the texture of butterfly wings and the flavor of butter. 

Persian Nan-E Qandi,

a sweet bread made with milk and honey, is a perfect afternoon snack.

Their crisp Armenian Lavash crackers

have real crunch when you take a bite.

And this time of year they’re making traditional German Christmas Stollen

filled with dried fruit and nuts. The layer of marzipan running through this sweet bread keeps it moist and tender.

Their Global Bread Box, containing all four breads makes a wonderful Christmas present. (The breads all freeze well.)  At $70 it’s more than just another silly gift: it's a fine way to welcome new citizens to our country.  





2013 Gift Guide: Day 12


Let the Beats Go On 

I love my Kitchen Aid mixer; every time I use it I’m reminded of the huge Hobart mixer we had in our Berkeley restaurant. That one was an antique, but it was relentlessly reliable, turning out dozens of cakes on a daily basis, year after year.  

But much as I love my little mixer, it has one annoying problem: the beater blades aren’t deep enough. As every cook knows, you want your beaters to touch the sides of the bowl for maximum efficiency. 

That’s why I’m so thrilled by the new Beater Blade attachment, which has rubber-sides extending all the way to the edges of the bowl. This allows you to get the most out of each pass of the beaters. The attachment is $20-$30, depending on the model, it's available online and at most kitchen stores, and I can’t think of a better present for a passionate baker.

Now if only they’d do something about the whisk attachment......




2013 Gift Guide: Day Eleven

Silver Linings


Just pulling this copper pan, with its warm shining color, out of the cupboard gives you instant bragging rights; it’s that beautiful. But when you start telling your friends about its amazing attributes, their jaws really drop.  

Unlike most French copper pans, which are lined with tin, this Atelier du Cuivre beauty is lined with silver. Why? Because silver, which is a fantastic conductor of heat, melts at 1825 degrees, meaning that this pan gets really, really hot. (Tin melts at 425.)  Most American copper pans are lined with stainless steel, which is not a very good heat conductor. (The purer the metal, the higher it's thermal conductivity; stainless steel is made of iron, chromium and nickel.)  I’ve never cooked with a pan that got so hot, or responded so quickly to the flame.  

The pans are hand-crafted by a master artisan, Jean Pierre Couget, who's been named a Meilleur Ouvrier de France. M. Couget works in a town called Villedieux-les-Poeles, which translates roughly as “God’s village of the frying pan.”  Pick up the pan, and you'll understand.

MOF stamp
The handles are made of wrought iron, a poor conductor of heat, which means they won’t burn you. Unlike so many clunky handles, they hug your hand in a very comfortable embrace. 

Finally, you can have your pan personalized.  The engraving is not just a vanity move: a pan this beautiful is a constant temptation to others.  


I'm in love with my pan, which sears steaks and lamb chops like nothing I've ever used, works wonders with pancakes, and maintains such a low temperature that it roasts pine nuts without burning, makes fabulous sauces and is the perfect pan for caramelizing sugar. Still, I’ll admit it has a drawback: you pretty much have to polish it after every use. (I should note that Atelier du Cuivre sells the best copper polish I’ve ever encountered).  I've copied their advice on caring for your pan below.  

A  ten-inch pan is $500. That’s a lot of money for a frying pan. On the other hand, amortized over a lifetime it's a fair price for an instant heirloom. 

The Atelier du Cuivre website is great to browse, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of ordering advice; to order, email  the American distributor:

Or call 212 371-7358. 



Your heirloom cookware deserves the attention and care that matches the attention to detail by which it is made. We like to say, “Show your cookware the love that it shows to you.”  Always use wooden or rubber cooking utensils to protect the lining of the pot. Do not use abrasives when cleaning.  Use warm soap and water, finish with a wipe of silver polish for the interior, soap and rinse again. Chefs vary in the care they give to the copper. Some love the dark colored, worn look of its use, while others prefer to polish the copper to its gleaming finish. Atelier du Cuivre offers a superb copper-cleaning product that allows you to do this is a matter of seconds, quite easily, thus removing the barrier for some to copper because of the perceived maintenance of it. (For difficult food stuck to the pot, simply put water in the pot while it’s still hot and scrape with a wooden spoon, much the same as you would for deglazing. It’s that simple.) Rinse copper with cold water.  Dry immediately to prevent rust on your cast iron handles (rust is easily removed by a sponge and towel dry, should any present itself.) Do not use a dishwasher for cleaning your pots. We also recommend seasoning your cast iron handles with olive oil or dish detergent that is gently wiped off before the first use. With frequent use by chefs, the oils from their hands keep the cast iron handles in beautiful condition.



2013 Gift Guide: Day Ten


An Extravagant Baking Kit

There are people who know how to give great gifts. Thomas Keller is among them. Lately I’ve waited with bated breath to see what was going to arrive for Christmas... and it's always exciting. 

Keller’s presents arrive in a gorgeous wooden box emblazoned with the French Laundry’s iconic clothespin label.  One year the box contained a spade and wonderful little packets of seeds - along with everything you’d need to get them started: soil, little pots, even gardening gloves.  Another year it was bottles of Armando Manni’s extraordinary olive oil.  

One of my favorite gifts was the chocolate tart kit that included a reusable tart pan, pre-measured dry ingredients, a Tahitian vanilla bean in a glass jar, a Vic Firth rolling pin, a Bouchon oven mitt and, of course, Bouchon’s chocolate tart recipe. There was even a small bottle of Meyer Family Port that perfectly complements the finished tart.

Keller’s now selling the chocolate tart kit, along with a number of more extravagant gifts (like his personally chosen set of knives for $900).  The boxes make quite an impression, and  it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't be thrilled when they arrived.  Prices vary; the boxes are shipped from the Napa Valley on Wednesdays. 



2013 Gift Guide: Day Nine

Organic Seeds


There were a lot of impressive speakers at last September’s Seed Conference at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, including Ferran Adria, Dan Barber, Alex Attala, Sean Brock and Glenn Roberts.  But the person who impressed me the most was Frank Morton, who’s been raising salad for chefs since 1980 at Gathering Together Farm in Oregon.  He spoke so passionately about conventional seed breeding that I began surfing his website, reading the essays. 

But Morton doesn’t just raise salad for fancy restaurants; 15 years ago he and his wife created Wild Garden Seeds, and since then they've been selling their organic seeds all over the world.  The catalogue is amazing: they offer 82 kinds of lettuce, 9 kinds of kale, 18 kinds of mustard, 5 kinds of quinoa, huazontle... the list is very long.   

They’re constantly adding new vegetables to the list.  This year’s great find is this Pandero Lettuce:


 "With a single cut, these mini-head type romaines create instant salad mix."

If you know a passionate gardener, a gift certificate would make a wonderful present; they start at $12. Actually, just turning a good gardener onto the site would be a gift all by itself. 


2013 Gift Guide: Day Eight

For the serious food photographer


Every time I pull out my IPhone to snap a picture of some dish I’m reminded of what a terrible photographer I am. My food always looks so pale, so unfocused. That’s why I’m counting on one of my friends to give me one of these for Christmas. 

According to everything I’ve read, this neat little Orbit Pro camera attachment can turn even clunky photographers like myself into instant wizards. It’s got a whole slew of lenses: fisheye, macro, telephoto, wide-angle.  It’s small.  It’s been very well reviewed. It’s only $239 - and if you buy it today, on cyber Monday, you get a $75 break and free shipping.  

Come to think of it, why am I waiting for someone else to buy me one?  



2013 Gift Guide: Day Seven


Everyone who’s ever used sous-vide equipment understands the problem: the food comes out looking wan and rather sickly. The solution has always been a blow torch, which gives pale food a lovely tan. But there’s a problem:  torches were invented to weld metal, not cook food, and they impart an unpleasant flavor known as "torch taste".  Enter the Searzall.  It turns an ordinary blowtorch into a fine piece of cooking equipment. 

When Dave Arnold, founder of Booker and Dax, was teaching sous vide technique at the French Culinary Institute, he set out to solve the torch taste problem. His Searzall is still in the testing process, but prototypes have been tested by an impressive number of chefs, starting with David Chang and his team at Momofuku and going on to:

  • Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 and Alder
  • Nathan Myhrvold and the Modernist Gang
  • Paul Adams Online and Food Editor from Popular Science
  • Nils Noren from Red Rooster
  • Mark Ladner from Del Posto
  • Michael Natkin, popular vegetarian cookbook author
  • Daisuke Nakazawa of Nakazawa Sushi
  • Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern

Now there’s a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.  Kick in $65 and you can offer your friends the very first Searzalls off the assembly line. The final product’s not due until June, but if you pledge  by December 15 you’ll get a special holiday card  to send your friends the good news. 

Of course, if you're looking to really impress somebody, you might want to up the ante. For $1000 your friends can jump the line with one of the hand-made pre-production prototypes that will go out in January. (That also gives them the privilege of becoming part of the feedback team.)  And for $5000? A day in the Booker and Dax lab with Mr. Searzall himself, Dave Arnold. 



« November 2013 | January 2014 »

About this journal
Where am I eating? What's for dinner tonight? And what books have I been reading? For a look at what's going on in my life lately, take a look at this journal, which I try to update on a regular basis.