We are really digging food52's latest website addition, foodpickle, a real-time food help line. Just send questions to @foodpickle on Twitter, and you get back responses from a community of cooks. Questions and answers also get posted to the foodpickle page on the site, and there is already an interesting wiki of food knowledge shaping up. But there is an unanswered stumper lingering: How does one prepare the fruit of the kousa dogwood tree? Chowhounds, is it edible?
So they wouldn't really have had cups like these back in Mad Men times, because in the early ’60s, coffee came in tiny little eight-ounce cups that were, by law, white. No one had ever thought of pouring an avalanche of cream and sugar into one's cup and calling it coffee; it was strong and hot and perked so bitter it could take the shine off a car's paint job. And they liked it that way, by golly! READ MORE
Pregnant women have to drink so much water that it just gets boring. You're looking for anything—anything!—to jazz water up. My friend puts a dash of Peychaud's bitters in homemade soda water. A good one, although I'm not sure she's run it by her doctor. But if you'd rather play it safe, consider a new beverage called Ayala's Herbal Water.
There are so many talented bartenders on the West Coast that I'm surprised it took this long for someone to capitalize on them and make a book. But Ted Munat and Michael Lazar just did, with their slick little book Left Coast Libations.
If you are living and drinking fancy cocktails in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver, it feels a little like being given a secret decoder ring for the high-end cocktail scene, and it's also fun (and a little voyeuristic) to read the mini-profiles on the 51 bartenders. But this is definitely an advanced recipe book for serious cocktail geeks, full of gastriques, foams, smoked air, and kumquat marmalade. READ MORE
The stock-in-trade at the Etsy shop of the, um, aptly named Leapinchubb is aprons. Specifically, aprons fitted with faux phalluses (phalli?) that are disturbingly real-looking, covered up with a tea towel sewn to the waist. Keep the towel down and you look like any average cook in an apron, though maybe a little bumpier than usual. Lift it up, and you've got laughter. Or something.
As Leapinchubb herself says, "The oversized penis is made from a nylon stocking and has pubic hair in the obvious areas! It is truely hilarious!" Truely hilarious, Leapinchubb. Truely.
Penis Apron, $25
British company True Utility makes stuff like heavy-duty LED flashlights and mini multipurpose tools that clip on your key ring. Now, they claim they make the world's smallest fully functional corkscrew, called a Twistick, too. While I always find it questionable to have drinking accessories attached to your car keys, this looks like it would be perfect for backpacking.
Twistick, about $7.66
What would happen if a utilitarian stainless-steel serving spoon, fancy heirloom silver, and a couple of hand tools were hybridized into one mutant serving utensil? I'll tell you what: a fancy new designer spoon, slotted spoon, and serving fork. They are on the pricey side, at $35 a pop more than a hundred bucks for a set of three, but they look good. Each piece is available in three colors: white, mustard yellow, and orange (paging 1976!).
My only qualm besides the price tag: They need a hole in the handle to hang them on the wall. If I'm paying $35 for cool serving pieces, I don't want to shove them in the back of a drawer.
Superior Servers, $35 each
A fascinating book just showed up at CHOW HQ called What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. The big coffee table photo book profiles 80 people's eating habits for a day, showing snapshots of them next to what they eat, but also delves deeper into who they are, how they get their food, how they prepare it, and how many calories they consume. The authors, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, did a similar project a few years ago, documenting photographically what they purchase to eat in a week. This book is more personal, and it's hard to stop looking it.
There is Xu Zhipeng, the "Extreme Gamer" from China (1,600 calories a day) who lives in an Internet café in Shanghai and receives his meals via delivery. A Namibian trucker whose cans of food, a couple bags of chips, and three Red Bulls don't seem like they could really add up to 8,400 calories a day. An Italian friar in Rome who's living well on 4,000 calories a day including 12 ounces of wine at lunch and dinner.
It would be a great gift. Even if someone isn't into food, the social, economic, and political implications of the photos are riveting.
What I Eat, retail $40
If you ever wanted to brew at San Francisco's Magnolia, work at Chez Panisse for a day, or be invited to taste-test at the next Delfina restaurant project before it opens, now is your chance. But it'll cost you. Right now, there are 33 food-experience-related auctions on eBay that benefit La Cocina, the San Francisco–based nonprofit that helps people get their food businesses off the ground. READ MORE