This one’s for all the proud food nerds out there—all the gadget geeks and culinary eggheads hoping to get a sweet haul out of the gift-receiving season. If you’re one of them, pass this link around as a gentle hint to your good friends and
most generous dearest family. If you’re not that kind of cook, but you know someone who loves experimenting in the kitchen, a budding food scientist, or anyone who’s ever uttered the phrase “sodium citrate” or “xanthan gum” outside the context of reading an ingredient list on a food package, the selection of items below is sure to give you some helpful inspiration. It’s true that most of them aren’t exactly cheap, but don’t forget that a sous vide circulator in the hands of a friend isn’t just a gift—it’s an investment. An investment that’ll return moist and tender chicken breast and incredible deep-fried sous vide turkey porchetta right to your mouth, if you play your cards right. These are the gifts that prove the Arthur C. Clarke maxim: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Magic, I tell ya!
An Immersion Circulator
You can’t cook sous vide without an immersion circulator, the holy grail of geek cookery. (Well, okay: You can do it in a beer cooler, and, while I can attest that it works fine and makes you feel pretty cool, if you want to cook sous vide on a regular basis, it’s far easier and more reliable with a circulator.)
If you’ve got someone on your shopping list who’s always nattering on about the temperature gradient in their steak, this is the perfect gift, since sous vide is the best way to ensure a piece of meat that’s consistently cooked from edge to edge. But your giftee doesn’t have to be a red-meat aficionado to appreciate the thing. It excels at producing medium-rare duck breast, intensely carrot-y carrots, confit (recipe coming soon!), and juicy pork chops (proceed with caution on those sous vide desserts, though). Whoever receives it will harbor warm (~130°F) feelings toward you in their heart forever (no more than ~1–4 hours recommended, though; after that, the denatured proteins will produce a weepy mess).
A High-Powered Blender
A powerful blender isn’t just for geeks, of course, but the scientifically inclined tend to prize efficiency, and there’s no more efficient route to luxuriously silky purées and smoothies than one of these guys. The Vitamix performed the best in our tests of high-end blenders. That enormous price point comes with enormous responsibility, but the trade-off is that the Vitamix will blitz up pretty much anything your gift recipient commands it to. Plus, it can mill grains and make smooth butters out of nuts, and it’s crucial for culinary marvels like Daniel’s uncanny vegan carbonara recipe.