Right about now you might be thinking of fleeing the city and hunkering down in the wilderness to escape this pandemic or those who just don’t comprehend “social distancing” and in turn, are jeopardizing all humanity. We understand. The city, yours and ours, feels a bit eerie and tense these days albeit less dramatic than my previous statement evoked. Interestingly enough, before COVID-19 showed up we here at FTHQ started to research the overlanding trend. In short, overlanding is rigged AF car camping usually done with an aftermarket kitted out 4X4. Through this investigation, and frankly awe with some of the tweaks enthusiasts make, we discovered the Nomad Kitchen Company. This pop-in-pop-out kitchen is just what you need to gourmet yourself while waiting out the virus. Or, dare we say vacation in the wilderness. There will be a day this scare has subsided and “camping” will be a recreational activity, not an isolation tactic. We’ve been backcountry fans for decades and have our share of lightweight gourmet cooking kits. For years a quick setup, quick cleanup at camp has been a tricky maneuver. Even with three decades of innovations perfecting our pack kitchen, there’s room for improvement. That’s one reason Overlanding is so appealing. The Nomad Kitchen has all the specs of a quick set up, fully functioning, quick clean up kitchen. Best part, you can drop it in the back of your G-Wagon as easily as your Tacoma. A 10-second deployment sets you up with a sink, prep area, and stovetop so you can get to your mise en place tout suite. Complete with locking slides that can hold up to 200lbs you’ll not only have a solid extension kitchen but you can apply that extra force when carving your bone-in ribeye. At the time we wrote this they have 35 days left on their crowdfunding campaign. Shipping this summer. So, yeah, we hope that is post-pandemic but look at it this way, you’ll not only have a new gadget for vacation this year but be extra prepared for the new normal of our world. That isn’t meant to be doomsday talk. It is meant to be positive. We will leave our houses again soon and enjoy our lives as we used too just with some new precautions and a little more preparedness than before. This kitchen makes that all the more comfortable.
More Gear Stuff
You’ve been at home for nearly a year now. You’ve learned how to properly stock a pantry. You honed those knife skills. You’ve tackled even the most complicated of mid-week entrees. There’s only one place you have left to go besides starting a livestock farm. And that’s, dry age meat. Forget about clicking below, for a move as epic as this you need an 800 number. Grab that smart phone, remember where the keypad is and +1-844-7DR-YAGE. That’s right 1-8-4-4-7-D-R-Y-A-G-E and get ready to accept delivery of your very own dry aging machine. The team at DryAger made it simple. Two models, Large and Small. Two levels, personal and professional. Let’s stick with personal for our first buy. The DryAger UX500 is about the size of your college dorm fridge but makes much more than cold bed water and a place to keep your bong. Set up is a breeze just pop out that under used wine refrigerator (you have a wine cellar now right?) and slide in the Dry Ager. Of course this isn’t just an old school aging machine there’s state-of-the-art technology involved, ohh and a smart phone integration of course. How it works is explained in incredible detail with visuals worth checking out so you can educate your friends when you stand around it gloating. By know you probably guessed this was the inspiration of a passionate German hunter and refrigeration engineer. We know, you are drooling but have so many questions. We did too and most are answered here. Now after you hang up with Bavaria you are going to need to decide what your first aged items will be. Game, beef, pork, there are so many options. Don’t worry, once you are hooked you can upgrade to the 1000lbs model. Time for that kitchen renovation.
When we saw this we had to have it. We validated this spend by calling it a right of passage for our Italian-American heritage. Truth is this might be the best solution to the age old Italian dilemma, “How can I make authentic Neapolitan pizza in my back yard if I can’t get any of my baking devices over 600 degrees unless I spend $2000.” The Roccbox Portable Pizza Oven solves this, admittedly non-universal-yet-equally-important-to-a-certain-niche, problem with not only a beautiful form factor but with an optional heat method. Two baskets attach to the undercarriage of this ceramic lined, triple aluminum and silicone domed beauty. The first is your standard wood quiver. The second is a gas jet for those moments the timber runs out or you are just to lazy to go gather some logs. Roccbox claims a 0-900°F in just 15 min making this an after work option as much as a weekend splurge.
We’ve always been big fans of eating at home. So much so we often recreate our favorite restaurant meals in our home kitchen with fairly good accuracy. The favorite is a solid, full spread, Peter Lugar’s recreation that we get super pumped about, but we digress. Equal Parts is a new cookware company aimed at helping us eat, and cook, more in our kitchens. To aid in this increasingly difficult behavior, considering the ease of food delivery these days, every purchase includes a coach. The coach is accessed through a text chat provided when you receive your products. They dub it “Your friend in the kitchen” which we love because friends who know how to cook are some of the best. Starting up is pretty easy. A simple chef knife runs you $80 with “your friend coach”. You can then work your way up to an entire 20 piece kitchen set. Interesting side note, Equal Parts was a design agency called Gin Lane just a few short months ago. They gave up their clients to focus full time on birthing their own DTC products and brands. A huge move, and that’s coming from an agency owning veteran. With that news, you’re probably wondering what a former design agency knows about making cookware. Apparently a lot. Not surprising they lead with design and decided to shroud their cookware in a sleek matte black. This covers the aluminum and ceramic core. Ceramic instead of Teflon keeps the toxicity at bay while letting the eggs slide away. The aluminum makes for a lighter, and faster to heat, base with the same cooking quality as steel. They finished off each piece with a comfort forward handle and universal lids. We LOVE universal lids. They are by far the hardest thing to store in a kitchen. Less of them means a more organized pan draw. We likey. Enamored with the service we’re anxious to try this first hand. No NYC pop-up store yet so we started with a chef’s knife. We’ll report back on the experience here and on our Insta. Needless to say, we have high hopes.
It’s not news to anyone that the hospitality industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 threat. The shutdown mandate for the industry has been in effect for three weeks now and writing about food seems a bit insensitive and frankly less meaningful, although, a mindless escape from the morbid 24 hour news cycle we’re captured in is a welcome reprieve.
What’s incredible to us is how the hospitality industry is reacting. Down and out (for the time being) many have funds to help their employees while others are still cooking to help frontline workers stay nourished and healthy. It’s these selfless pivots that have us most impressed (humbled and optimistic). Hedley & Bennett, the apron makers, launched the Wake Up & Fight mask effort this week and besides impressing us gave us an amazing way to help our frontline workers be more protected. They have innovated by turning their apron factory into a protective mask operation to aid in the worldwide shortage in personal protection equipment (PPE).
Pulling from the get one give one model, each purchase allows a mask to be made for frontline essential workers. It’s a triple collab between HEPA filter maker Think Crucial, Dr. Robert Cho, Chief of Staff of Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, CA and them. Their apron material is used to sew a mask with an inside pocket for a replaceable HEPA filter. It’s important to note that this doesn’t replace an N95 respirator in effectiveness but the CDC says the point of a mask is not to protect you from inhaling the virus but to stop the spread of it, especially if you are asymptomatic. Frontline workers need PPE because they are face-to-face with live, confirmed, symptomatic patients all day long. Heros in other words. In such a critical moment in history this selfless, in it together humanity will be rewarded not just those who spearhead these efforts but all of us worldwide. You can purchase masks from their website or send a bulk order inquiry if you are so inclined to help at scale.