Barbeque and southern foods expert Elizabeth Karmel rounded up her favorite products of the year and suggests these gifts for those who cook — and those who just like to eat:
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
- Williams-Sonoma has teamed up with Share our Strength and celebrity food folks including Ina Garten, Chrissy Teigen and Trisha Yearwood to create artwork for the No Kid Hungry Kitchen Spatula. Proceeds from the silicone spatulas benefit No Kid Hungry in its campaign to end childhood hunger in the U.S. Available in stores and online, 30 percent of the proceeds go to charity. $12.95
- Sukeno Donut Socks are the perfect (calorie-free) gift for the doughnut lover in your life. Designed to fit both men and women, they come folded up and packaged like a single doughnut, and are available in six different “flavors” such as Oreo Ring, Rainbow Sprinkles and Berry Sprinkles. $15.50.
- I use Revolo porcelain crumpled cups every single morning for coffee, and I love that they now have cups with a Christmas theme. The cups are perfect for coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate or tea. I’ve also been known to use the porcelain cups for cocktails as well. The crumpled cup feels good in your hand because of the indentation that the crumpled part at the top makes in the round cup. A set of two cups is available exclusively on their website. You can choose between a set of 1 red and 1 Moose design, or 2 other holiday motifs, Gingerbread and Santa. $39.99 for two.
- The Wustfhof classic 8-inch Uber Cook’s Knife can be used to chop, slice, dice and mince everything. This essential, multi-purpose knife is a workhorse in the kitchen. The knife takes the traditional features of an 8-inch chef’s knife and adds a bigger “belly” to create a smoother motion for all chopping, mincing and dicing tasks. I like to think of the knife as a mash-up of the popular Santoku knife and a classic chef’s knife. $139.99.
- I had heard that the Breville Toaster oven was so good that it could rival my wall oven, but I didn’t believe it until I tested the new Smart Oven Pro. I made a roast, a chicken, banana bread, and cookies as well as toast and they all came out as good if not better than in my oven. It also re-heated pizza to perfection. If you don’t have the counter space for the PRO, get the Smart Oven mini which puts other small models to shame. $269.99.
- Ice Cider (think dessert wine) made from heirloom apples … can you think of anything more appropriate or delicious to serve with a warm apple crisp, apple cake or a nice wedge of cheddar cheese? Eleanor and Albert Leger, founders of Eden Ice Cider, produce a rich full-bodied ice cider from their apple orchards where they grow both sweet and sour heirloom varietals. A 375 ml bottle is made from more than 8 pounds of apples. They offer eight ice cider options including honeycrisp, as well as a smaller 187 ml limited release Brandy Barrel Heirloom Blend Ice Cider. $25.00 for a 375 ml bottle.
- I met Brenda “Blondie” Coffman at last year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. One bite of her buttercream-iced cookies and her s’mores bars transported me to cookie nirvana. I gave my sweet-toothed father a gift of the Blondie’s Cookies cookie-of-the-month club and it quickly became his favorite gift. The beauty of this gift is that you choose how many months — from 1 to 12— and the cookies are different each month so you never get tired of the assortment. Each from-scratch cookie is individually wrapped and can be frozen. $29.99 per box.
- The Cuisinart egg cooker changed my egg- eating life. Sure I can boil a soft-boiled egg but sometimes it’s more cooked than I like it, especially if I get busy doing something else while I’m boiling the eggs. But this Egg Central uses steam to cook the eggs which also makes them easy to peel as the steam prevents the shell from sticking to the white — just make sure to load them with the smaller point of the egg facing down. All I have to do is crack it under cold running water and the shell literally slips off. The Egg Central also comes with attachments for poached eggs and omelets. $39.
- The brainchild of John Pittner who owns a kitchen shop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, this acacia-wood cutting board is made with a slight concave center that holds exactly 1 cup of liquid. It also has heavy-duty silicone treads on each corner so that the board won’t slip on your counter — especially helpful when carving. $49.99.