Alton Brown's Good Eats Limited Edition 36-DVD Collection - Amazon.com, $130
I love how Alton Brown combines sweet and savory with smart and scientific. It took me a few seasons to warm up to his sometimes-dry approach to culinary education and entertainment, but now I'm hooked. Food Network says the show "explores the origins of ingredients, decodes culinary customs and presents food and equipment trends." (On a side note, I've tried several recipes from the show and have been really pleased.)
Tickets to the Charleston Food and Wine Festival - Charlestonfoodandwine.com, $725 (weekend pass); $55-$150 (individual event tickets)
The Charleston Food and Wine Festival is scheduled for March 5-8 in Charleston, S.C. In addition to low country fare, cooking demonstrations and sessions with celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, the festival benefits charitable organizations such as the MUSC Children's Hospital. Alabama chefs, including a few well-knowns from Birmingham, have been known to make appearances at the festival, as well.
King's Cupboard Molten Chocolate Cake Mix - Kingscupboard.com, $9.99
I'll admit it - I get really excited when I see any kind of molten, warm, lava cake on a restaurant's menu. I would never attempt to make at home, which is probably a good thing considering my inability to resist its charm. However, I recently saw King's Cupboard Molten Chocolate Cake Mix on Food Network's show Unwrapped, and have been a bit obsessed ever since.
Le Creuset 8-piece stainless steel cookware Set - Williams-Sonoma, The Cook Store and Bake and Cook, Co., $450
Le Creuset is regarded as one of the best cookware brands. Honestly, I would be happy with a complete set of pots and pans, regardless the brand. After four (and a half) years of college, my kitchen supplies are limited to mismatched flatware, a few hand-me-down skillets, a wok and a bunch of pots without lids and lids without pots.
What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page - Amazon.com, $25
I would love to finally know what wine to drink with fish and why beer doesn't seem to go with anything except pizza and chicken wings. It seems like this book could help. Here's the product description from Amazon.com: "The most comprehensive guide to matching food and drink ever compiled, by the James Beard Award winning author team of Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, with practical advice from more than 70 of America'92s leading pairing experts." The book features over fifteen hundred entries based on the "collective wisdom of experts at dozens of America'92s best restaurants, including Alinea, Babbo, Bern'92s, Blue Hill, Chanterelle, Daniel, Emeril'92s, French Laundry, Frontera Grill, Inn at Little Washington, Jean Georges, Masa'92s, The Modern, Per Se, Rubicon, Tru, and Valentino." Apparently, the book will also give "authoritative recommendations for stocking your cellar and kitchen with must-have beverages, from wines to waters. You'92ll also learn what to drink with everything from French toast to Chinese food, and what to eat with everything from Pinot Noir to green tea, to create mouthwatering matches."
Kitchenaid Hand Mixer - Sears, $50
The reason I need this is simple: I am tired of stirring and mixing by hand. I am probably the last person on Earth who doesn't own one of these things, but I've already described my pathetic kitchen utensil situation so this shouldn't come as any surprise.
Birmingham Originals Gift Card - BirminghamOriginals.com, Any denomination
I am one of those people; I can never decide where to eat. Luckily, this card can be used at any one of the 26 participating Birmingham Originals restaurants.