After the Pandemic people started traveling, but it seems to have slowed down. It could be a lack of finances, the stress and unpredictability of air travel, or a host of other things. But the holidays are still times for people to get together. Are you someone who hates cooking and hosting, but you have to do it? I’m suggesting five ideas to make cooking and entertaining easier and more fun. These all make great holiday gift ideas as well.
A Very Classy Way to Chop From Cole & Mason:
When you’re cooking or hosting, you probably are going to have to chop up a lot of bulky food items for a party or a big family. A Mezzaluna might be just the thing you’ve been looking for. I didn’t know what a mezzaluna was until I received this Cole & Mason Ashden Herb Mezzaluna with Acacia Chopping Board ($50). Actually, the chopping board is a sloped bowl. My grandmother had a bowl like this and she chopped everything in it. I now see why. When I was chopping the nuts above, they stayed in the bowl. Normally, using a flatboard, they roll around and often off into the distance!
What is a Mezzaluna?
A Mezzaluna has two handles and a curved blade like an ULU. But the differences are big. For starters, the ULU is an Inuit knife that was originally used to skin animals, cut up food, even chop ice for igloos. It has one handle. If you’re looking for a coarser chop than a good processor, either the ULU or the Mezzaluna is good. But the Mezzaluna has a much wider curved sharp stainless steel blade and two handles. This gives you more control over what you’re chopping. This lovely set from Cole & Mason comes with a beautiful sustainable acacia wood bowl. It makes a chore feel more elegant and fun.
Note: I would not put either piece in the dishwasher. The bowl has been treated with a food-safe natural oil. The Dishwasher is not kind to wood in the first place, and the handles can degrade, while the mezzaluna itself might bump up against other cutlery during the washing process, which can dull or even chip it. So it’s better to just wash and dry these by hand.
Save Space for Your Spices:
I don’t know about you, but I adore spices. The problem is that they take up an entire closet. Also, I have so many I can’t find the one I want when I need it, and then they’re expired before I can use them up. The Saunderton Spice Storage and Shaker Jar from British Cole & Mason solves the space issue. It also lets me put the spices I use most right at my fingertips. When I showed my husband all the bottles I was ditching, he was amazed.
Fill the five individual acrylic chambers with your chosen spices and close the stainless steel airtight lid. Then simply twist to select your preferred ingredients and then use the slider on the top to sprinkle or pour the spices. If you’re a baker, it’s also the perfect way to store your sprinkles and colored sugars. The best part? It is only $25, boxed, and ready to gift.
Visit Cole And Mason to see all their wonderful cooking/hosting items https://coleandmasonusa.com/
Italian-centric Drink Recipes to Impress:
A Cocktail “Cookbook”
It’s not a cookbook for food, it’s a drinks recipe book. But there is so much in this chunky hardbound book that it will amaze you. A lot of the drinks feature liquors you might not find very easily, but then again, it’s a challenge that makes for exciting hosting. For example, I am fond of the aperitif Cynar. But I have only had it straight up. There were at least four ways to use Cynar in a cocktail in this book. This is just one example of the dazzling list of dozens and dozens of drink recipes, tips, how-to, and more. The color photography is superb, too. If you’re planning a trip to any region of Italy, this book will give you tips on ordering drinks that are very special using the liquors of the region. If you’re hosting a home, this gives you a chance to show your guests something new and different. Get This Book
Not Just a CROCK!
I eat cereal in the morning when I just don’t have time to cook something better. But since I don’t eat it every day, the box doesn’t keep it fresh for long. I also have a lot of different beans, pasta, and rice that need to be in a jar or container. The three-piece Vancasso Sabine Canister Set with Airtight Wood Lids is a good solution. The set of storage jars includes 3 different sizes, the height and diameter are 4.9*3.6 inches, 6.0*4.5 inches, 7.7*5.6 inches respectively. The fluid-ounce full cup capacity is 20 oz/ 40 oz/ 80 oz. Note that solid storage capacity may not be at maximum due to density differences.
To tighten the jars so they’re airtight, turn the lid like a screwtop to eliminate any air. Like the Mezzaluna above, the sustainable bamboo lids should not be in the dishwasher,. However, the terracotta storage bins are dishwasher-safe. You can use these for just about anything in any room. Mine are in the kitchen holding cereal, coffee, and half a box of pasta that I didn’t want to leave open. Use yours for whatever you want to put in them! A $36 for three, they are a good value on Amazon. There were even two coupons when I last checked.
Get the Family Involved and Have Fun!
Super Natural Family International Cookbook: A Healthy and Playful Global Recipe Collection by N