So you can't afford Del Posto, but for less than $20, a wind-up version of Mario Batali can be yours. The officially licensed Food Flippin' Mario -- replete with red pony tail, shorts, and orange clogs -- shakes a bottle of olive oil and flips a pan of spaghetti and meatballs (see demo). But, shouldn't it be pici and duck testicles that he's flipping? According to Gearlog, the mini Mario is $15.95 and will arrive in stores after July 15.
There's really no good reason to drop $89.95 on equipment for cooking mussels. Toss the shellfish into any old pot along with some onions and white wine, slap a lid on top, turn up the heat, and you're virtually home-free. But, if you have cash burning a hole in your pocket, Staub's Mussel Pot, made of enameled cast-iron, has a beautiful design that evokes the shape of the bivalves themselves. What's more: A strainer inside the pot separates the mussels from their broth as they cook for efficient tableside bread dipping.
Adopt Your Own Olive Tree
As seen at A Full Belly, adopt one of 881 olive trees from the Nudo olive groves in the Marches, Italy, and for one year you'll receive all of the produce from your tree by mail -- including extra virgin olive oil and olive oil-based soaps: "Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree 1,500 miles away on a hillside in Italy." Each tree adoption will set you back £60 British Pounds (alas, there's no shipping outside of the European Union).
The heat-resistant silicone DiscGo by Chef'n does triple-duty as a trivet, potholder, and jar-opener. It also contains a magnet so that when it's not in use, it may be attached to a refrigerator, stove, or other steel surface for easy storage in even the most space-challenged kitchen.
Pop Art Toaster
This Pop Art Toaster, found at shelter and design blog shelterrific, comes with six toasting stencils that enable you to imprint your morning slice with charred "art" – images ranging from snowflakes to smiley faces. The toaster is available at Target stores in red, black, and white.
Navigating the Modern Market
What to Eat, the latest book from nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, attempts to address the increasing confusion among consumers about the myriad food choices presented by today's retail food marketplace. "This book is about how to think abour the food you eat," writes Dr. Nestle. "By the time you finish it, you should be able to walk into a supermarket, a restaurant, a fast-food outlet, or any other place that sells food and know why the foods are there, what they are, and whether they are worth buying."
Cacao nibs, the broken bits of roasted cocoa beans, seem to be everywhere—lending their deep, rich, and versatile flavor to things sweet and savory, from muffins to coffee to sausage. New York-based Sweetriot has turned the nibs into a confection, covering the tiny morsels of bean in a layer of dark chocolate and packaging them in small tins for ease of snacking. The all-natural, GMO-free, kosher, and gluten-free candies come in three levels of intensity, the darkest of which has an added kick due to the addition of espresso.