This post originally appeared on April 16, 2019, in “Add to Cart” — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.
Late on Saturday night, I accidentally smashed a mason jar on my kitchen floor. It was just one of the many mason jars I’ve had for years, but I wasn’t that upset about it. They were (relatively) cheap. They’re not that precious. And they’re definitely not as cool as when I bought them eight years ago.
Mason jars had a moment as a symbol of all things artisanal and homemade and a key piece of the restaurant aesthetic that brought us exposed brick walls, Edison bulbs, and a tsunami of Tolix A chairs. A look at Google Trends neatly illustrates their trajectory: The term “mason jar” started rising in popularity seemingly out of nowhere around 2011, peaked in 2014, and has been on a slow decline since.
I could have replaced my mason jars — which I purchased, rather predictably, in 2011 — a few years ago when they fell out of favor. But the truth is, trends aside, they are durable, easy to manage, and tough to kill (unless you shatter them drunkenly on the floor). And given how cheap they are, when they do break, it doesn’t feel like a tragedy. This is, after all, how restaurants shop for glasses, with the exception of the occasional Zalto stem: Buy affordable, durable glassware, and buy it in bulk. And if they wind up in a million pieces, no big deal: No one’s ever cried over a shattered mason jar.
Things to buy
- Have you shopped for a toaster recently? Turns out the kitchen appliance — like so many others — now comes in prettier options than ever, like Sencor’s curvy iMac-esque toaster or this colorful Kate Spade toaster. (Also, toasters give me an excuse to revisit this cinematic classic.)
- I’m eager to incorporate more grating into my cooking routine after reading all the ways chef Mihyun Han uses this simple plastic grater.
- Happiness Is Baking, the latest cookie- and pie-filled cookbook from 102-year-old baking legend Maida Heatter, is out today.
- Passover — by far the most food-oriented Jewish holiday — starts Friday night, so I feel inclined to share a number of related products: the new book from Tablet, The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List; Vox coworker-approved gluten-free matzah by Yehuda, available (rather shockingly, IMO) from Thrive Market; and Gold’s horseradish, which I’ve eaten for years but never knew the full history of until a recent New York Times story.
Things to know
- It really blows my mind that Milk Bar has managed to call its iconic dish Crack Pie for all these years. The name was finally changed this week.
- When it comes to kitchen apparel (think aprons, chef’s coats, etc.), Hedley & Bennett is one of the best-regarded brands. Today, the company rolled out a new item, the Firehouse Jacket, created as a collab with LA’s new Firehouse Hotel Arts District in LA. Look how good it looks over a jean jacket!!
- For those steeped in food media, former Gourmet EIC Ruth Reichl’s new memoir, Save Me the Plums, offers of all sorts of entertaining gossip and name-dropping. For the more casual magazine readers among is, it’s also a great look back at awesome old magazine covers.
- Ben Affleck as Dunkin’ drinks.
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