It is easy to celebrate the holidays without ever really celebrating, which is why I like to recommend gifts that are in furtherance of a good time. For me, that means eating and drinking well with my friends, and these are very much the tools of the trade.
Gohan : A Japanese Rice Kit — It took some doing, but we finally assembled our dream rice kit with paddy-grown rice from Japan and filled with everything you need to make ochazuke, onigiri, hand rolls, and of course plain gohan. I grew up eating MSG-laden instant ochazuke and I've been trying for years to recreate its flavor using only premium, natural ingredients. I'm really happy to have finally nailed it.
Hagama Rice Cooker — As a companion piece for the rice kit, this rice cooker is really about taking gohan to the next level. The hinoki lid releases that wonderful pine aroma when the steam hits it and the clay cooks the rice gently, allowing the rice to hydrate without disturbing the grain.
Titanium Flask — The holidays can be a trying time, which is why it never hurts to have a flask on hand. The titanium is non-reactive with the alcohol and it slips perfectly in the chest pocket of my jacket.
Mineral B Fry Pan —Still my favorite pan for cooking almost everything. This was one of our first products at Tenzo and I've been recommending them to friends and family for years. They'll last a lifetime and only get better the more you use them.
Folding Oyster Knife — Oysters are best in the cold winter months and no holiday party is complete without at least a few dozen. I love the portability of this knife—I bring it to the fish market to sample new varieties, and to friends’ parties so that I can help myself.
Grill Tongs — Cooking over a campfire when it’s cold is one of the great joys of this time of year. A long pair of tongs allows you to adjust the coals and move food around without burning your hands.
Japanese Curry Spice — Growing up we always made Japanese curry with the beef leftover from Christmas dinner, and it’s a tradition I’ve kept alive. Except now, instead of the old store-bought curry bricks, I’ve concocted my own spice blend and a recipe to go along with it.
Sharkskin Grater — Fresh wasabi is one of those luxuries that I spring for on special occasions, and there’s no better way to grate it than with a traditional sharkskin. A nice plate of sashimi with real wasabi is hard to beat.
Hinoki Cutting Board — The pine smell of these cutting boards instantly transports me to Japan. I keep this on hand as a final board for slicing sashimi, and it’s also pretty enough to double as a serving piece for sushi or hors d’oeuvres.