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A Korean Cooking Essential, a Covetable Corkscrew, and More Things to Buy This Week

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Dusen Dusen napkins, a metallic colorful wine corkscrew, and Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking book
Ellie Krupnick is executive director of editorial operations for Vox Media's lifestyle brands, and focuses on keeping Eater running smoothly. She previously edited Eater's shopping content, as well as lifestyle content on Racked, Mic, and HuffPost.

This post originally appeared on October 29, 2019, in Add to Cart — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.

Equal Parts, the newish direct-to-consumer cookware line from Pattern, the company that used to be cool-kid marketing agency Gin Lane, is getting some fresh buzz this week, thanks to a weighty feature in BuzzFeed.

Anne Helen Petersen’s take on the brand is an (unsurprisingly) thoughtful one, smartly tying the Equal Parts pitch — a cookware company that provides simple, pleasant-to-use products along with judgment-free guidance about making the everyday experience of cooking an enjoyable one — to the concept of millennial burnout. The brand is “raising awareness of burnout caused by work culture [and] the attention economy,” said Gin Lane (and now Pattern) founder Emmett Shine. As Petersen first skeptically reads it, Equal Parts is basically trying to solve the ills of 21st-century capitalism with more capitalism. (By the end, she comes around just a little.)

My initial read on the brand several weeks ago wasn’t so philosophical (I’m no AHP); I mused about where it fits in the growing class of DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands, and wondered how it would compete with more fashion-forward cookware startups like Great Jones or restaurant industry-linked startups like Made In and Material. But the question of how the brand will be received in an increasingly competitive market leads me to Petersen’s argument about the brand being about a lot more than just pots and pans. These days, maybe that’s a baseline requirement for getting shoppers to buy what you’re selling: You can’t just sell a product; you have to sell a visionary solution to a societal problem. (See: the entire “self-care” industry.)

Things to buy

Things to know

  • Amazon just made AmazonFresh even more competitive by dropping the $15 monthly fee that Prime members previously paid on top of the $119 annual Prime fee, Vox reports. This can’t bode well for InstaCart, much less FreshDirect.
  • The world of liquor brand ambassadors is fascinating and a little troubling: “One issue is how brand ambassadorship can essentially mean that brands can pay for bar placement… [which] calls into question which ingredients bartenders are choosing because of quality and which they’re choosing to get paid.”
  • Apparently Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana have been collaborating for years?
  • I absolutely must meet the shoppers who caused this beer-can purse with a four-figure price tag to sell out.

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