A Simple Holiday Gift for Home Cooks

11/20/2013 at 03:27 PM ET

Maxwell Ryan The Kitchn Oils
Courtesy Maxwell Ryan

Maxwell Ryan is the founder of Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, a web magazine about home cooking and kitchen design. Visit PEOPLE.com Wednesdays for his spins on celebrity recipes and more.

As you have probably guessed by now, I cook at home a lot—and I use oil in almost every meal. From cooking oils to finishing oils, I’ve accrued quite a collection in my pantry. For a long time, though, when it was actually time to cook, I would find myself rifling around in the cabinets, again and again, looking for the right oil for a particular recipe. What a pain!

My solution: It’s more elegant and more useful to place oils in decorative pour jars. I keep these out on my counter to double as pretty display pieces and they’re all within arms’ reach when I need them.

I use olive oil the most, so I put it in a big oil jar—a size usually reserved for a restaurant table. Since I only use peanut oil in high-heat cooking, like when I grill a steak, I put that in a smaller jar that I found (meant for dish soap, but that’s okay!).

Looking for a stocking stuffer for the cook in your life? An oil jar is a great gift. You can pick any jar that catches your eye, but make sure each one has a good spout, pours easily and has a stopper that won’t get lost inside.

My favorites, pictured above, are from Dean & Deluca and ABC Home in New York City. Using varying shapes and sizes helps make my countertop beautiful—and hey, I’m ready to whip up a frittata at a moment’s notice.

FILED UNDER: Food Blog , The Kitchn

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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