Every geek eventually has a morning where they wake up and realize, wait—I've got a lab right here in my house! If the geek in your life has reached that day, there is something on this list for them. If the geek in your life has not reached that day, a care package of one or more of these items will speed them along.
You've heard all the hype, which may be true. You've heard that it's both a slow cooker and a pressure cookie, which is definitely true. But set all that aside. Here is the important part: You can come home from work having forgotten to set out chicken to thaw, and make a tender, savory bird that hasn't been brutalized by the microwave's defrost setting... in less than an hour.
For about $20, you can make a bottle of wine that cost less than $20 taste like it cost more than $20, over and over again. ($20 being the line at which you go from, "It'll feel like a steal if this is really good!" to "I expect this to be good.")
Science Bonus!: Named for the Venturi Effect, in which pressure in fluid in a pipe is reduced if the pipe is constricted. It's what pulls air into the wine, just like how a carburetor mixes air with fuel.
But isn't it too late to start sous vide-ing, you might ask? No, we'd tell you. No, it's never too late to start sous vide-ing.
When Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione stopped by , we asked him if there was a way to stop a growler from getting flat if you weren't drinking it all in one sitting. His answer: "You need more friends or smaller growlers." Now there's a third option. The uKeg uses a CO2 canister to keep the beer inside pressurized. It also uses double wall insulation to keep it cold. It's like a more portable kegerator—portable enough to carry in to your local brewery, and walk out with a few pints of the draft-only special that you know won't go bad.
How many coffee makers can say they were invented by a Stanford engineer, let alone by the guy who invented those that fly beyond the horizon? Well, this one can. But that aside, the proof is in the coffee: This thing makes a damn good cup of joe.
PM Senior Home Editor Roy Berendsohn, who is legendary around the office for his fanaticism about maintaining blade sharpness, says this is his favorite low-cost sharpener for when he doesn't have the time to get out his water stones and do his sharpening the old-fashioned way.
Baking is like chemistry—so if you plan to take it seriously, you need to be precise with your ingredients. (And indications lately are that, ) Using a kitchen scale gets you that precision, and this one, from My Weight, has a considerable capacity and a sturdy base.
How is this for tech-loving? The Kitchenaid isn't just a product, it's a platform. Sure, you can mix—but throw on the right attachment and you can , , ... the list is almost endless.
Plus, that design will never age.
Stop grinding your coffee with a spice grinder and move into the world of burrs. You could get something that costs more than your coffee maker, but why, when this handheld version will do the trick? Unlike a spice grander, whose blades chop beans into uneven pieces, a burr grinder slices the beans into consistent bits. And the grind size is adjustable.
Allow PM Contributor Francine Maroukian to explain: "There are other brands that mimic the design, but there is only one company producing this amazingly accurate instrument. Powered by a 12-volt battery, the geeky Thermapen has a bright, clear digital readout and remarkable temperature range (-50 F to 572 F)... It’s scary fast—technical response time is 0.6 seconds, or three seconds divided by five, with 99 percent accuracy—and has a unique thermocouple (electronic temperature sensor) that requires only about a 1/8-inch insertion to get accurate readings for anything from a thin skirt steak to a hulking rib roast. And when you need to have your Thermapen recalibrated, you can do it directly though their return program."
Fizz is applied to water via a carbon-dioxide infuser that can be dialed up or down to adjust effervescence. Which is great, because bubbly water blows away the flat stuff. It's just better. And being able to ask "Still or sparkling?" makes you look fancy when hosting dinner parties.
Crowned best waffle maker after a PM office gantlet.
Sure, an unfinished beer is a rarity. But when you just can't polish off that 14 percent barleywine, this bottle opener is a boon. Serrated edges help you twist the cap back on so the bubbles will still be there tomorrow.
Preparing meats with low heat in several hours not only imparts more smokey flavor than grilling, it also nearly guarantees a moist, tender finished product.
The most expensive of the recent spate of science-based cooking texts—and the most expensive thing on this list—but think of it this way: It's the only thing made of wood pulp and glue that could be accurately called the pièce de résistance in a well-equipped tech-loving foodie's kitchen.