Your Milk Street Cooking School teachers—Matt, Bianca, Rosie and April—have each designed a gift guide for your holiday shopping ease. From chili pastes and dried beans to bunka knives and fry pans, the ingredients and equipment below are what we really use every night in our own homes. Whether you’re in search of gifts for the adventurous home cooks on your list or want to treat yourself, these guides give you a peek into our pantries, fridges and kitchens.
Here are your teachers’ recommendations:
From Matt Card:
- Cepa Vieja Sherry Vinegar: It’s no secret I love the nutty, rich complexity of sherry vinegar. Cepa Vieja sherry vinegar has a remarkable depth and slight smokiness that’s terrific drizzled over roasted meats or winter squash, paired with nuts or pungent cheeses in salads or splashed onto paprika-rich paellas.
- Benriner Mandoline Slicer: I love how thin I can shave and grate all sorts of vegetables for salads or quick pickles. Infinitely adjustable, razor sharp, easy to clean and economical—what’s not to love?
- Kikuichi Kokaji 6-Inch Petty Bunka Knife: The unique size and shape of this knife make it my go-to knife for everything from trimming herbs and peeling garlic to breaking down chickens and mincing shallots. Plus, with its secure wooden guard, I often bring it along when heading to dinner parties, picnics or vacations, knowing that I'll end up in the kitchen at some point! In fact, I've prepared an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 10 with just this knife.
- Skeppshult Cast-Iron Spice Grinder: My Swedish mother-in-law gave me one of these 20 years ago, and it’s been used frequently ever since. It’s the simplest—and most enjoyable—way to grind a few spices for rubs or dukkah. I love its heavyweight, heirloom construction and simple, satisfying design.
From Bianca Borges:
- O-Med Yuzu Agridulce Condiment: Delicious and surprisingly versatile, this adds instant complexity to vinaigrettes and marinades, and is great on its own as a finishing splash over roasted vegetables.
- KAI Komachi Fine Grater and Zester: This grater offers the benefits of a microplane, with its sharp blades allowing smooth strokes, while the stability of its wide, flat surface make it a breeze to grate an entire wedge of Parmesan evenly.
- de Buyer Choc Intense Round Frypan: When I use a nonstick pan, I want to know the surface is safe and will cook foods the way I want it to, and this one delivers. With the proper care, it'll serve you for the long haul.
- Verve Culture Handblown Glasses, Orange Swirl: Just looking at these glasses lifts my spirits! They're also a pleasure to hold and to drink from.
From Rosie Gill:
- Burlap and Barrel Silk Chili: A mix of dried red berry flavors and a subtle smokiness makes these chili flakes super versatile. And the heat level is crowd pleasing. Try mixing equal parts silk chili, ground cumin and ground coriander, heating gently in oil and then drizzling the spiced oil onto roasted chicken, charred eggplant or warm beans. Finish with a dash of lemon juice or a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
- Brooklyn Delhi Tomato Achaar: I love super bold, pickle-y condiments. I keep several—like this sweet-sour-spicy tomato achaar—in my refrigerator and put two to three options on the table with simple basics like spice-studded rice, chickpeas and sautéed greens.
- Zürsun Christmas Lima Beans: Known as “The Lady of the Legume” around here at Milk Street, I’d be remiss not to include at least one bean on my gift guide. These big, meaty beans have a rich, earthy flavor and subtle sweetness. I dress them warm in preserved lemon-cumin vinaigrette and then stir in ample amounts of chopped dill, cilantro and parsley.
- Gift Certificate to Live Stream Classes: With classes on cooking basics, advanced cooking theory and cuisines from around the world (taught by guest teacher experts), we have a class for every budding and accomplished cook on your list. Our classes are interactive, and students get questions answered in real time by the teachers. Give the gift of experience with a gift card to our livestream cooking classes.
From April Dodd:
- Opinel Folding Knife: When I lived in France, I thought that “Opinel” just meant “pocketknife”—that’s how ubiquitous these little folding knives are. Now, I must own a half-dozen of them, keeping them in my car, my camping backpack and my kitchen. They’re great for everything from opening packages to slicing hard cheeses on picnics.
- Red Boat Unfiltered Fish Sauce: It’s becoming clear to me that there are few things that aren’t enhanced by a bit of fish sauce, and this unfiltered one has even more pungency. I add a dash to tomato sauces, refried beans, Indian-style curries, chili noodles—and the list is only getting longer.
- Quick Turn Slotted Spatula: I love the design of this spatula, which has a thin edge for lifting delicate foods like fish and slots that allow you to use it as a whisk, slotted spoon and serving utensil all in one. The best part: It comes in right-handed and left-handed versions!
- Field Company Cast-Iron Skillet: Here’s where I have to be honest: I don’t own a Field Company cast-iron skillet, but I sure wish I did; maybe this will be my gift to myself this year. I use my own trusty cast-iron pan every day, but its weight makes it awkward to scrape food out of and move in and out of the oven. Field’s cast-iron pans are lighter than other models, and they’re easier to keep seasoned.