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Holiday Gift Ideas

Emily Orpin via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The opening whistle for the holiday shopping season sounded a few days ago, and I know a lot of us are feverishly flailing around for gift ideas. If your loved one does any cooking then your job just got a lot easier because we are going to give you a long list of ideas. Chef Jerry Pellegrino keeps up with culinary technology, and Al has a number of gadgets in his own kitchen that are tried and true.

Jerry's Picks

Bluetooth Meat Thermometer

Super handy for grilling. It comes with 6 individual probes that insert into food on the grill.  Pre-set the desired temp and it will ring your phone when it's ready. Super convenient. Around $55.

Smart Mug

Tired of that cup of coffee going cold? The Smart Mug will keep it as hot as you want as long as you want. Hot to the very last drop. Available online for about $100.

Al's Picks

Vacuum Sealer Machine

Food Saver brand, $40-50. You can get a roll of bags, which the machine will cut for you, and allow you to make a custom sized bag. Otherwise, regular bags are available.

Sous Vide Machine

This is a submersible wand with temperature controls that clamps onto the side of a deep cooking pot. They range in price from about $50 to $150, and are very simple to use.

Suggestion: Buy a sous vide cookbook before you start.

Ninja SP 101 Air Fryer Combo Oven 

This clever fold-down machine lets you air fry, toast, convection bake, and air broil. It comes with a removable wire basket and a non-stick roasting pan. Quick, easy to use, easy to clean.  About $150.

Presto Eversharp Knife Sharpening Machine

It has two sides, one for sharpening and one for honing the blade. Will keep your knives sharp for as long as they last and are simple to use. Sells for about $30 and is worth every penny.

Olive Oil Spray Bottle

The spray bottle fills up with your favorite olive oil and then dispenses it in a fine mist wherever the oil is needed. It works by pumping up the container and letting fly with a simple aim and press trigger. The Woodhubs model sells for about $12 and once you start using it, you won't stop.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.