Farmers markets are open, lots of great produce is coming into season, and gardens are blooming. It’s time to spice up your kitchen- and luckily, manufacturers are only to happy to help. We’ve been testing several products that should help just about any chef, from the budding amateur to the seasoned professional, and have gear to suggest for just about any budget or size of kitchen. In this piece, we offer two great gifts for mom- one that’s perfect for the mother on the go, and the other for any space-conscious parent with a classy kitchen.
Let’s start with a cute and fun coffee mug, the Mighty Mug Go. At first glance, it might appear like just another vessel for your morning cup of joe or afternoon tea. But beyond that fairly normal insulation and cupholder-friendly size, it offers their patented SmartGrip technology. It’s not a fancy material or way for you to hold the cup- but a suction method that prevents spills. It’s nearly impossible to knock this cup down as long as it is on a flat, even surface. Everywhere we tested it, people were impressed- they’d try to push gently, then more forcefully, and become a bit confused when they were able to pick it up with seemingly no resistance. The magic is in the two-piece design, which is BPA free and dishwasher safe. Available for pre-order in what they describe as a variety of “baller” colors, it’s a very reasonable $14.99.
Next up, if you’re looking for an interesting set of surprisingly versatile cookware, take a look at the Cristel line of “L” pans, featuring removable handles. They’ve long been known in France, where they are still made, but are just now making their way to our shores. Sure, not everyone needs the removable handles- we like hanging and displaying our cookware. But especially if you’d like to go to the table and serve straight out of the pan, this is an elegant way to do it, with minimal hassle or fuss. You can also attach side handles for use in the over. Plus, the handles come in multiple colors and styles- we choose the stainless steel to match the pan, and there are plenty of sizes in the line to choose from as well, ranging from steamers to saucepans, and we tried out the small Cristel Brushed Stainless Steel frying pan. Warning: if you come across their non-USA-focused website, it’s pretty terrible, Flash-based, impossible to link to direct items, with auto-play music that we could not find out how to disable.
But we loved the pan- it looks and feels great, polished and well-made, with near-perfect balance and a lovely three-layer base of 18/10 stainless steel, aluminum, and 18/10 stainless steel. This makes it usable on all heat sources, including induction, though we primarily tested on a gas stove. Dishwasher safe, we were worried about the handles durability and balance, but once attached, is surprisingly solid- you’ll never worry about flipping an egg and having the handle fly off. It’s fairly expensive for the size, but performs quite well, handling searing and frying without oil and remaining in great condition after some serious use. Available for around $100-$170.