…and a giveaway
When I have a chance to combine learning and food – I get quite happy!
The amazing folks at Uncommon Goods recently got in touch with me and offered to send me a product for me to review. After doing a little happy dance that they thought I (me, seriously!?) was worthy of getting one of their amazing gift ideas, I started searching. You know how some websites you start browsing and adding items to your cart to review and narrow down your choices later – and when you go to review you have like $1,000 of goodies in your cart? Yeah – well that was me on Uncommon Goods as I searched for gifts for women here. I had dozens of things in my cart – I mean how can you not love things like this or this or this! But then I had to narrow it down, I got it down to only gifts for cooks, and finally settled on this amazing Molecular Gastronomy Kit by -mostly because it was something I would never buy for myself and thought it would be amazing to cook and learn and play with!!!
MORE about Uncommon Goods – A company which does not just have GOOD in their name, but they DO GOOD too! They were founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. They are a privately-owned retailer that “endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.” They don’t just talk the talk either – even the lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage! They support and provide a platform for artists and designers (half of what they sell is made by hand!).
How about learning… do you like learning new things? There is even a section on Uncommon Good’s Blog – Uncommon Knowledge – where they’ll teach you all about things you didn’t know you didn’t even know! Want to help your favorite organization while shopping? Uncommon Goods knows it is Better to Give… they give you the option to donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice with every purchase you make (in the past 12 years, they have donated over $300,000 to charities that way)! Talking about helping others; Uncommon Goods currently supports the following charities as well… RAINN (the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization) American Forests (protects and restores forests worldwide) Women for Women International (provides women survivors of war with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.) Reach Out and Read’s (thousands of doctors and nurses promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states)
WOW – talk about a great company… amazing products, gifts, presents, & surprises for every person in your life AND they give back in so many ways!?
Ok – so how about the awesome product I received, the Molecular Gastronomy Kit by Molecule-R from Uncommon Goods (with a 4.5 star review rating!). The packaging of this product shipped directly from Uncommon Goods was out of this world – seriously, it took both myself AND Rich working together to get it pulled out of the box due to the extremely tight bubble-wrap packaging it was shipped in! In addition to that industrial strength bubble-wrap, their was another box inside of that! Open up THAT box and we finally have the Molecular Gastronomy Kit!
The packaging on the kit was great, and the book is amazing for those who love to learn sciencey-stuff! Have a science buff on your to-buy-for list this year (and they just happen to love food)? Well this is the gift for them! Since we are working with chemicals here, it was nice to see that they also give you an expiration date (which happened to be nearly 2 years away, so the recipient of this gift has some time to procrastinate if they don’t get to use this kit right away). The first half of the hard-cover book is all the nitty-gritty science-stuff about how and why the chemicals do what they do for the food. The book then launches into a beautiful spread of food photos and recipes (with more science details and reference page numbers to refer to in order to get more details). Then comes the scary part: picking a recipe and giving it a shot. I was literally nervous the WHOLE time I was making/prepping this dish because I wanted it to work!
My Dad & I working on this science project together (science projects with your dad when you are an adult lead to a lot less arguments than they did when you were a kid – just as a side note). We decided to go with CHOCOLATE pearls, because we both love chocolate! Mix everything up according to the directions (adding in some Sodium Alginate) and letting it set. Then drop by the pipette into a Water/Calcium Lactate bath and let set. This is where things started to go not perfectly. The pearls in the book look perfect and round and mine kinds seem a bit deflated. I also let them sit WAY longer than the book suggested because it seemed that they lost their shape (I’m thinking the Sodium Alginate just didn’t get fully incorporated in Step 1 of this process). Adding this on top of the White Chocolate Cream also proved to be a challenge (and the Chocolate Cream wasn’t even a science project – that is something that should have been a no-brainer in my opinion!)
All of the measurements in the book are given in ounces OR grams – I know that is a very exact (SCIENCE) way of measuring things. For the Home-Cook experimenting with Molecular Gastronomy, I would have love measurements given in teaspoons & Tablespoons as well (maybe with a note that the weight is a better way to measure things but here is a back-up way just in case). Reference point: 1 oz is about 2 Tablespoons and 1 gram is about 1/2 teaspoon 🙂
Now for some Questions & Answers…
Would I buy this as a gift? for a food/science fanatic: yes
Would I shop Uncommon Goods Again? YES (remember, I still have all that stuff in my shopping cart)
What would you buy next from Uncommon Goods? See my list above, AND I’m a sucker for anything personalized and with meaning behind it (especially when gift-giving), so I love everything from their personalized category of gifts here! Ok – you want specifics? Here you go… how fabulous is this cutting board and what about these glasses for each family member, I would fall in love with this custom vase with maybe something like wedding photos, can you imagine the hours of fun with these kitchen dice (think Chopped-food-basket-dice-game at home), and for the sushi-lover in your life who just can’t get it right at home – this sushi-kit-for-dummies seems amazing! …enough shopping options!?
Should you Shop Uncommon Goods? YES, they have awesome goodies AND they give back to the world around them. Be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY by 10/17/14 below in order to get your shopping cart a little help…
And, the GIVEAWAY…
CONGRATULATIONS to Marcie Mulligan and Kirsten Milenkowic our winners of Gift Cards from yours truly AND Uncommon Goods
*Winner will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours to be eligible for the prize. Prize will be in the form of an Electronic Gift Certificate, from yours truly (out of the goodness of my heart, because I love you all)! At this point, only US Entries will be accepted (sorry rest of the world).
One Year Ago – (Healthier) Vegetarian Alfredo Lasagna – who said lasagna had to be made with tomato sauce OR that it had to be fattening!?
Four Years Ago – a Fall Classic: Vegetarian Chili with Quesadillas, a warming family favorite in this household and a regular go-to meal!
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… What you would most like to give ORreceive from Uncommon Goods?
Disclosure: I received the Molecular Gastronomy Kit from Uncommon Goods for review purposes, but all opinions about the product, and the giveaway, are my own.