Discover more from The Bittman Project
When Your Dad is Rad
Here are some gift ideas that aren't bad
Are you really good at gift-giving? I know some people who are. Or maybe (like me) you need an assist. If you’re in the latter camp, and want to gift on Father’s Day (if you don’t, for any reason, we’re here for you — buy yourself a little something!), we’ve got some recommendations, below.
A shout out here to my dad, MARKY B, who you all know, but you may not know how wonderful he is on a personal level. Let me tell you: He is. He’s always been supportive, he’s always been loving, and I love him endlessly.
Masienda Tortilla Starter Kit
I’ve never made my own tortillas, but I’ve watched Mark do it, and it’s not hard, and the results are beautiful, and delicious. There are a couple things you need, though, and this kit provides you with those: Two 2.2 lb. bags of Masienda’s bestselling heirloom corn masa harina (one each of blue and white) and the Doña Rosa x Masienda tortilla press. (You can also go full on tortilla guru and add in the comal, which is all-purpose.) A warning, though, that it’ll probably be really hard to go back to storebought tortillas after eating the ones this kit produces.
We haven’t talked about our favorite instant-read thermometer in a while, and it’s a must-have for anyone who cooks, grills, bakes, whatever. It’s precise, it works for any food you want to cook (I once found Mark’s on the ledge of his tub, and he informed me that he uses it to take the temp of his bath water, so there’s also that), and it reads in one second or less. Pair it with some grill stuff, below.
Made In Grilling Goods
Our favorite cookware, Made In, recently introduced grilling goods to their repertoire. Mark used the carbon steel griddle and press to make chicken a few nights back, and was thrilled with the outcome; the grill pan goes right on the fire and has 62 perforations to maximize flame contact and smoky flavor; or you can go all out and get the griddle system — a carbon steel griddle pan with a press and a stand and a toolbox that you can take anywhere. (If your person loves camping, this is a no-brainer.) Also! You can include the Grilling Collection from our friends at Burlap & Barrel – they’re offering spice sets that include either four or seven spices.
Skylight Digital Frame
I’ve been wanting a digital frame forever, and this one is great — you get a dedicated email address to send photos to and they instantly appear within. No app or subscription required.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
I included a bunch of food items we love in our Mother’s Day gift guide, and — surprise, there’s more. Buy it all and put it in a pretty box, or, if you have kids, a plain white box that they can decorate.
Jams (first batch of strawberry is just in, made from local berries from The Orchards of Concklin), Guinness chocolate cake, and tahni oatmeal s’more cookies (or whatever else you like!) from Birdie’s Batch, a mom and daughter business (the daughter, Sara Cann, is a friend and former colleague of mine). New York State only.
Mark’s favorite saffron. In his words: “Honestly I don't think there are much better presents for anyone than a bit of saffron from saffron.com, the most trustworthy dealer in the US, if not the world. (Their vanilla is also incredible.) Half an ounce will last almost anyone a year or more, and the economy (it's $45) is impressive.”
Zingerman’s pimiento cheese. Holy crap. I can’t believe I just recently tried this for the first time.
Also from Zingerman’s: a corned beef reuben sandwich kit (pastrami, turkey, and vegetarian are also available). Maybe not the best idea for someone in NYC, but for everyone else, this is a no-brainer. We had one a few weeks ago and it went very fast. It’s got everything you need: Jewish rye, sliced corned beef, sliced Emmentaler Swiss cheese, Zingerman’s potato chips, coleslaw, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and garlicky pickles — plus, Zingerman’s brownie bites for dessert.
Yes, it’s me, fangirling over Dandelion Chocolate again. Now it’s because they have a Hawai’i Summer Bonbon Collection, which showcases Hawai’ian producers and their ingredients — aromatic Mililani beans with their tropical-fruity notes, Island honey, kukui nuts, macadamia nuts, kalo (taro), ‘ulu (breadfruit), and flavors of coconut and lilikoi (passion fruit). These are made in small batches with limited availability. Order by Monday, June 12th, to arrive in time for Father’s Day.
I really love Hetty McKinnon’s new cookbook, Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds, which, in addition to containing a jillion recipes that I want to make, also serves as a love letter to her late father. I made her Upside-Down Rhubarb and Ginger Olive Oil Cake for the extended family a couple weeks ago (including Mark) and everyone freaked out. I’m also excited about the Big Potato Pancake with Quick-Pickled Apple Salad, Fennel and Black Pepper Ice Cream, and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Kimchi with Rice Cakes.
Ed Mitchell grew up during the Jim Crow South; segregation dominated life in Wilson, North Carolina, his hometown. He went to college, served in Vietnam, and worked at the Ford Motor Company until he was 45 and came home to help his mom with their small family grocery store. One day, his mom wanted barbecue, and Mitchell rolled his parents’ rustic cooker into the parking lot and smoked a 35-pound pig while his mother prepared coleslaw and collards, and his fate was written. Ed’s barbecue has drawn the attention of Anthony Bourdain, Calvin Trillin, and Michael Pollan, and each recipe in Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque, which he wrote with his son, Ryan, tells the story of the Mitchell family. I love this book, and Mark and I got to talk to Ed and Ryan — a duo who remind me a bit of me and Mark, but more organized — and we’ll be airing that episode on Food next week. Some recipes that get me excited: The “I Don’t Eat Everybody’s Potato Salad!,” Hoop Cheese Biscuits, and Hellwig Bacon-Tomato Jam.
Fans of excellent food writing and rich photography will love Food Stories: Writing That Stirs the Pot, a book from The Bitter Southerner (which won the James Beard Media Award for Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication). Just out this week, the book features stories about Natty Light, farmers facing climate change, making sorghum the right way, steamed sandwiches, historic lunch counters, and a complicated love affair with tomatoes. (Our editor, Doc, is a fan. It’s not difficult to understand why.)
The Bittman Project is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.