Too Many Cooks

Too Many Cooks: Our Provisions Wish List

August 16, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more. 

Tomato Collection on Provisions from Food52

Now that Provisions is up and running, we hope you've had time to browse, find some favorites, and get some new goods for your kitchen. Just as we love sharing recipes and cooking tips, we love discussing our favorite kitchen possessions and recent finds. Which brings us to this week's question:

Shop the Story

What's your favorite thing that you've found on Provisions?

Today, we're sharing our staff picks -- and we hope you'll join the conversation in the comments. Happy shopping!

Vintage Pie Servers from Provisions by Food52 Flour Sack Towels from Provisions by Food52

Jenny: I bought three of those vintage pie servers, one for me and two for gifts. Love.

Kenzi: This makes me 80 years old, but those flour sack towels are truly a dream come true. (Also that textured tray. If you average the two of those, what am I now? 50?) 

Lauren: +1 flour sack towels. Close second: seersucker napkins

Maddy: Oaktown Spice Shop Saigon Cinnamon. It's the most fragrant cinnamon I've ever encountered. Can they make cinnamon perfume for us? I'd wear it.

Oaktown Saigon Cinnamon from Provisions by Food52 Hand-Dipped Bowls from Provisions by Food52 

Christina: I'm a sucker for bowls -- I buy them every time I travel and think these Hand-Dipped Bowls are just lovely.

Marian: I love Breeze!! I put it on all of my favorite foods, which means I put it on avocado toast and ricotta toast.

Bryce: This is so tough. The Flavor Heart Pluots are incredible, I am coveting all the Pillivuyt dishes, and I love the Citron Pressé.

Frog Hollow Pluots from Provisions by Food52 Citron Pressé from Food52

Hannah: The Pillivuyt Oval Eared Dish Bundle -- the small casserole dish is perfect for single girl salmon! And the big one is just right for mac n’ cheese.

Michael: That glass cobbler shaker is super handsome.

Gabriella: I'm in love with the Heritage Collection Pint Jars. And the teal Superior Servers. Having a very Blue Period with my kitchen wares right now. 

Ball American Heritage Jars from Provisions by Food52 Riess Enamel Canisters from Provisions by Food52

Kristen: I would very much like for every dry good in my kitchen to be in a Riess enamel canister.

Bea: Burlap Textured Dessert Plates in every color, please! 

Sarah: Everything looks -- and tastes -- better on burlap plates. 

Allison: The Copper Moscow Mule Mug. I want to throw it in my bag and bring it to every bar I visit!

Copper Moscow Mule Mug from Provisions by Food52 Riess Enamel Colander from Provisions by Food52

Maggie: I want a lot of things from Provisions, but I think the first thing I'll treat myself to is the Riess enamel colander. Just can't resist it.

Jason: Grilling planks and smoking chips, please.

Amelia: I think this is the most difficult Too Many Cooks I've had to answer yet. I'm pretty obsessed with the Riess Enamel Canisters right now. And the Weck Tulip Jars. And, since I have a secret desire to run away and become an oyster farmer, this seems like a necessity. 

Amanda S: The torte pan. I need that torte pan.

Riess Round Tart Pan from Provisions by Food52 Pizza Rocker Knife from Food52

Ryan: The Pizza Rocker Knife to replace my wimpy, wooden version I currently have.

Amanda: I have my eye on a blanket that's coming out in a collection soon (sorry for the tease, but I have to wait, too!) -- and the hand-dipped beech wood bowl, and the Noble sherry vinegar, and .... how many am I allowed to list?

Emma: This week I came home to Food in Jars on my front doorstep: my first Provisions purchase! So I suppose I'll simply need some of these and these to make it complete.

Tell us: Have you bought anything you love from Provisions? What's on your wish list?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Margit Van Schaick
    Margit Van Schaick
  • Rkelly3042
  • ryanm
  • Food52
  • chocolateandvegetables
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Margit V. August 21, 2013
Is there a way that I can access what used to be the "Cooks" section on your site before you changed it's format? I am not computer savvy, and haven't been able to figure this out. Would appreciate your help.

Marian B. August 21, 2013
Unfortunately the Cooks page no longer exists, but we've brought most of the old Cooks features and some new ones onto the homepage, like Community Picks, Winner's Q&As, Essays, potluck announcements, contest announcements, Wildcards, Your Burning Questions, and Feast Your Eyes. We also have Not Recipes and Kitchen Confidence articles written by community members, as well as other columns like Breakfast of Champions and Regional Italian Food. I hope that's helpful!
Rkelly3042 August 19, 2013
Luckily the critics of Food 52 can exercise their right to stop viewing the website at no charge to themselves unlike the business owners who incur significant cost in running the business. We are so entitled aren't we? PS I could but Pillivuyt elsewhere as well, and have, but prefer to go through Provisions-largely to support the efforts of the owners of Food 52 in keeping it going and growing.
ryanm August 19, 2013
Well I get that things cost money, but the question has to be what things are being paid for. I think the staff of 20 perfectly illustrates what I, at least, find totally superfluous and increasingly at odds with what I initially liked about the site. It doesn't take 20 full-time staff members to provide a functional site for people to post and comment on recipes. The community material is what drew me to Food52, and the Hotline kept me once the increasingly blingy website made me want to flee.

That's what's unique about this site for me. Buying Pillyvuyt is something I can do anywhere (and have done). The hyperventilation about the Jerusalem cookbook is everywhere. I was making Marcella Hazan's buttery tomato sauce a decade ago. All that is just another Food and Wine or Saveur. But the community recipes, the hotline and what they represent--the accumulated wisdom of good home cooks--are for me the only thing that's unique about the site, and they don't need a staff of 20.

As for "sharing sensibility and goals" with your financial backers, can I interpret that as meaning that Food52 is, like Whole Foods, committed to union busting?

I get that you think you're drawing the line with advertisers. Sometimes I just don't see evidence of a line, however. Take the recent feature that invited certain members to cook dishes around the wine of your investor. Not, mind you, a kind of wine--say a fruitier than normal Sauvignon Blanc, or a surprisingly lithe Malbec--no, this was one specific wine from one specific producer that just happened to be an investor. And since nothing was ever said about the wine itself that would allow us to substitute something we had on hand, the entire feature was basically oriented solely around our buying your investor's wine. Please forgive me if I'm having a hard time seeing evidence of editorial independence from your advertisers!
Amanda H. August 19, 2013
I'm sorry that you don't seem to understand how much work it takes to run this site -- or how much money it takes to build and run a site with nearly 2 million visitors every month. This is not a Wordpress blogging platform, and we're not doing this as a hobby. So let's agree to disagree, and we hope you find a place where you're happier.
ryanm August 19, 2013
Yes, we'll agree to disagree, and I'll also do my best to ignore the suggestion that anyone uncomfortable with new directions a website he/she has always enjoyed should simply leave silently rather than try to voice a productive and well-meaning critique. (Wasn't that one of the things the Internet was supposed to foster?!)

But simply to clarify, I don't think anyone is suggesting--I'm certainly not--that this site should be operated as a charity, nor that it should regress into a Wordpress platform. That's a false dichotomy, since there are a million degrees separating the merely homespun from full-on bling. (In that regard I think Eater succeeds.) There are also ways of being more transparent about ads versus in-house content. (Even Serious Eats manages that, I think.)

Obviously it's a hard balance, and Food52 isn't the only site whose move towards an exceedingly sophisticated website has brought about a change in direction. (See Lot18.) Still, it's sad to see.
Food52 August 19, 2013
We wanted to address a few comments from this thread and others -- and it seemed best to do it all here...

We love that people feel passionately about Food52 and its community -- because we do, too! And that's why we started the company. The core of Food52 has always been its community and that core has only grown. 70% of our content is produced by community members and bloggers, as are 98% of our recipes, and all of Hotline. The rest is created by Food52 editors -- many of whom are long-term members of the Food52 community.

We now have 20 full-time team members who work on Food52 and Provisions -- they build the site, contribute to our hotline, sell ads, test recipes and style our beautiful photographs. Paying for salaries and health care, renting an office, and laying out for ingredients, computers, hosting fees, etc. costs a lot of money. That's why we've had advertising on the site since we launched in 2009. Advertising has supported media for more than a century, and we (Merrill and Amanda) have been in the media business for 15 years, so we understand where to draw the line with advertisers. Also, we now have a sales team that's selling directly to advertisers, so we can fine-tune what's on the site. We've had sponsored posts in the past and we'll continue to have sponsored posts with advertisers who share our sensibility and goals. Again, without those revenues, there would be no site.

Revenue is also one of the benefits of Provisions -- but we didn't start Provisions to help pay our bills. We launched it because we feel it improves the comprehensiveness of the site. We've had a shop on Food52 since day one, because we wanted to signal that having everything (community, recipes, goods, features) in one place was vital to our community's dna. At first our shop simply referred people to products we liked -- we did this in order to build trust in our selections and to understand what our community members and visitors were interested in. The second step, last year, was to start selling items through an offers system (a third-party platform); we sold everything from smoked sardines to trips to Italy. At that point, we also surveyed our members to learn what they most wanted in a shop. Using everything we learned, we built Provisions. And we're very proud of it! We think it's stylish, and selective, and genuinely helpful for anyone who likes to cook and entertain.

No company pays to have a place in Provisions. We only sell products we love, and that we think our community will love as well. Just as we support home cooks, we want Provisions to become a place that supports small producers and makers of great quality kitchen and home goods. And we've linked those products with Food52 content to add context to all of the wonderful recipes and posts created by Food52ers. Why shouldn't you be able to come to Food52 to find a great pie recipe and also a well-designed pie server?

We're in the early stages of Provisions but we hope to develop it into a successful business that will help the Food52 community grow as well. For now, we have a Provisions Scouts program on Pinterest; we asked a bunch of community members and friends in our social media sphere who we thought had a great eye to pin kitchen and home items they like; then, if we stock the item, we send the product to the scout who pinned it. We also give our scouts store credit for Provisions. This is just a first step for the community involvement in Provisions, which we hope and expect will grown significantly over time. We have plans for ways to expand this community involvement (involving ratings, Hotline questions, and community photos), but if you have any ideas, we'd love to hear them!

We're not a faceless company but a group of real people on West 30th Street in New York City, as well as testers and editors and engineers around the country, who work together and who care deeply about food and cooking. We've all been working incredibly hard to improve Food52 and to maintain its quality as we've grown. We have a vision for the future of food media and food goods, and you are a huge part of this future. If you want Food52 and Provisions to not just survive but to thrive and improve, then we ask for your patience as we grow. And not just your patience, but your trust and enthusiasm!

As ever,

Amanda & Merrill
Rkelly3042 August 18, 2013
Ditto viblanco! Oh and by the way, I like being able to buy the lovely items at Provisions. I'll buy anything Pillivuyt! one paid me for my support!
Amanda H. August 19, 2013
Thanks Rkelly3042 -- we've also commented in greater detail above.
Margit V. August 17, 2013
Ryann, this seems to be an inevitable progression since the original site I loved changed it's format from a focus on the members/contributing Cooks to a site with columns by hired staff. What drew me to Food 52 was, in fact, the section called "Cooks". With the change in format, that section seems to have totally disappeared. I can look up a few, such as Antonia James and Kitchen Butterfly whose names I happen to remember. To me, that was the heart and soul of Food 52. It has, indeed, become mainly a vehicle for sell, sell, sell and buy, buy, buy. Yes, I find it sad. One does tend to feel manipulated. I wish the "Stars" of Food 52 (the great cooks who really made this site originally) would speak up about this issue. I still read the site, but often with a sense of loss.
Amanda H. August 19, 2013
Magit, we appreciate your thoughts, and we've responded in a longer form above.
ryanm August 17, 2013
Am I the only one who's increasingly uncomfortable with the total lack of a separation between advertising and content on this site? who finds schilling for these products unseemly at best? I can try to ignore this, but it's harder and harder to avoid the suspicion that we're approaching Citizens United territory: a website not innocuously supported by, but actually serving as the mouthpiece of, global capital.
viblanco August 17, 2013
ryanm, it's unfortunate that you feel that way. Yes, the site changed. But, let me ask if you are willing to pay for a subscription to be a member of this site? Would you pay? How much?
Unfortunately, there is this expectation that all content should be free. But, who's paying for it? Hosting this website = $$$. Having the software engineers to build it and write the code = $$$. Having professional editors curate, write, and edit articles = $$$. Having the site hold our recipe data, recipe collections, hotline data = $$$. Yet, we aren't paying a dime to enjoy the content and be a part of the community.
Food52 needs revenue so that _we_ can enjoy it. That's the reality. I'm ok with the adverts and provisions; I'm not forced to click links and I'm not forced to buy. I applaud the Food52 staff and its members for creating a vibrant and growing community while sustaining itself by generating revenue via other channels.
I hope you can focus on what it takes to sustain this site for our enjoyment and participation instead of getting so uncomfortable with change that you leave altogether.
Amanda H. August 19, 2013
Thanks viblanco -- we share your thoughts, and we elaborated a bit (see above).
chocolateandvegetables August 16, 2013
Okay, I love those blue canisters! I think I might need some now...
Amanda H. August 17, 2013
People at the office are known to use them as glassware, as well.
paseo August 16, 2013
SO impressed with the selections and the hard work that went into getting it up and going. Purchased the linen apron (NEVER thought I'd pay that much for an APRON for Pete's sake) but am glad I did. It is very easy to adjust the fit (I am small), really quality workmanship and being a tight weave linen, nothing goes through. High quality and the company (Studiopatro) sent it quickly. Cheers to you all.
Amanda H. August 17, 2013
We're so glad you like the apron! Thanks for giving Provisions a try.
Tim L. August 16, 2013
I love to travel and love picking up something new for our home on every trip. So many products here are one-of-a-kind and pretty special.
Amanda H. August 17, 2013
Thanks, Tim!