Food & Drink

7 new foods and kitchen gadgets worth owning

With the holidays around the corner, companies have released a slew of new products — some more impressive than others — for food enthusiasts. We tested seven to bring you this report:

Taylor’s Ultimate Hot Sauces

What: Miami native Taylor Hicks has created a line of zesty condiments that draws from his family’s varied geographic and culinary backgrounds, including a Peruvian-Style Garlic Sauce, Italian-Style BBQ Sauce and Mild Jalapeño and Habanero Hot Sauces.

Pros: Taylor’s Ultimate sauces put flavor above heat, a rarity in today’s crowded hot-sauce market. The Peruvian garlic sauce has become a staple on my dinner table.

Cons: Heat-seekers may be disappointed that Taylor’s doesn’t produce a spice level beyond mild. Make it so, Mr. Hicks.

Price: $5-$8, available at

Whiskey Elements

What: Oregon start-up company Time and Oak created Whiskey Elements, which are basically small sticks of wood that have been charred to create a smoky aroma and — when dropped in a bottle of whiskey for a day — better-tasting booze.

Pros: Clearly adds a woodsy taste, similar to what you get from top-shelf brands from flyover states. Pleasant neat. With ice, any alcohol burn was negligible, and the woodsy flavor was still there.

Cons: Mixing the wood-cured whiskey with ice and Coke, it was hard to tell the difference from any other bottle of Jack I’ve tasted.

Price: $10 for two, available at

Charles Rabin

Rabbit Jumbo Chilling Stones

What: Icing down your spirit of choice without dilution is the point of these oversize chilling stones.

Pros: Very effective, and they look mighty cool.

Cons: They’re dishwasher-safe, which is a pro, but hand-washing feels like the better option. That said, regular-old ice cubes require no washing at all.

Price: $20 for two, available online or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Musashi Hot Sauces

What: Riding the wave of Sriracha’s spicy popularity, fiery-foods company Musashi has released two variations of the original Rooster sauce: green Midori Sriracha with serrano peppers, and a chile-dairy blend of Japanese Mayo.

Pros: People who find regular Sriracha’s heat level to be a little too intense will appreciate the scaled-down spice of Midori Sriracha (the color’s pretty, too). Musashi Japanese Mayo is versatile enough to be slathered on everything from tuna steaks to sandwiches.

Cons: Japanese Mayo is really, really easy to make at home if you have bottles of Sriracha and mayo.

Price: $5 per 12-ounce bottle, available at

Nutiva Red Palm Oil

What: Organic, vegan, non-genetically modified, Fair Trade-certified red palm oil from Ecuador is carrot-orange and lends a slightly sweet, slightly nutty flavor to cooked foods.

Pros: The heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich fruit oil is better for you than many other cooking fats. I’ve been using it instead of peanut oil to cook popcorn, and a little dollop in cooked brown rice is excellent.

Cons: Palm oil solidifies when chilled, making it somewhat difficult to measure out. Soak the container in warm water before using from the fridge.

Price: $8 for a 15-ounce jar, available at

Bertolli Olive Oil sprays

What: Available in Extra Light, Classico and Extra Virgin varieties, these 5-ounce spray bottles are lightweight, recyclable and free of anything except pure olive oil.

Pros: I like the convenience of being able to dole out oil just a spritz at a time.

Cons: Cleanup of residual Classico spray left on a sauté pan after cooking chicken breasts was sticky and difficult.

Price: About $3.50 per bottle, available at Target.

Rabbit Automatic Electric Corkscrew

What: Billed as the world’s first fully automatic corkscrew, the Rabbit effortlessly uncorks up to 30 bottles between charges.

Pros: Easy to use, impressive to show off, and it definitely makes the job easier if you’ve got a lot of bottles to open.

Cons: You must have the patience to charge it for a full four hours before the first use. Talk about delayed gratification.

Price: $50, available online in red, black or silver.