I don’t know about your house, but we go through a lot of seltzer here. We don’t drink sodas, but dinner is not complete without some kind of sparkly water. Since moving to a house with storage room in the basement, we’ve taken to buying huge pallets of the stuff from Costco. The cost is about $5 for 20 bottles. I hate going through so many plastic bottles, but at least I live in a town that recycles them.
Then along comes SodaStream. I first encountered this gizmo at my office last year. There was one in the kitchen, and for a while, it was fun. We’d giggle at the funny noises it made and it was nice to have instant bubbles in our water cups. Then the carbonated tank ran out of juice and no one replaced it. There it sat like a big paperweight for months.
SodaStream has been getting a lot of attention the past couple of weeks for a rejected Superbowl ad. The network was worried about pissing off their big buck advertisers, PepsiCo and Coke, and pulled it at the last minute. The New Yorker asks this week if the soda giants shouldn’t be worried about SodaStream. As Joshua Rothman writes, “The problem for Coke and Pepsi isn’t that SodaStream cuts into sales. It’s that SodaStream demystifies soda.” The gadget works by simply pumping forced air into a bottle, and you can add syrup if you want a flavor. It is a simple concept. But Sodastreams cost at least $80, and the air tanks do run out and can’t be bought — or recycled — easily. We have visions of stack of them piling up and not knowing how to dispose of them. New carbonators cost about $50 bucks each, but the company wants you to bring it back to a retailer for an exchange for a full one. You just pay for air. The Superbowl ad claims Sodastream will help save the planet by not using so many plastic bottles (“More than 500 million could have been saved during the Superbowl”) but it does create another to-do on your list. I’m not sold, but tempted (does that guy, above, come with it?).
What’s your take on the SodaStream? New necessity or gadget that will expire soon?
Water filters are one of those every day objects that desperately need to be redesigned. They take up too much room in our fridge, the filters fall out or leave black charcoal flakes in our glasses when we pour them, and worst of all, they are unattractive plastic pitchers. That’s why we are happy to be endorsing Soma’s water filter via Kickstarter. With a sleek, glass carafe and an equally sleek compostable filter, it creates clean, pure water that is filtered naturally with three layers of materials: malaysian coconut shells, a food-based PLA composite and a vegan silk from India. Soma claims that the filter removes heavy metals, chlorine and other contaminants. Visit Kickstarter to see a video about how the Soma filter was created and the team behind it. Make a pledge of $50 and you’ll receive a glass carafe and a 6-month filter subscription.
While there’s lots to love about the beach in summer, one of my favorite parts of any beach vacation is the hour after we’ve all returned to the house, before dinner is served, when the outdoor shower is working overtime and cocktails are being poured. There’s nothing like relaxing after a day in the sun with something refreshing to sip on. Well, I’m back from a week at the beach with approximately one thousand new freckles and a new favorite hostess gift I couldn’t wait to share with you: this Elderflower Presse by Belvoir Fruit Farms. Made with fresh elderflowers, lemon juice and sparkling water, this not-too-sweet beverage is light and perfect for sipping chilled as is, or with gin, vodka or a sparkling white wine. The classic bottle featuring that beautiful typeface makes it a chic complement to any hostess gift and at just $8, it’s an inexpensive and unique alternative to wine. It was a runaway hit so my advice? Stock up!
We often write about our quest for the perfect cup of coffee. We have tried cold brew, stove top, espresso machines, and good old fashion drip. In our house, a new gizmo has found its way into our kitchen, a pour-coffee maker that has been getting some attention in the press. We chose the Hario Woodneck Coffee Drip Pot. Enthusiasts claim that by slowing pouring extremely hot water you create a smoother cup than one that is done by drip makers, which don’t reach boiling temperature. My husband, who cares more deeply about his coffee than I do, says it does taste better. The down side is that it only makes two-mugs worth — and if you don’t drink it right away it cools down fast. The good news is less waste — Hario comes with a reusable filter — and at about $50 it’s not too expensive. It’s also a rather lovely design and the wooden neck makes it easy to pour.
What’s your favorite way to make coffee?
Click through to the next page to see a how-to video!
There are lots wonderful seasonal things filling grocery store shelves right now: Egg nog, peppermint bark, cheese logs. One thing that gives me great joy is Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea. It is the perfect way to end any meal. Did you know that green tea is a great breath freshener? And, because it’s decaffeinated I can sip it on the couch while I watch Boardwalk Empire. Which I’m about to do right now.
If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I seriously suggest you stock up. (I have enough to get me through the next season of Downton Abbey — starting in January.) What is your favorite holiday-only grocery store gem? Please share! — Angela M.