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Great Gifts for the Cook

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In 2020, the best gifts for cooks are ingredients that take your cooking to the next level, like bespoke vanilla or olive oil; tools to indulge a new at-home passion, like cocktail making or bread baking; and books that amplify long-overlooked voices in the food world.

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    The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food

    Chef Marcus Samulesson’s latest book, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, celebrates the contributions of Black cooks from America and far beyond, all relating in some way to the African diaspora.

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    Brightland Olive Oils

    Brightland olive oils are pressed from heirloom Coratina and Frantoio olives harvested from a single family farm in California’s Central Coast and milled on-site using organic methods. “Awake” is ideal for pasta, roast chicken, and drizzling over crusty bread, while “Alive” is perfect for vinaigrettes, raw vegetables, and dark chocolate.

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    Mrs. Anderson’s Bread Proofing Basket

    Artisan bread bakers get perfectly shaped loaves by proofing the soft dough in a linen-lined basket, or banneton. The basket provides structure for the rising dough, which not only helps form its shape but also helps it retain the beautiful bubbles that are the hallmark of artisan loaves and end goal of every baker, no matter how experienced. Whether it’s you or someone you know who has recently hopped on the sourdough train, a Mrs. Anderson’s Bread Proofing Basket is a welcome addition to any baker’s tool kit.

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    Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread

    There is perhaps no culinary activity more suited to these times than baking bread. Although the view taken by UK author Pauline Beaumont in Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread, is that it is always a soul-feeding endeavor, it seems particularly important in the face of unprecedented stressors to find things that give us comfort, peace, and a faith in our own ability to soothe and grow our collective spirits.

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    Grate Plate

    We love quality utilitarian tools, but if a gadget performs perfectly and is pretty to boot, more’s the better. Use the Grate Plate to grate garlic, ginger, nutmeg, chocolate, cinnamon, or hard cheeses. Grate and serve in the same dish. Handmade in Portland, Oregon, from dishwasher-safe stoneware. Choose from 13 colors.

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    Diamond Bar Tool Set

    A glint of light off these stainless steel bar tools from Old Dutch International adds to the anticipation and magic of a well-made cocktail. The 6-piece Diamond Bar Set includes an ice bucket, a bottle opener, a strainer, a double jigger, tongs, and a stirrer. Just add fresh ingredients, good spirits, and good friends.

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    Vain Vanilla

    Vain vanilla is a premium extract for all of your holiday baked goods. Original Baker’s Blend is an all-purpose vanilla. Mexican Vanilla features vanilla beans infused in Kentucky bourbon to create an extract with complex caramel and vanilla notes with a hint of smoke.

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    The Best American Food Writing 2020

    Although not exclusively, most of the 24 articles and essays in The Best American Food Writing 2020 explore the experience of people of color—chefs, food writers, diners, and more—in the world of American food. It is a topic that has always been relevant, but recently, it is more pointedly so. These voices have always been there—it’s just that now, hopefully, they are being heard by more of us.

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