Mark Bitterman has written "Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, With Recipes" and owns gourmet shops in Oregon and Manhattan. His book includes a chapter on cooking with salt blocks, which notes they can be heated to temperatures exceeding 600 degrees to "sear sea scallops, flank steak or duck breast," or frozen to "whip up a lightly salted frozen custard."
Big retailers aren't very worried about consumer confidence anymore, according to a study from BDO USA. "They know consumers are spending. The concern now is, 'How do we get our share?,' " said BDO's Doug Hart. Flash sales, private-label lines and online spending appear to be on the rise as retailers shift out of defensive mode.
Harman Kardon has created what might be the first kitchen cabinets with a built-in high-end audio system. The cabinets has iOS device connectivity and a single cable for an iPhone or iPod connection, and main drivers are inside the doors and the subwoofer is hidden at the base.
Recently launched grilling gadgets include a wireless thermometer from Camp Chef that lets users check food from as far as 100 feet away, and a GrillPillow that absorbs drip-pan grease. Charcoal Companion has introduced a humidifier set that adds moisture and flavor to foods.
Mars Chocolate is launching Snickers Peanut Butter Squared, a variation with peanut butter in addition to the classic ingredients of peanuts, chocolate, nougat and caramel. The square-shaped treats are sold two to a pack for a suggested retail price of 89 cents.