Our Amazing Jill-of-all-Trades, Sarah has struck again! Not only is she our go-to creative force, but she is our Food and Tabletop buyer on the Mezzanine of Paddington Station. Every time something new arrives on the Mezzanine, an excited ball of energy runs up me with a huge smile and shaking an object. “Stef, look at this! It’s seriously the coolest thing just came in! Let me tell you about it!” (as I write this, I can hear her voice in my head and it makes me smile)
(Sarah, doing what she does best- being creative in front of Paddington Express)
I asked her to tell me about the five items she was the most excited about. As she pulled items off the shelves, I noticed a running theme. Everything she was showing was a DIY (Do It Yourself) kit of some kind – so I asked her” Why do you love this type of product so much?” Her answer: “My favorite time as a kid was hanging in the kitchen with my Mom. She was a great cook- she could make anything from scratch. I believe that it’s good for kids to cook and be in the kitchen- it teaches them how to follow directions, reinforces math skills (by measuring), teaches them chemistry and how to be creative. I feel like cooking is intimidating to a lot of people. These DIY kits are awesome because it allows you to be adventurous without a lot of risk- you get to try new things with step by step instructions that aren’t intimidating.”
So, without further ado: Sarah’s Top 5 DIY Kits!
Soberdough is a DIY quick bread kit, made in Memphis, Tennessee. It comes in a variety of flavors- sweet and savory- all you need to add is a bottle of beer, cider or any carbonated drink, mix it up and 45 minutes later you have a wonderful loaf of bread. It’s a great introduction to bread making- you get a great result no matter your talent. If you are feeling adventurous, you can add things in- green chilis, caraway seeds, rosemary, cheese, etc. and come up with a totally different loaf of bread. This is a staff favorite- every time we do a demo with it, the store smells amazing and the staff is always excited. “I recently used the rye mix and added caraway seeds- the outcome was a totally different loaf of bread! It made a good loaf of bread amazing!” When asked about what her favorite one is, she will tell you she can’t decide- she loves ALL of them.
Bitterman’s Salts are a Portland, Oregon based company. All the salts they use are sourced Fair Trade from around the world. These are not your usual table salts- they are finishing salts, meaning that you use them to take a meal from homemade to gourmet! Use them in place of regular table salt in recipes to add a bit of pizzazz to your meal or you can sprinkle a little on top of a finished dish to change it up. When asked what her favorites were, she said she couldn’t choose- she chose all of the flavors we carry! She did highlight three Oregon made flavors- Blue Lavender Sea Salt, Black Truffle Sea Salt and Sokol Blossor (Pinot Noir) Sea Salt, which are the top three sellers.
Urban Cheese Craft is the perfect family kitchen project! It’s best for older children and is easy to do and incredibly satisfying- cheese making is not the easiest project. This company is a Portland, Oregon company which was started by 2 single Moms who happen to be best friends. They love making cheese and started their own company. We carry three different kits- a Farmer’s Cheese Kit (1/2 gallon of milk is all you need), a Deluxe Cheese Kit (1 gallon of milk is all you need), and a Dairy Free Kit (which is vegan and paleo friendly. all you need is your choice of nut or seed milk or any healthy oil).
We also carry Claudia Lucerro’s book- she is one of the creative minds behind Urban Cheesecraft. These books are a must for any budding cheese maker.
Pearl and Johnny 10 Minute Pickle Kits are the perfect kid-friendly end of summer kit! Everyone has extra vegetables and this is the perfect way to preserve your bumper crop. It’s super easy to do- all you need to do is chop, boil water, add spice kit to the water, and add spiced water to your can of vegetables! Ten minutes later, you have pickles- no canning needed. The seasoning blends are fabulous-Sarah’s favorite is the Jalapeno Horseradish because it’s zippy and for people who don’t like the spice, she recommends the Dill. The staff always loves when Sarah decides to do a demo, there is a flavor for everyone and we all love pickles!
This is Sarah’s absolute favorite item! This is the item that she is “super jazzed” about. These kits come from the Original Kit Company- a Seattle based company. These kits are perfect for the DIY foodie or homesteader (Sarah had to explain what that was to me- it’s a person who creates their own food products from scratch). The cold smoker will turn your home grill into a smoker and who doesn’t like bacon?!
Which of Sarah’s favorites are you excited about?