Gense shakers, or Luci tea infusers?


GET THIS ...

We're subscribing to all the right cooking magazines. We're practicing all the recipes. We're even memorizing all of Mom's wise words of advice on dinner parties. ("Remember, keep wooden spoons away from the stovetop. A good host ignites appetites, not kitchen fires!") But it'll take time to truly hone our culinary craft. So while we're still working to transform into Top Chefs, at least we can look like Design Stars with this stylish set of Gense shakers ($55) from Abodeon (1731 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617.497.0137). We love the sleek simplicity of the 1950s Swedish design, a trio of stainless-steel cones that remind us of shiny little trophies honoring our classy kitchens. (Except when we're using them to salvage a particularly lackluster attempt at dinner, in which case they feel more like dunce caps.) There's one super-cute shaker for salt, one for pepper, and one for sugar. Just remember which gets filled with what. Mom would not want dinner guests getting coffee that tastes like seawater.

OR THAT ...

Are we crazy, or do these colorful Luci tea infusers ($12.95 each) sort of look like pieces from an old Clue board game? We can't vouch that they'll help solve any murder mysteries (and really, our dinner parties are rarely that tragic anyway). But they should still come in handy for hosts. Just add loose tea to the stainless-steel base, twist on the ceramic top, and drop one into a cup or a teapot. Once the steeping is complete, set the efficient little doodad on its accompanying tea tray to capture any errant drips. One glance at the trio of vibrant hues - stark white, bright green, and butter yellow - and we could totally imagine Mrs. White, Mr. Green, and Colonel Mustard eyeballing one another while they sip from their teacups (pinkies up, of course!) in the conservatory. But we'd rather see them used during teatime at our place, where the most colorful guest is usually Earl Grey. Find them at the ICA Store (100 Northern Avenue, Boston, 617.478.3104).