Mash-Up Gift Guide: 6 Must Haves From Our Kitchen to Yours

Photo credit: Nicole Abalde/Flickr
Spice it up, kids.
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Mash-Ups love food. Really really really love food. It’s how we explore and express our identities. It’s how we bring our family and friends together. It’s how we make sense of the world. So what better gifts can we recommend than the essentials of our Mash-Up Kitchen? You’ll also want to check out our 6 Mash-Up Cookbooks, and for the little ones, our 6 Ideas for Mash-Up Kids.

1. Rice Cooker


Image Credit:
Photo courtesy of

Arroz con frijoles? Kimchi fried rice? Joloff rice? Cherry rice? Rice is the center of many of our Mash-Up cuisines. Also, it’s delicious and we eat it at every meal. A rice cooker makes perfect rice and needs no tending to. Buy this top of the line Zojirushi 5-1/2-Cup Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer. It’s worth it.

Arroz for all!

2. Cast Iron Tortilla Press


Photo credit: Phil Lees/Flickr
Photo credit: Phil Lees/Flickr

Tortillas are the only thing we eat as much as rice. We love making our own at home because they have this amazing thickness and texture.

Or you can try these:

Gift Set with Maseca & a Tortilla Basket


This is a great way to get started, and don’t feel bad that you aren’t using fresh masa…Latinos the world over use Maseca.

Wooden Tortilla Press

from $15.99

Word is, this is the old school way of making tortillas…if you have a little more space in your kitchen  this is a good one.

3. Wei Kitchen Amber Vinegar & Shallot Oil

$32 for a gift set , $10 for a sample pack.

Wei Kitchen Oil & Vinegar
Photo courtesy of Wei Kitchen

This wonderful new company is creating artisan Vietnamese-inspired products. They’ve started with the Amber Vinegar & Shallot Oil that Vietnamese-Chinese-Jewish-American Founder Debbie grew up making at home. You know that vinegar that comes when you order bun? Who wouldn’t love to pour that on everything?

4. Stainless Steel Spoon (sudgarak) and Chopsticks (jeokkarak)


Photo credit: Alpha/Flickr
Photo credit: Alpha/Flickr

Basically, it’s just better to eat with the long handled spoon and the stainless steel chopsticks that are common in Korea (and in Korean restaurants). The weight and shape of the chopsticks is really satisfying and the spoon handle is long enough for you to get at the banchan across the table.

5. Hot Sauce of the Month Club

$149 for one year

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Mash-Ups love chili peppers. So it’s either a hot sauce of the month, or bulk Sriracha.

6. Spices Paired with Cookbooks

Prices from $13 $40

Photo credit: Sudhamshu Hebbar/Flickr
Photo credit: Sudhamshu Hebbar/Flickr

Mission Critical: stocked spice rack. We’re big believers in cooking with confidence and experimenting, but let’s be honest, having the right spices and taking a few tips from the masters really helps. Following are our recommended spice gifts from some of our favorite cuisines, plus a cookbook to guide you.


Gift Box of Indian Spices  including Anise, Cayenne, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel, Mustard Seed, Turmeric and More


Photo courtesy of Spicely
Photo courtesy of Spicely


Pair with Madhur Jaffrey’s An Invitation to Indian Cooking


Photo courtesy of Knopf Doubleday
Photo courtesy of Knopf Doubleday

Jaffrey played a pivotal role in making Indian cooking accessible to UK and US audiences. Her recipes are delicious, with a depth of flavor, while still being accessible. She’s also an amazing actress.


Gift Box of Middle Eastern Spices Including Za-atar, Paprika, Sumac, Saffron, Nutmeg, Cardamom and More


Photo courtesy of Spicely
Photo courtesy of Spicely


Pair with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cookbook: Plenty More


Photo courtesy of Random House
Photo courtesy of Random House

Israeli-born Ottolenghi lives in London and has published some of the greatest cookbooks of the last few years. We swear by his cookbook, Jerusalem which takes you on a tour of Jewish and Arab cooking in Israel and Palestine. Plenty More is a vegetarian cookbook, inspired by seasonal vegetables and middle eastern spices, all fresh and tang.

Posted by Rebecca Lehrer
Rebecca is co-founder and chief executive of The Mash-Up Americans. A Salvadoran-Jewish-American married to an American-American, she has worked for 10+ years in media, arts and culture. She creates cultural experiences, brings people together, and introduces newbies to Armenian string cheese. You can follow her @beccale and find her in Los Angeles.

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