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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Kick Start It

How to Make Scrambled Eggs Without Cracking Any Shells

It’s not every day that someone comes up with a new way to prepare an egg.

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Coffee Labs

The Sexy New Espresso Machine Baristas Love

Counter Culture Coffee

Borrowing technology from the medical world, a company rethinks the classic espresso machine.

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F&W Gift Guide

Combi Oven: The Best New Chef Tool

Combi Oven: The Best New Chef Tool

The amazing power of the combi oven has won over star chefs like Daniel Bouloud, but the price has shut most home cooks out—until now. Read more >

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Gadgets

Rachel Swaby, Futuristic Foodie

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Tech Writer Rachel Swaby

Courtesy of Rachel Swaby

 

F&W's April issue spotlights tech toys for foodies. Here, writer Rachel Swaby shares her wired culinary wish list from an intelligent fridge to appliances that talk.

See her list >

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Trendspotting

High-Tech Hotels

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F&W's April issue spotlights tech toys for foodies. Here are a few ways that hotels are getting in on the trend.

Peninsula, Tokyo

Courtesy of Peninsula Tokyo

Citizen M, Amsterdam
Each room at this boutique budget hotel comes equipped with a Moodpad, a tablet that lets guests control music, blinds and even the color of the lights. Doubles from $77; citizenm.com.

Eccleston Square, London
This 39-room hotel has 3-D TVs in every suite, plus iPads that can be used to book spa treatments and order room service. Doubles from $292; ecclestonsquare.com.

Peninsula, Tokyo (photo)
Japanese hotels are famously tech-savvy; rooms in this luxury tower feature Internet radio, digital panels showing the weather forecast and automated espresso machines. Doubles from $784; peninsula.com.

Entertaining

Wine Bottles Reincarnated

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Wine bottle tumblers from BottleHood.

© Leslie Tiano
Wine bottle tumblers from BottleHood.

 

The other day at the beach, I came across a supercool beer bottle neck that had been so polished down by the waves and sand that it could be worn as a ring. It got me thinking about the many other neat ways to repurpose wine and beer bottles that I've seen lately. Atlanta-based Kathleen Plate transforms recycled glass into jewelry with clean, sleek lines—her new pale-blue chandelier necklace looks like the summer sky to me. The fire escape gardener in me appreciates the compact Grow Bottle, an indoor herb planter crafted from reclaimed restaurant wine bottles. And colored wine bottles look great on the tabletop even long after the last drop has been poured: In San Diego, BottleHood recrafts wine, beer and spirit bottles into unique glassware, from frat-house-ready Red Stripe glasses to funky-elegant green glass tumblers. Its glassware would be perfect on a casual summer table—along with a chilled summer bottle that's still full, of course.

Beer

Home Brew How-To

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Beer Craft book

© Rodale/design by Jessi Rymill

 

It’s hard not to geek out on beer this summer with the explosion of beer gardens and radical new micro (and nano) brews. Beer expert Christian DeBenedetti urges beer enthusiasts to take things to the next level and start brewing at home.
 
“Give a person a six pack, they'll drink for a day," says DeBenedetti. "Teach them to brew…" OK, you know the rest. These days, what was once a messy affair has gotten simpler and way more fun with the advent of smarter books and equipment. Suffice it to say that the joy of tasting your first successful home brew isn't easily put into words. If you can follow a recipe, you can make your own beer, and it's cheaper in the long run, too. If you get really good, you might even show off your skills in cool New York City bars like The Diamond, where, in addition to a Shuffleboard Biathlon, there is the Brew 'n’ Chew, a home-brew and home-cooking competition.
 
Start with the new book Beer Craft: Six Packs From Scratch by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. "Home brewing is easy—you probably already have most of the equipment at home," says Bostwick. "But it's also something you can geek out over and get a gallon of great beer in the process (and mess up the kitchen a little)." The genius of this book is that it takes an incredibly complex topic and boils it down to quaffable parts without dumbing down the key points of becoming a serious homebrew honcho. You've got everything from basic definitions of beer ingredients to detailed yeast strain recommendations and an incredibly helpful primer on off flavors and insights into genre-bending sour beers.
 
Once you have the book, find a local home-brew shop (some Whole Foods stores carry equipment) or order a home-brew kit and you're ready to go.

Gadgets

Ultimate Cured-Meat App

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© Michael Graham


I know basic meat-speak: prosciutto, soppressata, mortadella. But I couldn’t tell you the difference between zampone modena (an Italian salami stuffed inside a boned-out pig trotter) or lonza stagionata (a dried, cured pork tenderloin). I recently discovered a smart new app developed by Michael Graham, the co-owner of C’est Cheese in Santa Barbara, California. “The cured-meats section of the shop is my little baby,” says Graham. “And I noticed that there were cheese apps on the market, but nothing devoted to navigating the sometimes-confusing world of charcuterie. I wanted to create something to help people understand the style of meat, the flavor and substitutions. For instance, if a recipe calls for pancetta, the app tells them they can use bacon instead.” The app includes information for more than 100 cured meats and other cured foods, such as anchovies and foie gras. Graham says he’ll release an updated version with more photos and information in just a few weeks. Download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/salumi/id398103550?mt=8.

Gadgets

Supersharp New Knives

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Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

© Justin Chapple
Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.

 

I would hardly consider myself a knife connoisseur, but when I see a shiny new blade, I can’t help but want to take it for a test slice. When I learned that Bob Kramer, master bladesmith and knife designer, was partnering with Zwilling J.A. Henckels to create a top-of-the line series of chef knives made with straight carbon steel (a material that produces a hard, thin and ultimatelysupersharp blade), I had to experience it for myself.
 
I recently joined our fantastic editorial assistant Maggie Mariolis at a preview party. We watched in awe as Kramer cut through a two-inch-thick rope with one swipe and then proceeded to slice a tomato with sheer perfection. Perhaps the most fascinating portion of the demonstration was witnessing him seemingly destroy his knife’s edge by roughly scraping it across a honing steel—as I clenched my teeth in pain—and bringing it back to life with a few swift strokes on his sharpening stone. It was magic!
 
Prices range from $139.95 to $349.95. The knives will be available at Sur La Table next month and in the rest of the US market in September.

Gadgets

Kitchen-Design Inspiration at MoMA

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Frankfurt Kitchen

© The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (Austrian, 1897-2000). Frankfurt Kitchen from the Ginnheim-Höhenblick Housing Estate, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (reconstruction).

Despite the years I spent working in art museums, I often still wait until the closing weekend to make it out to see an exhibition—and then I invariably regret my procrastination. Lucky for me, though, recent out-of-town guests motivated me to visit Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC long before its March 14, 2011, closing date. Truthfully, I feared a dull history of kitchen appliances, but the show was a fascinating look at how cultural events shape our culinary environment—and vice versa. Long before Ikea came on the scene, for example, the post-WWI-era Frankfurt Kitchen was designed to maximize efficiency by using every inch of available storage space. After seeing all the amazing kitchenware in the galleries, I couldn’t resist hitting MOMA’s great gift shop. My favorite pieces at the store: a gorgeous Zucch Sugar Pourer by Alessi and funky retro Margrethe Prep Bowls by Acton Bjoern.

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