Everybody knows that guy who just graduated from college and still hasn't graduated from TV dinners. Well, they say it's better to teach a man to deep fry than to give him KFC.
1. Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Early Years and Good Eats 2: The Middle Years; $22.50 each If there's any pair of cookbooks that'll make life easier for dudes trying to figure out how to make edible stuff they can stab with a fork and shovel into their mouths, it's Alton Brown's Good Eats series, which covers everything from tools to techniques to recipes. [Amazon]
2. Zojirushi Rice Cooker; $133 There's a reason basically every person in China and Japan have one, and why Roger Ebert (yes that Ebert) wrote a whole cookbook dedicated to rice cookers: They're awesome. You insert water and rock hard rice. Suddenly, you have a million of something to eat, to paraphrase the late, great Mitch Hedberg. The Japanese models are the best. [Zojirushi]
3. Back to Basics egg-poaching toaster; $26 Unitasking gadgets are a waste of space and money, says Alton Brown. Every appliance should fulfill at least two functions: ergo, the egg-poaching toaster. And who doesn't love an Egg McMuffin wannabe whenever they feel like it? [Amazon]
4. Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler; $95 George Foreman is rightly more famous for his grill these days than his boxing. Everybody knows how to use them: Plop a hunk of meat in the middle, like a metal sandwich. Heat until done. Unfortunately, his brand-name griddles are a little limited—so this 5-in-1 griddle from Cuisinart fits the bill, while allowing for potential growth of kitchen of skills, like making Waffle House-style grub one day. [Amazon]