Problem: You need to impress that special someone in your life with a jaw-droppingly amazing holiday present. Or perhaps you need the perfect apology gift to get yourself out of the doghouse. (Why do you think my kitchen’s outfitted with so many gadgets?)
Solution: Go big or go home! Last week, I told you about my favorite wallet-friendly stocking stuffers, but today’s list is all about taking off the budgetary shackles. I’ve compiled a list of tried and true big ticket gifts for the 2012 holiday season, so grab your credit cards and meet me after the jump!
1. Fancy Digital Cameras:
Over the years, I’ve fielded a ton of questions from readers, but the one of most common queries has nothing to do with my cooking: “What camera equipment do you use to take the photos on your site?”
The answer? Henry and I use two DSLRs. We primarily use a Nikon D7000 (which also does double-duty as our go-to camera for our videos), but we also have an older Nikon D80 that we occasionally whip out as a back-up. For our food pics, we pretty much stick with a 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor macro lens, but for all-purpose shots, we go with a more versatile 18-200mm VR lens.
When I’m on the go, I take with me a smaller camera: a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1. I pair it with a Lumix G 20mm/F1.7 ASPH lens, which I’ve found perfect for food shots. This little guy is super portable and produces fantastic images.
(And my dirty little secret: In a pinch, we also use our iPhones to snap some of our photos.)
I love these cameras and lenses – they’ve made a huge difference in my photography. Still, a fancy camera won’t guarantee you pretty shots. You need a Fitbomb behind the scenes to edit, crop, and doctor your heinous shots, or just take the photos for you. (But I’m not sharing him with you.)
2. Pressure Cookers:
Pressure cookers are specially-designed pots with locking, airtight lids and a valve system that regulates the internal pressure. By raising the temperature of boiling water under pressure, they’re able to cook food faster – and they concentrate and intensify flavors, too.
Yes, food processors can be expensive, but focus on value rather than cost. Think about it this way: How much is your time worth to you? And would you rather be hanging out with your family and friends, or weeping over a cutting board full of raw onions and wishing you’d bought a food processor? If tedious prep work is the only thing keeping you from cooking your own meals, by all means invest in a food processor.
The interface of a tablet offers possibilities to the cook that would be impossible with a laptop, let alone a book. Swiping, tapping and zooming through information presented in multimedia is a good match for the experience of cooking, which involves all the senses and the brain, as well. And when those faculties fail, as often happens in high-stress kitchen scenarios like Thanksgiving, apps can come to the rescue with features like technique videos, embedded glossaries and social media links.