Culinary boy toys for Dad on his special day


Some of the country’s top chefs are also devoted dads (Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Brian Malarkey, Gordon Ramsey) who frequently concoct scrumptious treats for their kids. Whether your special guy is a gustatory trail blazer, a grill meister, a gourmet guru or a pizza and beer junkie here are some creative gifts to enliven his culinary repertoire for Father’s Day, June 16.

Foaming at the Mug

Now he can become a brew master in the comfort of his own man cave at home. He’ll go head over heels for this do-it-yourself brewing kit available online and in specialty stores (Williams-Sonoma and that ilk), complete with fermentation and testing paraphernalia, and a video for a step-by-step tutorial on crafting artisanal beers that are pub worthy. Whether his druthers are India Pale Ale, Summer Wheat or Bruxelles Blonde, these natural brewing kits include superior quality barley, hops, yeast and spices.

Smokin’ in the Boys Room

Although gas grills are cleaner and greener than traditional Webers fueled by charcoal, they don’t infuse the food with that machismo smokiness that guys crave. So buy him a smoker box for imparting that hickory and outdoorsy essence to both carnivorous and vegetarian offerings. This accessory, which fits on the grill surface, can be filled with aromatic herbal, fruity or manly mesquite scented wood chips.

Or a Japanese wood stick that crumbles over the fire will also make foods rock ‘n roll with an amalgam of flavors depending on the wood choice. Cherry for fruity undertones that compliment chicken or pork, Japanese oak for a woodsy taste ideal for seafood, chicken and beef, or beech wood for a delicate smoky quality to dial-up the flavors of fish and seafood.


Every guy’s gustatory toolbox should be upgraded seasonally with the latest grilling toys and accessories to ratchet-up the fun factor. How about heavy-gauge barbecue claws for clutching, turning, lifting and shredding an assortment of meats and poultry? Or a stainless-steel corrugated chef’s press for faster, even cooking and sealing in juices.

If your man is a nocturnal griller, he’ll need a flexible grill light that is battery powered and neatly clips onto the edge of the barbecue. Extra long, (past the forearm), ambidextrous (fits both right or left hands), heat-resistant grilling mitts are another option. Or a state-of-the-art portable meat thermometer with multiple settings to tell the doneness of everything from lamb and burgers to chicken and pork according to USDA safe food guidelines.

Walk the Plank

Aromatic wood planks including cedar, alder and maple are not only anti-microbial, but infuse fish, fowl, meats and vegetables with a delightful smoky flavor while keeping them moist and juicy. Just make sure these planks are presoaked so they won’t become charred offerings.

A new kid on the block is a Himalayan slab of natural sea salt that sears fish and meat to perfection, while imparting them with a fresh, delightful flavor.

Therein Lies the Rub

He’ll love tinkering with an assortment of ethnic rubs that easily transform the nationality of grilled foods by changing the combo of herbs and spices. Morph meats, fish, seafood and veggies to Italian (rosemary, basil, oregano and olive oil), shake things up with Moroccan flavors (cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger) or do Yankee Doodle Smoky Dandy with brown sugar, cayenne, garlic and mustard powder. Rubs tenderize poultry and meats, while infusing everything from Angus to zucchini with a savory oomph.

Moroccan Rub

Moroccan Rub

• Great on meats, chicken

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons each white and brown sugar

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon ginger powder

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon turmeric

Method: Combine ingredients in a bowl. Season the meats well with the rub. Wrap rubbed meat in waxed paper and refrigerate for several hours before grilling.

Italian Rub

• Ideal for seafood, fish, veggies

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons each white and brown sugar

Fresh rosemary from two stems

2 tablespoons oregano

2 tablespoons basil

2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

2 garlic gloves, chopped

Juice from half a lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method: Combine ingredients in a bowl. Brush the mixture on fish or veggies. Refrigerate for 1 hour before grilling.

Kitchen Shrink’s Rub Rules

Use 2 tablespoons of dry rub per pound of meat

Put rub in a shaker bottle to keep your hands clean, and for even distribution of spices

For additional Dad’s Day recipes e-mail