Good Gadget, Bad Gadget — The Annual Summer Post, 2014 Edition

Around about this time each year, I get emails from the likes of Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table touting their wonderful selection of summer grilling “must haves” at up to 50% off. Last year an email from Sur la Table even included the recommendations of “Jenn the Gadget Girl,” whom I tried in vain to prove or disprove the actual existence of.

The emails always seem to arrive when I’m scratching my head about what to blog about, and in that way are like a gift. And this year, they did not disappoint.

Adding to my already formidable collection of “Good Gadget, Bad Gadget” posts is this summer’s grill edition, which as usual is heavy on the “bad gadget” side… It’s hard to believe that in a product lab somewhere on earth, people are actually dreaming these things up. More

Jenn the Gadget Girl

I received a promotional email from Sur la Table. The subject line read, “Jenn’s Gadget Picks”. So I clicked on it, and there smiling at me was a picture of a cute girl that said, “Meet our very own Gadget Girl, Jenn!” And I thought to myself, “Oh no… you didn’t really just create a Jenn the Gadget girl for me to blog about, did you!???



It was like a gift from the heavens.

If you’ve been following my blog for any period of time, you’ve probably stumbled on one of my many “Good Gadget, Bad Gadget” posts. If not, let me suffice to say that I am a gadget skeptic. More

Good Gadget, Bad Gadget Pt. VI

I have a bad habit of bringing my favorite cooking utensils places, and leaving them there. You may remember the sad saga of my favorite wooden spoon which got left in a ski cabin at Big Bear. Similarly, I left my favorite tongs at a cooking lesson I was giving for my friends’ gourmet girls group. And then I left my next-favorite tongs at the Steve McQueen beach house in Malibu.

A man cannot live long without tongs.

So it was that I was out at Target, shopping for a new pair of tongs amidst the long aisle of mostly useless cooking gadgets. The very same day, I received the first of what will undoubtedly be a “Summer is coming” onslaught of emails from Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, and other helpful sources touting this season’s newest and greatest tools and resources for the outdoor cook. More

A Man and His Spoon

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a creature of habit. I find a shirt I like, and I wear it a lot, for a really long time. I’m like that with kitchen utensils, too. So it was with great alarm that I recently realized I couldn’t find my favorite wooden spoon.

After my knife, the wooden spoon is the most important tool in the kitchen. If a man’s home is his castle, and the kitchen my throne room, then the wooden spoon is my scepter. Sometimes I hold it when I’m not even cooking, like a security blanket. More


There are a few things you must know about paella:

• It originates from the region of Valencia in Spain, and traditional versions were made in the field by hunters and contained not seafood but rabbit and snails.

• The pan is called a paella, and the dish is named for the pan. While you can cook a reasonable paella without the pan, it won’t have the same theater (see the video below). Besides, it’ll only set you back around $20 for a 15″ pan from Spain. (

• Paellas were traditionally cooked outdoors over an open fire. This is still the best way to cook paella. Although you can achieve just as good an effect on the barbecue. When our kitchen was being remodeled, I cooked outdoor on the barbecue for two months. We ate a lot of paella. More