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Gifts To Make A Difference
Kitchen Detail’s holiday gift guides have sometimes opened with a book from an organization that showcased food as a way of helping people in need. But during the pandemic, desserts would seduce me, and when I made the almost other-worldly Lemon Pudding Cake from Michelle Polzine, I knew it had to be shared with KD readers. This year, however, after the invasion of Ukraine and a most successful fund raiser for Razom, a reader connected me to a woodworker in Kyiv who made beautiful kitchen utensils. Our post on Vitaly Koryakin was a hit, and he sold almost every piece he had on his Etsy site. I wrote him that I wanted to include his line of wood kitchen tools in our Kitchen Detail Gift Guide, and he was quite touched to be asked. Sadly, he just wrote me the following;
Thank you very much. But unfortunately I have to ask you not to place my store in the guide.We have different circumstances in Ukraine now. Electricity is cut off every day for 8-10 hours. I just don’t have the opportunity to work. Thanks to the Americans for supporting Ukraine! We feel it very much.
We are saving a spot for him in next year’s guide. This year, we have donated to Razom’s project to provide Honda EU221 generators and EcoFlow DELTA Max portable power stations for Ukraine’s first responders and defenders. Donations are accepted at this page on the Razom site.
The other under-the-radar organization that we donated to is the Protez Foundation, formed this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its goal currently is to provide Ukrainian children, soldiers and civilians who have lost their limbs during the war free quality prosthetics in the US. Since their formation in May, this group has fitted and rehabilitated 24 Ukrainians, including two children. Their goal is to outfit 100 victims by the end of this year. Just to convey the enormity of their undertaking, they already have 580 applications, while the population needing prosthetics is over 12,000. Protez covers all costs of the medical process, rehabilitation, psychological support, lodging and visa fees. Members of their community donated and refurbished a house for the patients. Do look at their Facebook page – the photos, videos and stories are so inspiring. You can contact the team any time at firstname.lastname@example.org Donations can be made at protezfoundation.com/donate.
Under The Radar Gifts
Marmotecnica in Italy
One of the unique finds at La Cuisine and later for Kitchen Detail readers are the mortars and pestles from Nuova Marmotecnica in Carrara, Italy. If you have one of the mortars, from the Baudoni family, you don’t need a passel of others. I have two, including the large one with hand-carved lion heads, which has become quite famous on Instagram. This particular one they will reproduce by special request; just write them for a quote. I use mine for pesto, mayonnaise, tuna sauce, guacamole, salsa etc. I use a smaller one for grinding herbs, spices, aromatic pastes and rubs. A Marmotecnica mortar is a piece of art that is as useful today as it was centuries ago. Their mortars are used in restaurants and homes throughout the world.
This year you can choose from not only mortars, but also rolling pins, pestles, boards and boxes from their online shop and receive a discount. The Baudoni family offers KD readers who use the code scf10 a 10% discount.
It does not apply for international shipping or for custom work. You will quickly receive your selection (and beautifully packed, readers have told us). I can’t think of a better surprise for a special cook on your list. The discount can be applied from November 24,2022 through January 15, 2023.
Sertodo Copper in Mexico and Texas
Sertodo Copper is one of the few artisanal copper manufacturers in the US. I have one of their sauté pans with its unique handle designed to hold your stirring utensil. And the copper bowl made for a Kitchen Aid mixer is still on my Santa list. Copper is the magic medium for working with egg whites, and you can read why in this previous KD post. Sertodo produces so much more, as you can see from their website.
If I were to chose a major gift for someone in copper, my choice would be the 3-quart saute with lid (I use that lid on several frypans, including cast iron ones). It is the size I use the most. And I love the utensil grip that is a signature design on their pans and lids.
You have two options for discount codes with Sertado this year. The code KD152022 is a special 15% discount for KD readers, available from November 23 through December 31, 2022. Click on this link to be taken to the site and your discount will be automatically applied. For Sertodo’s Black Friday Sale from November 25 through November 27, use this code BLACK20KD for a 20% discount; click this link to be taken directly to Sertodo’s site, and your discount will again be automatically applied.
Monkey Business Design in Israel
I love the fun part of function and Monkey Business nails it. This team combines imagination, humor and utility in a happy direction. Use their Corkers as a topper for a gift bottle of wine, or pull one out at a restaurant when you have restless below-drinking-age diners They will have fun with their cork creations while you enoy a bottle of wine. My current fun gift is their Sharkfin sink strainer. Their pasta spoon looks like spaghetti but really works to fork up long strands of pasta, better than other wood or metal models I have tried. The other pasta-themed silicone designs I use constantly at my stove are their mezzelune potholders, ravioli spoon rest and rotelle trivet. But scroll through their website, as they make such clever gizmos that you ‘ll see what I mean about returning the fun to function.
Monkey Business offers KD readers a 12% discount on any purchase (discounts cannot be combined with previously discounted sale items) from their US site linked above: Use the code LACUISINEUS12% at checkout from now through December 31, 2022.
Tulusa Goods in Virginia
It took our videographer Nils Bertrand to discover this unique producer of fine table linens and decor in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. Sue Henry, the designer and founder of this unusual linen company, hand blocks her original designs on excellent quality fabrics and then creates napkins, hand towels, table runners, and other accessories Her studio will create block prints for walls and other individual collaborations. Since snakes are a seductive design icon for me, I bought the napkins and hand towels and am angling for placemats or a tablecloth after the first of the year. All aspects of Tulusa Goods. linens are made here. Simple yet elegant, sophisticated but with a unique American perspective, they withstand my carelessness and repeated washings. You will find something to love in her changing selections.
Sue offers KD readers a generous 15% discount in her online store from November 26 through December 15, 2022. Add the code KDTULUSA15. in promo code field at checkout.
Bone Drs BBQ Sauces also in Virginia
No, I have not tasted all 7000 barbecue sauces that are available in the US – it just felt like it when I wrote a post about Bone Doctors Barbeque Sauces After several years of sampling detestable alternatives, overloaded with tomato concentrate, truly low-end spices, corn syrup, plus a surprising amount of chemical additives (some parading as liquid smoke), these hit the jackpot. Four barbeque sauces and a dry rub concocted by two retired orthopedic surgeons from the University of Virginia (my barbeque-hungry spouse’s alma mater) remain outstanding examples of that very particular American southern specialty -BBQ.
The Original is David and Bruce’s knock-it-out-of-the- soccer- field winner. And the Brazen Heat is a much hotter (but comfortably so) version of it. I use both instead of ketchup for dips and cocktail sauces. Their version of Carolina-style barbecue sauce is vinegar-based and without tomatoes. Good with seafood and non-mayonnaise-based slaw. Sweet and Spicy is a great addition to traditional Boston Baked Bean recipes, as well as chicken, pork and seafood.
Open Hand Pasta & Provisions in Maryland
One of the few rays of sunshine for KD readers that emerged from the Pandemic’s isolation were the weekly deliveries of delicious meals and groceries delivered by Open Hand Pasta & Provisions They even handled the fundraiser meal we organized for Razom. John Wood and his team source the best providers for his selections, which change weekly. The eggs are without peer and ditto his choice of olive oils. Whether it is lemons from Sorrento, Italy, or flours for his superlative pastas and breads from local organic grain farmers, you will be guaranteed outstanding meals. And for the dessertitarian, his final courses always deliver happy endings.
They suspended meal deliveries for a bit, but now they are doing it again. Open Hand’s new online shop with a weekly menu is back ups!. If you are in the DMV make your list from their site, and they will deliver your choices on Wednesdays. You can even purchase gift cards for hungry cooks on your list. They can then use it for their selections from Open Hand.
Wire Monkey In Connecticut
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes a blog about food in all its aspects – recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food related issues.
I bought a small mortar and pestle when I was in Carrara this summer on a cruise. Had to get the small one. Anything bigger would have been my weight limit for my suitcase. I know most people go elsewhere for that port but we did the marble tour and it was awesome.
We too had a tour from Sgr. Baudoni and it was just mindblowing.
Nancy, Greeting from the great Pacific Northwest. Would you please send me the links for the places that sell the dried/candied fruit you recommend for fruitcake? Also the link for the French company that sells essences (flavorings, extracts?). Thanks so much. I miss your store. This time of year I’m thinking of cookies—thank you so much for introducing me to Hammersong cookie cutters. I probably have more than anyone needs but I love them so much. Happy Thanksgiving. Linda Cakvin
Greetings, Linda. If helpful, the essences are available at Simply Gourmand: https://www.simplygourmand.com
I recently bought Florian candied cherries from Chefshop.com which are quite good, although I do not remember if this is where Nancy/La Cuisine sourced their candied fruits from.
How nice to hear from you! I was just going to pull out my cutters to make the shortbread that Charlene gave me for the post last year. Ilona is correct, I gave the producer information on those incredible essences to Simply Gourmand. Market Hall is good source for the Agrimontana fruits. I always want to know the exact manufacturer of the candied fruit. I have post on both the essences and the fruit: