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What Claire Saffitz Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist. Photo: Courtesy of Claire Saffitz

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Claire Saffitz — whose new cookbook What’s for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People: A Baking Book released yesterday — about the “prized possession” mug, tomato-scented candle, and brow product she can’t live without.

Four to five months out of the year, I’m exclusively a Grady’s coffee drinker. All other iced or cold-brew coffees pale in comparison. It is the most well-balanced, nuanced coffee. The flavor is so compelling that I look forward to it when I go to bed at night. It’s not sweetened at all, but it has incredible spicy, chocolatey notes. I usually add a splash of milk or half-and-half to dilute it, and it’s so rich and delicious. It’s really ruined me for all other cold brews. I think I first had it in the test kitchen at Bon Appétit, so I’ve been drinking it for several years. But within the last two summers, the consumption went into overdrive. We drink it so much in the warmer months that my husband has ordered it wholesale through his restaurant.

$140 for 4

It’s silly to say this is something I can’t live without, because it’s a mug. Yes, technically I could live without it, but I don’t want to. Cabbage is my favorite vegetable, and I’ve always loved cabbage tableware. It can get pretty expensive, so I decided to start with a couple of mugs. Now it’s one of my most prized possessions. It makes me happy to have my morning coffee in it. I have a kind of Marie Kondo sparks-joy kind of attitude toward it. Besides my cats, it’s my favorite thing that I have in my house.

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My husband was very into Kewpie before I was and would always have it around. Over time, it has become my No. 1 condiment of choice. Mayonnaise is one of the most delicious ingredients ever, and Kewpie is the top of the mountain for store-bought mayo. I love how tangy it is, and the texture is so silky. It doesn’t have that gelatinous quality other store-bought mayonnaise can have. And it’s just delicious on everything. I put it in all my salad dressings, I make spicy mayo by adding some sriracha, and I put it on sandwiches. Basically there’s nothing that is not improved by a little bit of Kewpie.

My husband is a former chef, and it’s common in restaurants to have various liquids in squeeze bottles. It’s a very practical thing that I keep in my kitchen. We have all of our oils and vinegars in these because they’re easy to clean and look more organized than having everything in its own type of bottle. They’re a convenient, practical upgrade for the kitchen. When I’m cooking and adding something to a skillet or bowl, I can just grab a squeeze bottle. Also, they have measurements on the side, so if I’m making a recipe it’s easy to measure out.

My husband and I have gotten into gardening over the last couple of years, and we’ve been growing a lot of tomatoes. I was telling a friend how much I love the smell of tomato plants, and she was like, “Oh, a friend of mine has a shop that carries a tomato-scented candle. Not the fruit, but the actual plant stem and leaves.” I bought one, and it does smell like an earthy tomato plant. It’s a very special smell. I’m also very particular about scented candles. I have a negative reaction to overly artificial scents, and this one’s pure. It’s pretty slow-burning and the smell really lingers, so it’s nice you don’t have to light it for long to get a lot of the benefits. When I find a scented candle I like, I generally stick to it. I have it in my kitchen-slash-living-room area, and I don’t light it while I’m cooking because the smell can be distracting. It’s more of a relaxation tool.

I’ve been wearing these for at least five years now. I found the running shoe that worked for me, and I’ve stuck with it. I ran a marathon in these, and while I’m not running so much at the moment, they’re my day-to-day shoe for walks and running errands. I’m actually wearing them right now. Whenever I order a new pair, I don’t even try them on, I just buy them. There have been small changes over the years, but they’re consistently fantastic shoes.

When I was a kid, my aunt gave my sisters and me all satin pillowcases, and since then I’ve loved sleeping on a cold pillow. As an adult, I got a silk one because it’s supposed to be great for your skin and hair. I do feel like my hair dries out less when I’m sleeping on this, and if I sleep on a cotton pillowcase, I’ll wake up with creases in my skin. But I love it just as much for the texture and feel as for the skin and hair benefits. I can’t sleep without it now.

I’m prone to melasma, and about six months ago I was getting really frustrated with how stubborn it was. I went to this new dermatologist who said I needed to wear mineral sunscreen since chemical sunscreen converts UV rays into heat and that heat can be bad for melasma. This is mineral, but I’ve also never had a sunscreen that I love putting on as much as this one. The texture is so smooth and disappears into the skin without leaving residue. I’ve become religious about sunscreen, and I can’t imagine any formula being better than this one.

I’ve always loved my eyebrows, but I didn’t pay much attention to them in a cosmetic sense. Then I discovered Soap Brows from watching Nikki Wolff’s Instagram videos and decided to try it. I have pretty thick, coarse brows, and this makes them look so neat and fluffy. I’ve tried other brow gels, and they don’t have the same hold. This one’s stronger but doesn’t feel like crunchy hair gel. It’s a very natural hold. Now when I don’t wear this, I feel like something’s out of place. It’s such a minimal product but makes such a difference in your whole face. There’s also something very satisfying about combing it through your eyebrows.

A friend turned me on to P50 several years ago, and I’ve been using it on and off ever since. The more I learn about skin care, the more I realize that it’s really just a question of trial and error to see what works for your particular skin type. This was one of the first products I used where I was like, Oh, this is a good fit for me. I have acne-prone skin, and this helps keep it less congested and overall just smooths it out. I understand why it’s a cult product. Much ink has been spilled about the smell, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I just know that it works and makes my skin look good.

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What Claire Saffitz Can’t Live Without