International Womens’ Day or The 8th of March is just around the corner, and if you are like my HRH (Horrible Russian Husband), you’ve not done a damn thing about it. On this one day, Russian men traditionally take on the burdens of cooking and housekeeping, as well as showering their mothers, wives, girlfriends, work colleagues, daughters, and so on with gifts of flowers, chocolates, and maybe something more along the lines of a girl’s best friend!
There are a lot of jokes about 8th of March, and many of them are about men giving women toasters. I agree that a toaster is pathetic, but here are a few ideas that aren’t. If the ladies in your life are at all into cooking — they’ll be more than delighted with one of these splendid pieces of kitchen kit. And if the price tag seems a bit daunting — take a deep breath and think about all the tasty things to come!
The uninitiated will balk — should a mixer cost as much as the down payment on a car? In this case – yes! Serious cooks agree — there is no substitute to this BMW of mixers whose essential design has not changed in decades. The basic mixer comes with interchangeable attachments: a paddle, a whisk, and a dough hook. Kitchen Aid also offers numerous optional equipment including an ice-cream maker, pasta iron, and meat grinder. Choose from one of the many cheerful colors, this workhorse will add efficiency and luster to your kitchen!
Humankind has yet to find anything to beat the heat conductivity of copper cookware. These attractive saucepans and saute pans are the hallmark of a true gourmand. They require maintenance (you have to polish them to keep them shining) and they aren’t dishwasher safe, but nothing says “serious cook” like a row of these hanging above a stove. Most chefs agree that copper pots should be lined with tin, which is true. The ones you’ll find in Moscow are generally lined with stainless steel, which is easier to take care of. They aren’t cheap, but then again, they never wear out!
Staub and Le Creuset both have their passionate followers and each camp swears their product is the best in the business. I’m just relieved they are both now available in Moscow because even I would have trouble getting them into a suitcase. Available in a range of attractive colors and sizes, these versatile ovens go from stovetop into the oven and are the perfect way to cook soups, stews, braises, and casseroles. They are dishwasher safe and virtually indestructible. Available in a staggering range of sizes and colors — start your collection today!
Be careful when shopping for these in Moscow as fakes abound. Williams & Olliver is a good choice.
How Escoffier and Mrs. Patmore (and poor old Daisy) would have loved a food processor! Mine is out every day and makes chopping, blending, grating, shredding, and other time-consuming tasks the work of a minute! In fact, poor old Daisy would have probably been out of a job! Food processors come with interchangeable blades (steel for chopping, mixing and pureeing and plastic for whisking and kneading) and discs for shredding and grating. Some food processors come with discs for cubing or waffle cutting vegetables. My choice for this year is the Philips Robust Food Processor, which appears to be the most powerful model available in Moscow. Bork have a very good model as well.
Here’s a slam dunk for your cleaning lady, Chief Accountant, or nanny. Hand-held mixers are made by almost every major electronics company and often come with attachments for whisking or as motors for a mini-food processor. These are a mess-free way of quickly making smoothies, salad dressing, pureeing a soup or sauce, or mixing up a marinade.
Available at most electronic stores in Moscow.
This is one of the most ancient cooking tools to survive intact to our era. A marble or stone mortar and pestle is the best way to grind spices, crack peppercorns or crush coriander seeds. It makes an elegant gift to the discerning cook.
Available at Azbukha Vkusa, Globus Gourmet, and Williams & Olliver
7. Breakfast in Bed:
Should all else fail, don’t forget to start the day as you mean to go on…with breakfast in bed for your international woman! Croissants from your local bakery, fresh strawberries, hot coffee, and some lovely flowers are great…
8. …but breakfast in bed in Paris — or indeed any exotic location — is a much better idea!
Available at Aspera Travel.
Readers – what are your plans for 8th of March? What are you hoping to receive with your morning croissants and coffee on Thursday? What’s your pick of the 8 items above?