Awesome Gifts for the Home Cook in your Life
Getting kitchen stuff at the holidays is fun for a home cook. Over the years some of what I have received has been awesome, some not so much. I thought that this year I would put out a gift guide for my followers based on some of the best kitchen accessories I have been giving or bought for myself. Everything on this list (other than number ten #wantit) is something that I use in my kitchen and adore. I have not been paid by any of the manufactures to post their items; the only way I profit from this list is if you buy from Amazon via one of my affiliate links embedded below. If you have question on any of the awesome kitchen holiday gifts on my list please get in touch, I will be happy to tell you more.
#1 Kitchen Gift Stocking Stuffers
There are a million and one “time saving” kitchen gadgets on the market and most while ingenious are not really an improvement of learning how to use a knife better. There are three small items that I use all the time and could not imagine working in my kitchen without. First is a good Microplane, it’s got to be the real deal no knockoffs will do. The Microplane is ideal for grating nutmeg or Parmesan, zesting citrus and an easy way to prep garlic. The second kitchen stocking stuffer I can’t be without is a basic stainless bench scraper. I use it for moving diced veggies off my board, working with pastry and any time I need an extra scooping hand. Last is the kitchen thermometer, get a good one and you will use it forever. Say goodbye to overcooked roasts and hello to food safety.
#2 Large Non-Stick Fry Pan
It seems everyone has a little 8” non-stick pan for eggs but why stop there? Bigger is better. I use my oversize 12” frying pan for everything from massive family omelets to frying potato pancakes and even making Paella for a smaller group. Splurge for a good brand pan that is both dishwasher and oven safe and it will last for years. My favorite is the Le Creuset that my mom gave me a few years ago when we were on a road trip and happened across the Le Creuset factory outlet store, score!
#3 French Inspired Table Linens
This is a real gift, not a practical tool. Lovely Provençal French style table linens are gorgeous. Made of sturdy cotton and printed with everything from traditional toile patterns to more modern florals and even solids, using them makes me feel like Ina Garten. The added benefit is that with very little care they will last for years and can replace paper napkins helping the environment. My beige and orange striped set is my favorite. If you look around the recipes on here you will see them featured in a few posts. If you gift a table cloth for an 8 person table I recommend not getting less than 12 napkins so if one or two are lost or damaged you have 50% more than needed to set the table.
Tervis is great non-sweating plastic cups and mugs with lifetime guarantees. In most of the southern United States its everywhere, you can even buy it at Publix (the best grocery store in the southeast). When I was living in Chicago everyone that came to my condo and saw my huge Tervis collection was astonished by the stuff. It’s very durable and dishwasher safe and comes in more shapes and styles than you can imagine. If you go to the company website you can order custom designs too. For holiday gifts personalized Tervis with initials, college logos or even names is fun.
#5 Cutting Board
I grew up using my mom’s wood boards but I have converted. I am in totally love with my durable over sized Epicurean brand board, it is dishwasher safe and non-porous so clean up is easy. Unlike the glass or plastic boards that I see many people using the Epicurean boards feel like wood when you chop but without the extra care. The wood laminate will not dull knives and the thin profile is easy to store. If the cook you are shopping for is in love with a wood cutting board then upgrade them to one of the beautiful chef’s boards from John Boos.
#6 The Breville Smart Oven Convection Toaster Oven
I am about to wear out my third Breville toaster oven, not bad for over 20 years using countertop ovens every day. I got my first one in college and for the first few years living on my own I cooked most meals in it so I did not have to use the nasty old oven in my college apartment. Now days I still use my Breville daily, making toast in the morning or baking side dishes and other small items in it so I don’t have to heat up the house with the big oven. I know my current toaster oven is in decline because the convection fan keeps turning off on me, but I am ok with that as the new Pro line model has an inside light one of the few features the older models were missing. These ovens are worth the big bucks, the convection feature is wonderful for anything you want crusty and the special settings for bagels and pizzas work marvelously.
#7 Pretty Serving Dishes
Most dishes on the market now come with a basic completer set that has a few platters or large bowls, nothing like companies made in the past. As a result many home cooks hate to entertain just because they don’t have a way to serve everything that is pretty. In a pinch the foil pans from the grocery store work at a barbeque but for a dinner party you need something a little more elegant. A kitchen holiday gift of a lovey dish or two can never go wrong. I have two lines that I love to mix in with my basic white dishes. For our wedding we registered for The Portmeirion Sophie Conran white serving dishes and accessories everything from pitchers and candlesticks to platters and large bowls. For more sparkle on the table I have been collecting Nambe platters and appetizer trays since college. The space-age metal and sexy swooping designs are gorgeous and practical.
#8 Crock Pot with Stovetop-Safe Insert
I have the Breville slow cooker with the cook top safe insert from back when it was the only slow cooker with this option, now days there are a bunch. Mine is great, looking at many other versions from other good brands I would not hesitate to give one of them a try. For busy home cooks being able to brown up meat and veggies in the same pot that they will slow cook in is convenient. The slow cooker while not the most exciting kitchen electric is practical for working people and families, so don’t hesitate to give this gift to any cook looking to upgrade from a basic model.
#9 Tons of Serviceable Stemware
Pretty crystal is pricey and a headache to care for. Giving cases of restaurant stemware that is reasonable priced and sturdy will let a home cook that hosts dinner parties give up plastic cups and mismatched glasses for good. Wine geeks may love expensive stemware but party hosts and restaurants will agree lots of practical glassware is a must have for holiday season events. I have given cases of inexpensive wine glasses for wedding and holiday gifts for years and everyone has loved it. At $5 per glass or even less I know it’s used, enjoyed and easy to reorder if the party gets a little wild and some breaks.
#10 Sous Vide
It’s all the rage right now to play with sous vide cooking at home, and I have been doing it the “redneck” way with a high end cooler and hot water. I want to upgrade my sous vide arsenal so I am hoping that Santa will bring me a real sous vide tool this year. This wifi enabled ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide is far more practical than the full size emersion circulator water ovens that many restaurants use and with 1100 watts of power it can maintain heat consistently over time. If your home cook is excited to try this technique they might also enjoy a copy of Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt, one of my favorite cook books.