secret life of ferns
Although the indigenous Pohole fern has been growing on Maui's volcanic slopes for centuries, only recently has one farm, Hana Herbs & Flowers, decided to sell it to mainlanders. The fern has an asparagus-artichoke flavor and is delicious sautéed or steamed ($10 a pound; 808-248-7407).

tasteful tools
Being master of the restaurant universe evidently isn't enough for Alain Ducasse, who has earned six Michelin stars at two of his restaurants. Now he's out to conquer the home-cooking world with hand-chosen tools, ovens, knives and tableware from France. The Parmesan grater ($106) and "Dinnerware Fruits" plates ($330 for six, each with a botanical image) are prime picks (at Bergdorf Goodman; 800-218-4918).

You can put away your mortar and pestle: several new grinders are on the market. Wagner Gourmet Foods is importing South African spice and herb combinations--with unexpected herbs like Saint-John's-wort--in jars with built-in grinders. Gemco Ware's grinders fit right onto McCormick's glass spice jars. And Catalina Salt's device has a noncorrodible ceramic mechanism to grind its Brittany salts. (Wagner Gourmet Foods, 800/832-9017; Gemco Ware, 800/735-4362; Catalina Salts, 530/872-6708)

choice chuck
For 41 years Chuck Williams of Williams- Sonoma has been helping us stock up on kitchen equipment. But we may be tempted not to use it: he's just produced a catalog full of prepared delectables from the four corners of the earth (800-699-2297).

the wheel thing
Teatime isn't limited to scones and cucumber sandwiches now that Bulgari's tea-infused scent "Black" has rolled into town. The fragrance is extracted from a single variety of black tea, and it appeals to both men and women ($60 for 2 1/2 ounces; 800-BULGARI).