Gift ideas for cooks, 2012

Since I review a lot of cookbooks, I thought you might appreciate this one. I got a bit into the whole Modernist Cooking idea this year, just because food science is pretty neat and lets you do cool things. I reviewed Modernist Cuisine earlier, and will be reviewing Modernist Cuisine at Home (the version for home cooks) once we get to play with it a bit (I got it for my husband for an early Christmas present). So far it looks excellent, including lists of useful equipment and ingredients for the modernist cook. Anyway, to that end, here’s the authors’ list of some of the equipment you might want: Top 5 Modernist Cuisine at Home Tools. Note that the most important ones are a pair of highly accurate kitchen scales, one accurate to the tenth of a gram, and one accurate to the hundredth of a gram. The article includes both high-end and less expensive versions of those and more:

  1. Bench scale, 1000 gram capacity, 0.1 gram sensitivity: DIGITAL BENCH SCALE 1000 GRAM CAPACITY X 0.1 GRAM SENSITIVITY (more expensive) vs. American Weigh AMW-1000 Compact Bench Scale, 1000 by 0.1 G (less expensive)
  2. Pocket scale, 100 gram capacity, .01 gram sensitivity: DIGITAL POCKET SCALE 100 GRAM CAPACITY X 0.01 GRAM SENSITIVITY (more expensive) vs. American Weigh Signature Series Black AWS-100 Digital Pocket Scale, 100 by 0.01 G (less expensive)
  3. Digital thermometer: Taylor Professional 9306 Dual Temp IR/Thermocouple Thermometer (expensive) vs. Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Gray) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking (also expensive; this is the one we have and it is extremely useful); vs. a digital oven probe: ThermoWorks The Original Cooking Thermometer/Timer (less expensive)
  4. Sous Vide Setup: SousVide Supreme Sous Vide Water Oven (expensive) or SousVide Supreme Demi Sous Vide Water Oven (smaller and less expensive)
  5. Although the article doesn’t specifically address this, if you plan to cook sous vide, you’ll want a vacuum sealer. I gather that the FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White is a popular and well-thought-of model.
  6. Pressure cooker: Kuhn Rikon 3344 7.4-Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker (expensive) vs. Fagor Splendid 6-Quart Pressure Cooker (less expensive)

Their article includes a whipping siphon in the top five, but in the book’s listing it’s #7, after a kitchen blowtorch, so I’m inclined to recommend getting the other stuff first. Obviously this stuff adds up fast, particularly if you want to cook sous vide. There are a couple of options. For one, some sous vide can be accomplished without the fancy equipment. I’ve seen the Modernist Cuisine authors present online ideas using ziploc bags and such for lower-temperature applications. Or you can do what we’re planning on doing: spread out your purchases over a bunch of holidays (Christmas! Birthday! Anniversary! Now you don’t have to think of gifts for the next whole year or more!). Depending on what we end up getting, eventually I plan to review some of the equipment, as well as, of course, the “at home” book, once we’ve had the chance to put it through its paces.

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Posted in Cooking
2 comments on “Gift ideas for cooks, 2012
  1. Cool Blog! I’ve bought a sous vide oven two years ago and I nearly use it every other day. I’m soon getting a new one because it’s starting to become weaker.

  2. I’m just starting to learn how to cook so this seems a bit over my head. Once I gain a little more experience I plan on coming back and reading this again.

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