The Holiday Gift Finder 2013: Kitchen Gifts for Food Lovers of Every Stripe
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Grub Street Holiday Gift Guide

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The Dave Arnold Collection

Photo: Credit 1: Courtesy of MOFAD; Credit 2: Ben Addonizio

Booker and Dax head honcho Dave Arnold wants to change the broiling game forever with his new invention, the handheld Searzall: a device that, as the name promises, offers cooks the ability to sear basically anything with the precision and control that a standard broiler would never be able to provide. Arnold is raising money through a Kickstarter, and if you donate, you'll receive a gift card by Christmas that's redeemable for a unit. Gift it with a sturdy Baggu tote decorated with the saying "food is culture" written in nine languages, which benefits yet another of Arnold's projects, the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD). MOFAD tote, $60; Booker & Dax Searzall, $55 to $1,000

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The Modern Tea Kettle

Photo: Courtesy of: Bodum

Any kitchen will instantly feel sleeker with this Bodum tea kettle, which also employs a French-press-like mechanism inside for easy, one-vessel tea making. Wrap it up with a tin or two of high-end tea to make it one of their favorite gifts of the year. Bodum Tea Press, $80

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The Best On-the-Go Coffee

Photo: Courtesy of: Stumptown

For nomadic coffee snobs who need consistent access to first-rate joe, the roasting masters at Stumptown have assembled a kit that ensures travelers of all sorts will have access to excellent coffee. Stumptown Voyager Kit, $125

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The Dressings That Actually Taste Fresh

Photo: Courtesy of: Right Tasty

Grub doesn't usually get down with bottled dressing, yet it’s difficult not to be charmed by Right Tasty’s versions, which come in pumped-up flavors like smoked heirloom tomato and Meyer lemon. It's an ideal hostess gift, stocking stuffer, or go-to present for someone you don’t know very well. Smoked Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette, $14.50; Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, $9

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The Go-to Guide for Thai Cooking

Photo: Amazon

Andy Ricker is an undisputed Thai authority, and his new cookbook teaches readers the secrets behind the food served at his small empire of Pok Pok restaurants. Temple of Thai even sells Ricker-approved ingredient bundles so your giftee can make a perfect Khao Man Som Tam without having to first take a trip to the market. Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand, $22; Temple of Thai ingredients, prices vary

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The Spice Rack to End All Spice Racks

Photo: Courtesy of: SavorX

This block set from SavorX arranges 22 starter spices and 22 finishing spices in corked test tubes into a neat collection that looks great on any countertop. As the company continues to grow, it plans on selling additional blocks that will physically connect to their current offerings, for those who want to expand their sets. Spiceologist Block Set, $239.95

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The New Crop of Elevated, Rustic Cookbooks

Photo: Courtesy of: Amazon

The long-awaited cookbooks from Michael Anthony and Suzanne Goin both offer recipes that are upscale versions of familiar dishes that nudge home cooks to try their hand at something more ambitious. Together, the books offer a bicoastal look at how two of the country's best chefs approach their rightly celebrated food. The A.O.C Cookbook, $22.14; The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, $30

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The Cheese Fiend's Dream

Photo: Melissa Hom

A wooden crate brimming with cheese is pretty much a no-fail gift. But if you find yourself struggling with the overwhelming variety when deciding which kinds to purchase, stick with the classics. The fine purveyors over at Murray's have cheeseheads covered with a Greatest Hits gift collection, which has blocks of English cheddar, sheep's-milk Gouda, blue cheese, and more — plus the necessary crackers. Murray's The Greatest Hits Gift Set, $75

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The New Cookbooks Representing High-End Californian Cuisine

Photo: Courtesy of: Amazon

David Kinch's Manresa and Daniel Patterson's Coi are two of the best restaurants in all of California, and this fall both chefs have released truly stunning cookbooks that do justice to their boundary-pushing restaurants. Double down and give both. Coi: Stories & Recipes, $33.03; Manresa: An Edible Reflection, $30

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The Chef-Approved Italian Pantry Staples

Photo: Top: Courtesy of Il Buco; Bottom: Melissa Hom

The people behind every New Yorker's favorite restaurants — Il Buco and its Alimentari companion spot — are offering gift baskets. Load up friends, especially those who are health-conscious, with a trio of upscale vinegars sourced from Italy and approved by chef Justin Smillie. Or provide a full-on pantry upgrade with a set that features twelve high-end Italian staples including olive oil, anchovy paste, and pasta not frequently found Stateside. Top: Chef's Selection III, $145; Bottom: Trigolia di Aceto, $90. Orders can be placed via e-mail.

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The Silicon Valley Chocolate

Photo: Courtesy of: TCHO

Based in San Francisco and headed up by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, the founders of Wired, TCHO combines chocolate-making with the mentality of a tech start-up. The result: high-quality chocolate in innovative flavors like strawberry-rhubarb pie, which can be found in this four-bar sampler. TCHO Pairings Sampler Box ($31.95)

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The Restaurant Gadget That's Actually Affordable

Photo: Melissa Hom

Sous-vide cooking is largely a technique for professionals or people willing to outfit their home kitchens with seriously expensive gear. No longer: Now there is a clever immersion circulator — the tool required to maintain the consistent, precise temperature necessary for sous-vide cooking — that is the size of a handheld blender. Even better, you can use it in any pot or pan you've got, so your giftee's kitchen won't look like a science lab. Nomiku Immersion Circulator, $299.95

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The Gift Card for Hard-to-Locate Foods

Photo: Courtesy of Goldbely

Track down some regional specialities without having to travel: A new company called Goldbely will mail things like William Greenberg's cookies, Lou Malnati's pizza, and the Southern favorite King of Pops so you can easily find a great gift for a homesick friend. Regional Foods Gift Card via Goldbely, $25

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The Ultimate Coffee-Table Cookbook

Photo: Courtesy of: Amazon

Admittedly, French chef Anne-Sophie Pic's stunning new book isn't very useful as a functional cookbook (unless you have your own Combi oven and the best ingredients in France), but the amazing photos and incredible ideas on display still make this a must-have (or, rather, a must-give). Unlike other, more expensive high-end cookbooks, Le Livre Blanc can be bought for less than $40. Le Livre Blanc, $37.95

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The Clever Pie Transporter

Photo: Courtesy of: Pie Box

It is quite literally a box in which to carry pie, but the aptly named pie box's minimalist, attractive design makes it something worth coveting. Crafted from reusable raw pine and handmade in Chicago, this is a go-to option for avid bakers. Pie Box, $35.00

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The Coolest Aprons

Photo: Credit 1: Courtesy of: Kauffman Mercantile; Credit 2: Courtesy of: Yoox; Credit 3: Courtesy of: Open Sky

There's a new wave of well-designed aprons that protect your clothes and make you look good in the process: Check out Alton Brown's denim collaboration with Hedley and Bennet, an option from Kauffman Mercantile with a detachable cotton muslin towel, or any of the eight options available from Yoox, which tapped Italian fashion houses such as Moschino and Trussardi to design aprons that also benefit the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. Kauffman Mercantile Ticking Apron, $89.95; Yoox Holiday Apron Collection, $97; Alton Brown x Hedley and Bennet, $75

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The Simple Fermentation Station

Photo: Melissa Hom

Attention pickleheads and cravers of homemade kimchi: This ten-liter clay pot is specifically designed to protect fermented veggies from outside elements while still allowing them to breathe — making home fermentation easy (and, more importantly, not smelly). Raw Rutes Fermenting Pot, $130

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The Most Accessible Japanese Tea-Making Set

Photo: Courtesy of: Ippodo

Matcha, or powdered green Japanese tea, can't be prepared via a standard kettle or French press. This kit, which features specialized items such as a bamboo tea whisk and a handmade serving bowl, has everything needed for green-tea lovers interested in brewing it at home. Ippodo Matcha Tea Brewing Starter Kit, $48.57

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The Defining Brazilian Cookbook

Photo: Courtesy of: Phaidon

Alex Atala's cookbook D.O.M. is loaded with stunning photography and innovative uses of decidedly Brazilian ingredients (some local ants paired with pineapple, perhaps?). But the book also gives readers an introduction to Atala's world-renowned restaurant without having to plunk down for a ticket to São Paulo. The D.O.M Cookbook, $49.95

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The Backpack That Feeds

Photo: Courtesy of: FEED

Yes, this backpack looks good. The purchase price of each one also goes toward providing 75 school meals to hungry children. Feed Backpack, $75

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The Personal Letters From Chefs

Photo: Melissa Hom

A new start-up called Kitchen Letters will send elegant, pretty recipes from culinary greats twice a month for an entire year. Each recipe comes with a personalized letter from the likes of Dominique Ansel and the team behind Ovenly, among many others, as well as a well-photographed recipe card. Kitchen Letters, $60

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The Classic Cookbook

Photo: Courtesy of: Amazon

Zuni chef Judy Rodgers sadly passed away early this month, but her legacy lives on in this truly marvelous cookbook. Of course it was first published over a decade ago, but that's all the more reason to track down a copy for any food lover who doesn't yet have this on her or his bookshelf. Zuni Café Cookbook, $29.18

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