For the wino in your life, may I suggest several wine gadgets:
The Durand corkscrew
It’s a little pricey at $125. OK, make that very pricey, but it combines the best of a standard corkscrew and Ah-So bladed cork extractor. It isn’t needed for every bottle of wine, but it shines with older bottles of wines or dessert wines with a little age. The Teflon-coated corkscrew holds the cork in place, while the blades augment the extraction of even the most fragile of corks. I never travel with wine without my Durand corkscrew. thedurand.com
Riedel “O” stemless glassware
I know that stemmed glassware is the standard, but when dining at BYOB establishments, it’s a lot easier to cart stemless glasses, especially since I need to carry a second set for the Mrs. The stemless feature allows me to cart twice the amount of glasses in the same space. And if you purchase the five glass set from Riedel, the type of grape varieties that work best with a particular glass shape are etched on the bottom of the glass. www.riedel.com (price varies)
For the chef in your life, may I suggest these kitchen appliances:
Fagor 3 in 1 Multi-Cooker
It cooks via high or low pressure or functions as a slow cooker with a high setting to first brown the food. There’s also a rice setting, so it’s basically a rice cooker, pressure cooker and slow cooker all in one. I use mine a couple of times a month so it’s not an appliance that ends up in the appliance graveyard. www.fagoramerica.com (price varies)
Tiger 4.5L Thermal Cooker
Unlike the Fagor cooker, other than the initial boiling of your food, this device requires no electricity. Because I consume a lot of whole grains, this cooker shines at cooking beans and barley. Normally, if you boil beans or barley, you have to keep a close eye on it during the first several minutes because of the potential over-boiling that may result especially when the “scum” is released from the barley or beans. With this thermal cooker, you simply bring your food to boil, then cover and insert the dual-walled outer chamber. After 45 minutes, you’ll have perfectly cooked barley or after 60 to 90 minutes, perfectly cooked beans, with no muss or fuss. www.usa.tiger-corporation.com (price varies)
Or may I suggest these kitchen gadgets:
Amco 2-in-1 Lemon & Lime Squeezer
After using one of these gadgets, I stopped using the traditional plastic orange juicer. These squeezers are a lot faster for lemons and limes and are just as easy to clean.
Sha Ra Ku Mono knives
Unfortunately, the only licensed retailer in the United States is Seattle Cutlery (1920 Pike Place Seattle, (206) 441-8988) right across the street from Pike’s Place Market. Komin Yamada, the brainchild behind the Global line of kitchen knives, designed these. I recently purchased the all-purpose kitchen knife and like it as much (or better) then my Global, Shun or Kyocera kitchen knives.
The Gochiso Gourmet is a column on food, wine and healthy eating. Ryan Tatsumoto is a graduate of both the Univ. of Hawai‘i and UC San Francisco. He is a clinical pharmacist during the day and a budding chef/recipe developer/wine taster at night. He writes from Kane‘ohe, HI and can be reached at email@example.com.