Joke Gift Box for “Foodies”

Salt-of-the-Month Club

When I was a kid, my mom found an old box that was just about the size of a Barbie display box, stuffed it with thermal underwear, and then sealed it inside Christmas wrapping paper. My mom watched me shake that box ten times a day for two weeks. Peeling back the shiny foil to see plain cardboard and then pulling out itchy long johns forged one of those childhood experiences that’s never forgotten. Ever.

Now you can play an equally fun trick on a loved one in your life. From America’s Finest News Source comes this gotcha giftbox, perfect for folks who alphabetize their spices or drop words like mise en place, Chez Panisse, and detrimental coffee taste sensations into daily conversation.

I’m sure it works well on parents, too. I can’t wait to see my mom’s face on Christmas morning.

Voodoo and the Top Pot: Doughnuts Galore


Two weeks of camping has a way of simplifying one’s needs. Or, at least, it should. I must admit that I was rather taken with a supply run at REI’s flagship store in Seattle. Amazing what we can schlep along with us as essential gear, but gone are the days — thank goodness! — of wet wool, freeze-dried food and heavy tents. And remember the taste of water after sloshing around in one of those metal canteens?

I was more than happy to wander back into civilization as we made our way home. If you’re planning a trip yourself to the Pacific Northwest, here are two places worth visiting. I’ll post more once I get back to San Francisco, but for now, a taste of my travels….

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“Grilling” Fish Inside Your Kitchen

My first summer in San Francisco, I bought a little Weber and installed it on my fire escape. Within two minutes of lighting its inaugural pile of charcoal, I answered my doorbell to find an irate neighbor pointing at the flames and reminding me that all the houses in our neighborhood were constructed of wood. My poor Smokey Joe was instantly retired. Since then, I’ve explored various safer ways to char my food and finally, after quite a few years, settled on a system that actually works.

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