Probably my favorite little purchase this year was this Quirky Cordies desktop cord catcher. I use a laptop and as anyone who uses a laptop knows, as soon as that cord gets unplugged, it goes flying off the desk with the strength of a whip-wielding dominatrix. And I have the bruises (on my fingers) to prove it. Or else it flees to behind the desk to the most inaccessible place you can imagine and you have to pull out the desk to fish it back out. True, there are worse problems once could have, but what else can you solve one so effectively for less than $5? (I got mine at The Container Store where I see they are on sale for $2.99, price subject to change.)
People frequently ask me what kind of container I store ice cream in. When I wrote The Perfect Scoop, I was churning out so much ice cream that went to a restaurant supply store in Paris and bought a big crate of plastic containers, which I still use to this day. However as technology changes, newer materials have seen the light of day (and the light of my freezer), and I’ve taken to using the Tovolo ice cream tub. I scored mine at TJ Maxx and it’s a nice size and shape, although they also make a long, narrow one if you’re the kind of person that likes to take a lengthy, leisurely scoop. Haven’t tried that one, but I’m happy with my canister.
A very seasoned cookbook editor, who has seen and edited hundreds of cookbooks, told me she swore by The Gourmet Cookbook. The magazine had an excellent test kitchen and many of the recipes have become classics that people turn to over and over again. For those who miss the much-missed culinary magazine, The Gourmet Cookbook includes many of the great recipes in one generous volume, edited by Ruth Reichl. The book is out of print but can be found at used book sellers and online. Mine has a few drips and stains on it, likely from someone else before me getting some good use out of the cookbook, before (inadvertently) passing it on to me.
One of my least-favorite kitchen activities is getting out, and subsequently, cleaning my big-bowl food processor. All those nooks and crevasses where oil, herbs, and nut dust can gather will vex even the most diligent dishwasher. (ie: me) Putting the whole thing in the dishwasher, with five or six parts, takes up half of my machine. Then you have to deal with all the water stuck in the parts that needs to be dried. Stop the insanity! Enter a little mini chopper, I’ve been using this diminutive sibling from KitchenAid (who gave me this machine to try out). I didn’t think I would use it so much, but I can make a batch of tart dough in it, I use it for hummus, and if I need to chop 1 cup of pecans, well, a machine of this size will do it without as much fuss as its bigger brethren.