IMPORTANT Update : Realizing this post is a bit long for our less intrepid readers, you may skip it on the condition that you search for the word "salt" and read those parts. Trust me on this one.
Ha! You goyum are so cute, what with your consumerism and your present giving and your libertarians. (I refuse to acknowledge that there are any Jewish libertarians.)
Megan has posted her Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen Edition and I'm giddy as something that's giddy in a place that makes it particularly giddy! Let's see what fine items
Megan McArdle uses would make a great gift! Note: As has oft been noted, Megan takes a cut out of anything you purchase through her links. She mentioned that last year, though, so no need this year. It's not part of the tradition. Who's heard of conflict of interest?
She starts with "Stocking Stuffers: Under $25" and almost none of them make any sense as a gift. They are comprised entirely of little gadgets of which Megan is fond and not at all of things that you might buy someone. See, if you know someone well enough to know what small trinket their kitchen lacks but they desperately desire, you prolly know them well enough to cross that 25 dollar threshold. Also, no one who wants a microplane grater hasn't bought one themselves already. They are not new Megan. What are you going to advise us on next? Not getting our internet through AOL?
Next we have a "cheese slicer" and then "Kyocera ceramic slicer" which can both be replaced by "knife" but, whatever, we all know how hard it is to cut cheese by hand. So much more convenient to throw another waste of space in our completely uncluttered drawers.
Then there's the Oxo chopper for people who somehow haven't heard of the slap chop or knives. Don't buy a slap chop, though. That has infomercials and is inferior. Buy Oxo chopper as it has both the advantage of being made by a respectable company AND being available through Megan's Amazon link.
And we're not done with Oxo. Not by a long shot. For what stocking would be properly stuff without "Oxo tongs." What are "Oxo tongs?" you may ask. Well, they are tongs that have the wonderful feature of being made by Oxo. No kitchen would be complete without them. Of course, no kitchen would be without them unless all you make is Ramen. This paragraph, like so many others, is best concluded with "whatevs."
Up next, a "Salt Keeper." This whole section is far and away my favorite:
Exotic salts are the new Green Peppercorns and White Truffle Oil, and in my opinion, considerably more interesting. If you use expensive salts for flavoring your cooking (or putting on top of your food), a wooden salt keeper can keep them from getting too humid and clumping together. Right now I'm using Maldon sea salt for most things, and pink Himalayan salt for dishes that demand a lighter flavor.I love how she openly states fancy salt is a stupid trend and then goes on to opine about the subtle differences between Maldon and Himalayan salt. Didn't Megan say that she was "cutting back?" Well, I know when I'm cutting back the last thing I cut back on is the essentials, like paying extra for gourmet SALT.
Then there's the potato peeler:
My sister bought me this last Christmas as a sort-of-joke, sort-of-gift,That sort of makes sense and... oh, no, it entirely doesn't make sense. Unless we're talking about a big floppy dildo that ends up getting actual use, a gift is either a joke or practical.
The best advice I've ever heard, though, is re: silicone oven mitts. "You can stick your hands into boiling water wearing these, as long as the water doesn't come up over the opening of the glove." Yea, what could possibly go wrong? I mean, it's not like if any water gets in it will be trapped next to your skin making any potential burns far worse. Plus, this is coming from a women who earlier admits to not being able to grate cheese without scraping her knuckles.
Our next category is "Thoughtful Presents: $25 to $50." Number two in your heart attack? A FUCKING KNIFE BLOCK. Seriously. A place to put your knives. Who owns a kitchen and owns knives but doesn't own a place to put their knives? BRILLIANT.
But let's not forget the "Rabbit Corkscrew" which, really, disturbingly, makes me think of another rabbit entirely. Because what we all need is "the easiest corkscrew you've ever used." No more killing the mood by fumbling around with those tricky corkscrews. In her defense, "This is particularly great for older wine drinkers, or anyone who has trouble with their hands, because it requires so little strength." It's that special gift for gramma that says "I know you're an alcoholic, but you're almost dead anyway so what does it matter?"
Then there's the always favorite "Oxo Kitchen Scale." Though she admits trying to get us to use it is futile, she's going to buy it for a gift for us anyway because her gift to us is to make us do all the stupid pointless shit that she does. You're welcome. I would just like to point out that the whole IDEA of a kitchen scale is bullshit. Cooking is NOT that precise. If it were, everything wouldn't happen to come out to nice round numbers. A precise recipe would use 2.4364 cups of flower and 1.67352 eggs. It's kind of absurd the notion you have to weigh exactly the right amount of flower to match the number of highly variable eggs you have, but that's never stopped her before so, whatevs. Even if the volume of flour changes with humidity (which I doubt is significant, but maybe) so would the weight.
Next, we have "Generous Gifts: $50 to $150." What should we purchase for our loved ones, Megan? Oh, a 60 dollar block of wood? GREAT IDEA! That block of wood will be so much better than the 5 dollar one at Target. My spouse will think I'm so thoughtful!
Or how about a hand mixer! I think Megan sums it up best when she says:
I don't use mine much any more--I tend to outsource its labors to either my stand mixer, or my immersion blender. But I travel with it, and for someone who doesn't have a really high-quality stand mixer, this is invaluable.What cook doesn't want something almost entirely useless? AND HOLY SHIT I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THE FACT THAT SHE BRINGS HER HAND MIXER AROUND TO COMPENSATE FOR HER HOST'S INADEQUATE MIXERS! Does she travel with an emergency store of her fancy salt?
Skipping ahead to the "Extravagant Gestures: $150 and up" because, hey, when I think of $150 dollar expenditures, I think of something subtle like a "gestures." I also just can't get over the idea that Megan thinks there are people with whom we are close enough to spend over $150 on, but need HER help choosing a gift for.
KitchenAid Mixer Yup, every year, I start with the same thing. If you want to be a serious baker, you need a serious mixer.Which is why you should buy one, because a serious baker almost never has the one thing they need to be a serious baker.
But what better way to spend $162 than on a "counter-top oven." A toaster oven? NOOO! Unlike a toaster oven it "makes good toast, which is not, in my experience, generally true of toaster ovens." Yeah! My toaster oven always turns my toast into chimneys. It's pretty impressive the first time but after you have, like, 6 new chimneys in your house you start to just want some toast. Also, don't forget that "the brick lining makes beautiful bread" and that's total worth the $162.
And speaking of useless wastes of money, she also advises you purchase a $200 cast iron pot (this one comes with enamel!) and a SEVEN hundred dollar copper pot.
I would just like to pause a moment here and remind everyone that Megan, up above, openly stated that her SALT consumption follows the latest trend. Yes, Megan has such a herd mentality she must use the newest black, even if the newest black is SALT from the other side of the world. SALT. Fucking SALT.
Oh, but back to the pot, Megan doesn't ACTUALLY want you to spend 700 bucks on a pot. "The link is just to show you the kind of thing you're looking for" because some of her readers are in fact stupid enough to fail to comprehend the meaning of "copper pot" without an illustration. That could be anything!
What holiday gift guide would be complete without Megan telling you what NOT to buy? Megan doesn't like these things, so your loved ones won't either. For example, while the slap chop is brilliant, do not get the "multichopper" which performs the exact same function. Why? Well "Unfortunately, changing the top plate, which pushes the food through the slicing blade, requires so much hand strength that I have to call Peter to do it for me." If it's too hard for the world's most incompetent person, it's prolly too hard for you.
Electric steamers are also a no-no, because Megan doesn't steam vegetables often so neither do you. This is in contrast to electric tea kettles, which are invaluable because Megan drinks a lot of tea and so do you.
But no list of things not to buy would be complete without things on it that Megan doesn't know how to use. For example, knife sharpeners. As we all know, dragging a knife down a holding steel is IMPOSSIBLE which is why so many honing steels exist. A true champion will settle for nothing less than taking their blades to a professional sharpener once a year. No... no... not more than once a year. We're professionals, guys!
Then she closes with
Specialty microwave dishes. In some cases, the concept is good. The problem is, it's always executed in plastic. Microwaving in plastic may not be such a good idea-pthalates really don't seem to be all that good for you, and I'm not exactly an environmental alarmist. We only microwave in glass these days.Because Megan is smart enough to know that pthalates are bad but isn't smart enough to know that avoiding them is impossible (they are in deodorant and make up), that many plastics don't have pthalates in them (they are only needed as plasticizers for plastics that are otherwise unworkable), and that their main danger seems to be to children and fetuses (they interfere with various hormones important to early sexual development). What's a lot of knowledge when a little goes such a long way to making you an expert in everything?
And remember, guys, peer pressure determines her SALT consumption. SALT