All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As 2019 comes to a close, we at Epicurious are having many discussions about how to be more environmentally-conscious in the kitchen this coming year. Perhaps nobody in our office is more invested in this endeavor than our Digital Director, David Tamarkin. Naturally, when it came time to ask him about what he wanted for Hanukkah this year, his first answer was “nothing,” because, he reasoned, there is nothing sustainable about consumerism. But upon further prodding, Tamarkin was able to come up with a few things he'd like to receive in order to help him reduce waste—"stuff that reduces other stuff." And, okay, also a modest selection of new tools to fuel his ongoing bread-baking obsession. If you happen to be shopping for an eco-friendly home cook—maybe one who is preparing for COOK90 this January—or an enthusiastic bread baker, check out Tamarkin's wishlist below.
Nigel Slater's Greenfeast Books
"Nigel Slater always hits the sweet spot," Tamarkin says. "He is unpretentious and unfussy, yet lives in a fancy house with a meticulous garden (see his Instagram for major house envy). There’s a general aura of wellness around his recipes, but he’s also very decadent at times. He’s laughably old-fashioned but also admirably modern. He’s everything and nothing—which is to say he’s really quite something." Slater's books come out in the UK before they come out in the US, but Tamarkin doesn't want to wait for his newest books, a pair of volumes about seasonal eating. So he's hoping somebody will order him the British versions. "I just don’t like to wait," he says. "And I prefer British measurements anyway."
“I want people to give me beeswax wrappers, because in 2020 I want to get rid of plastic in my kitchen completely." Tamarkin's mother actually just gave him some of these wrappers when he was home for Thanksgiving. ("You would have thought somebody gave me a bag of gold coins, I was so happy," he says.) But a 3-pack is not really enough, so he's hoping to receive even more. "If you cook with any regularity you'll need a lot of these to get rid of plastic wrap altogether.”
BUY IT: Bee's Wrap, $18 on Amazon
Made of organic cotton, these reusable toppers are another alternative to plastic wrap, and also a handy substitute for aluminum foil. This one is designed to cover a standard casserole dish, which makes it especially useful for transporting knock-out side dishes to any upcoming holiday potlucks. Which is why we also included it on this year's gift guide.
BUY IT: Aplat Topper, $26 on Etsy
"Induction cooking is interesting to me on multiple levels. I'm interested in the precision. Over Thanksgiving I was using an induction cooktop to fry onions for Anna Stockwell’s green beans, and there was a setting that claimed it would keep the oil at the right temperature the entire time. And you know what? It worked." Mostly, though, Tamarkin is interested in induction cooking as a sustainability move. "When you're cooking with gas, you are literally burning fossil fuels. So I feel that induction cooking is a valuable investment.”
"I’m having a real bread moment at home, and I don’t have any bannetons. A banneton is basically a basket that you let your shaped dough rise in. It helps the dough keep its shape and gives it this nice ring pattern. Right now I’m just using a towel-lined bowl, which is fine, but, you know...if I'm going to be nerdy about bread, why not go all the way?"
“I also want a proper lame. I’ve been scoring my bread with a knife, and a week ago I scored it too deep and the bread ended up falling in the middle. The loaf ended up looking like a huge doughnut. Not cute!” While it is certainly possible to score dough with a knife, a proper lame like this one is the standby tool for professional bakers and bread enthusiasts alike. We chose this one for its affordability and wood-turned design.
“I bake my bread in a dutch oven, but it's very limiting, because it means I can't bake breads of any other shape—no baguettes, no fougasse. I mean, I’m an amateur, and so it's fine—I could spend the rest of my life doing just one shape of bread. But a proper baking stone would be nice to have.”
Originally Appeared on Epicurious