What with my love for cooking and all, almost no Christmas goes by without at least a few culinary Christmas gifts. This year was especially good in that regard.
Talking the prize for “Most Surprising” was this gem brought back from Japan by my ex-neighbor. It’s meant to be a ginger grater, but you could cut the crap out of your citrus rinds too, if that sounded appealing. You are supposed to cover the whole deal with saran wrap first and then grate your veg, which sounds both impossible and like a great way to accidentally ingest film plastic until you realize that the whole deal is just a bunch of exceptionally sharp and tiny metal spikes, so yeah, it works. (Turns out that a whole nation is not actually wrong about this, Christiana, duh.) It’s the most vicious, anti-ergonomic utensil in my kitchen, and also wildly effective, and therefore I love it.
Early in my cooking days, I listened to Martha Stewart more than I should have. In my defense, I was trying to figure out how to cook and run a household, and there weren’t very many compelling voices in that arena back then. So when she told me that russet potatoes would be better if you boiled them with the skins on and removed the skins after they were cooked, I dutifully tried to peel mushy molten lava potatoes while burning myself in about 36 places in order to achieve a more authentically “potato-y” flavor in my final dish. I immediately realized that this was crazy and after that experience never really took Martha too seriously again. But it was too late for the rolling pin. Martha only used a French-style rolling pin, so that is what I got too. It wasn’t until I had the bakery that I realized exactly how stupid this was. Master pins are where it is at, people, and the bigger and heavier, the better. It is crazy how much more effective and versatile they are, but I never bothered because I could make do with what I had. Well, I finally got my own this year.
Bobby Flay has always been one of the folks I look for on the Food Network because his recipes actually work. Not like the non-chef folks, his are tested and have his name on them, and they are great. So this year, I got his Mesa Grill Cookbook. And my commitment to recipes that actually work is a bit laughable here because what’s going to happen is that I’m going to try to make some of his recipes work with CSA ingredients (which are largely absent from the book) and additionally neuter them to appeal (at least marginally) to two young kids. HA! It sounds impossible, but I am really inspired, so maybe some of it might work? Maybe? Stick around, because this could get gnarly.
Finally, I got scoops. Now, if you have never owned a bakery and do not require that all your cookies/scones/muffins come out in perfectly aesthetically pleasing symmetry, you probably won’t see the point of these. But I am much much happier when my baked goods are perfect, so yeah, scoops!
I hope your holidays were wonderful!