What to Get Your Novice Foodie This Holiday Season
|User "Wikidemo," Wikimedia Commons|
|Merry Christmas! (Watch your knuckles.)|
I finally got a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking this year, and it's an invaluable resource, not just as a collection of recipes, but as an accessible guide to basic French cooking techniques. This is a great cookbook for someone who already has a little experience in the kitchen but wants to learn more advanced skills. Both volumes are widely available after this summer's release of Julie and Julia.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman lives up to its name, and it's another example of a cookbook that pairs good recipes with instructional techniques. For the vegetarian foodie on your list, Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is a nod to the meat-free, full of just as much heft as the original. I just gave this as a gift to one of my favorite vegetarians last week, and she loved it.
Some indispensable (and cheap!) tools in my kitchen are these Kuhn paring knives. They are affordable, come in bright colors, hold an edge and have almost unlimited function in the kitchen. In fact, you can buy a few to stash around your kitchen; I often find myself digging for mine for various small tasks. And now they have a serrated version, which I'm hoping to find in my stocking this year.
Once you start using a microplane, you'll wonder how you did without it. It's perfect for grating just about anything with little effort. Mine is constantly in use, zesting citrus or sprinkling Parmigiano-Reggiano over pasta, soup or salad. Just, uh, make sure to not use it on your knuckles, which I have done on more than one occasion. Shut up.