Holiday Gifts for the Cook or Baker (Or For Your Own Kitchen)

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WASHINGTON, DC- DECEMBER 3, 2014: Teak salt cellar with swing-close lid from Be Home ($40), at Salt


Salt is the oldest and most widely used spices in the world. It’s both an essential nutrient and fundamental flavor. Without enough of it, our blood pressure would be too low for our hearts to pump, and even worse, we can’t even taste our food. That’s because some of our taste buds are coded just to taste salt. We crave it because we need it.

Finishing salts are all the rage these days, for good reason. You should always use salt during the cooking process. It affects the way flavors meld together, by helping soften cell walls so precious flavors can escape their bonds and mix the flavor of other ingredients in the wondrous chemistry that we call cooking. But after all that reacting, if we want to experience the sharp salt taste that continues to encance flavor chemistry inside your mouth, we need to add finishing salt: a sprinkle on top, just after cooking. Regular table salt will do, but fancy salts have their own flavors that are often more mineral-y and less salty-tasting.

Salt Traders carries tons of different types of salt, like cherry wood smoked sea salt and Black Diamond Cyprus Black Sea salt flakes. They also sell very attractive salt collection gift packs.

Chef Shop dot com sells 1000s of types of salt, including classic fancy French finishing salts like Fleur de Sel and Sel Gris (grey salt) from Brittany, France. The Chopped judges would approve.

Salt planks are another hip salt gift. They’re used for cooking and serving, lending delicate salty flavor with either application. Salt Traders sells beautiful blocks, planks and cups of Pink Himalayan salt. They’re so pretty you almost want to make them into jewelry instead of cooking with them.