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People who have been paying attention to Alison Roman know that she's into lemons, anchovies, and boozy popsicles, all of which (minus the popsicles) can be found in her first cookbook, Dining In. Now, she's back with a new cookbook, Nothing Fancy, dedicated to entertaining. It's full of her signature crowd-pleasing, impressive but unfussy fare that tends to be generous on salt, acid, and cheese: Think a labneh dip that's essentially a fancy ranch, savory fruit salads, and—yes—more anchovies (on potato chips, no less!). But enough about groceries! We wanted to know all the things other than food that Alison Roman can't live without. So we asked her to write this list—which she couldn't resist putting anchovies on anyway.
A Flexible Dough Scraper
"I use this super flexible, very strong pastry scraper for everything. I use it to clean my countertops, scrape the bowl when I’m making anything dough or batter related, transfer chopped onions to a pot or herbs to a bowl. It can be dyed using vinegar and food coloring, which I recommend because they are clear and otherwise you will 100% lose it."
Santa Fe Stoneworks Stuff
"If you like dreamcatchers and wear lots of sterling silver, you are going to LOVE these people. They make gorgeous knives, wine keys, "cheese spreaders," (lol), and some other weird stuff that you might want, who knows. It’s all inlaid with gemstones and turquoise like the kind of jewelry my mom wears, which maybe means I am just one step closer to becoming my mother. Caveat is that all their best stuff is in-store, not online."
A Fermentation Crock
"It’s the one annoyingly bulky kitchen thing I own that I actually use. I am not a bells-and-whistles kitchen appliance kind of person, but I really appreciate a well-made ceramic crock, which I suppose is less appliance, more “tool?” I mostly use it for kimchi, sauerkraut and dill pickles in the summertime. Once I went out of town and forgot I left a batch fermenting and after I came home couldn’t tell for weeks—that’s how well this crock seals. I opened it to start a new batch of pickles and...wow. Let’s just say I’ll never forget a batch of pickles again."
BUY IT: Fermentation Jars, $175–$280 at Sarah Kersten, or, similar on Etsy.
Tiny Vintage Le Creuset Dutch Ovens
"Lots of people like to buy small items when they travel, things that will easily fit inside their suitcase or carry on, lightweight or collapsable trinkets to bring back with them to remind them of their time away. Not me. I prefer to bring home the heaviest thing I can possibly find, i.e. cast iron pots and skillets from flea markets and vintage stores. I mean, anyone can buy a new Staub Dutch oven and have it shipped to their door, but what about a perfectly patina’d orange Le Crueset pot from a discontinued model and color made in 1964? Exactly."
BUY IT: Vintage Le Creuset Dutch Ovens, prices vary, at Etsy, or, similar.
This Extremely Cute Pepper Grinder
"This pepper mill is my current favorite color and grinds like a dream (not too coarse, not too fine). It has yet to break on me, and I use the hell out of it, so I have to assume in addition to being well designed, it’s well made."
My Sweet, Sweet Sonos
"I am not being paid to say this, although I would definitely take the money. I can’t cook, write, work, or live without music and podcasts, and handling the back and forth of Bluetooth became too annoying. I love how the Sonos speakers are always connected through wifi with no annoying pairing or charging. Plus, the speakers sound incredible."
BUY IT: Sonos Play: 1, $199 at Sonos or $199 on Amazon
A Linen Apron
"I’m not great at keeping things unwrinkled, so things that are intentionally wrinkled really work for my lifestyle. This is why I love linen everything: flax dresses, linen sheets, a flowy pant. And I really, really love my linen apron. Since it’s 2017, mine is pink, but they come in lots of other colors, too."
BUY IT: Linen aprons, $45 at Merci
"I love candles so much. Because I don’t like fragranced stuff when I’m cooking or eating, I have a ton of tea lights and nondescript votives like these to light during dinner. It’s like every night my living room becomes a Pinterest upstate barn wedding. But damn, I am also such a sucker for a nice smelling (expensive) candle. It makes me feel rich when I light it (I'm not!). Despite their wildly high price tag, I recently let myself get into Diptyque. I like this one. (Yes, I like patchouli, and I won’t apologize for it.)"
I love these net bags. While I fantasize about using them like a chic French person to carry fresh produce and wheels of cheese, I really just use mine to store all my other tote bags. But it looks cute as hell and keeps my things kinda organized, so I love it.
Vintage Bowls and Platters
"Most of my serving bowls and platters are vintage finds that I buy when I travel (again, not a practical person). But you can find some of this stuff on sites like Ebay and Etsy, like these Russel Wright ceramics, which I am obsessed with, or these Texas Ware bowls, which I collect because they are colorful, weird and indestructible."
"I am a very boring pantry person and don't really use a ton of special condiments or fancy things. But I will always—always!—have anchovies on hand. I use them melted into olive oil to start pasta sauces and stews, I finely chop them and throw into dressings for salads and roasted vegetables, and yes, I marinate them in vinegar and chile to put on top of seedy bread. Or I just eat them naked, right out of the jar on top of soft boiled eggs or garlicky toast. These ones from Ortiz are cheap enough to cook with but nice enough to eat raw."
Originally Appeared on Epicurious