My partner in kitchen tools, Mac Dalton, and I have for years relied on a local Cleveland nonprofit, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS), to ship our tools. VGS has for decades employed those who can’t otherwise find work—the disabled, people who have been homeless, people who are recently out of jail. In other words, VGS is a valuable part of our community and Mac and I put a strain on them with our recent sales, so I want to thank them publicly for their good work. Ottavio Gargano, along with Bernie Nenadovich and Ernie Tubbs, and especially all the good people who fulfill our orders, thank you for your work. You make my beloved city of Cleveland a better place. “The More That I Give, the More That I Have”: Where to Donate During the Holidays (and Read On »

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The best, I mean the very best and most useful kitchen tools, are almost always the simplest. Yes, you’ve got the kitchen workhorse, the standing mixer, the food processor (I almost never use mine), the hand blender (my favorite small appliance). But really what I love most? Two really sharp knives. A thick flat hard surface that gets really hot. A heavy wood cutting board. And these: Rocks and sticks. Point is: fewer rather than more, simple rather than complex. (One clarification in the video that I failed to make clear at the time. For testing the temperature of frying oil, I use the chopsticks I save from Chinese take out, not really nice ones.) Once again, many thanks to Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I called them saints among us in the last “something to say” Read On »

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My number one pick for a great inexpensive gift to give a cook is a Japenese mandolin, aka a Benriner (the brandname). This is a tool virtually all cooks own, used for all manner of slicing, julienning and brunoising. Gnarly sweet potatoes become gorgeous chips. Under 20 bucks—can’t beat it. My most used small appliance is the hand blender, or immersion blender, a fabulous tool for pureeing soups and sauces, making vinaigrettes and mayos. Wouldn’t want to be without one. (The above link is to an inexpensive CuisinArt blender, here’s the KitchenAid version nearly 3 times as expensive but some feel it’s worth it.) If you’re really in to cooking, these round cutters come in handy for all kinds of baking, cooking, plating needs. I recently bought this fat separator and love it—simple ideas work Read On »

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