gift ideas for the cook in your life

24 Nov

Does your boss like to cook? Is your spouse a budding Food Network Star? Do you need some ideas for your own wish list?

With the holiday shopping season about to officially begin, I’ve put together some of my favorite ideas for gifts for the cook in your life. Most of these are things that I have and love.

Stocking Stuffers or small gifts (less than $20)

1. Silicone pastry brushes – you can really not have enough of these. I have three and they all get used.

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2. A quality spice. If they are a baker, I would recommend Vietnamese cinnamon or vanilla bean paste. If they are more of a cook, I would recommend ground chipotle powder, smoked paprika, or a finishing salt. Penzey’s is the best source out there in my opinion. They have a couple of twin cities locations, but you can also order online.

3. A nice bottle of olive oil – It doesn’t have to be fancy, but a nicer bottle than what you would buy for cooking. Most nicer grocery stores will have some nicer bottles.

4. Good chocolate for baking (or snacking!). I love using quality ingredients in my baking, but sometimes it’s hard to swallow the cost of the chocolate I’d like to buy. I would love to see this in my stocking! My favorite brands are Lindt, Scharffen Berger, Callebaut, and Valrhona. You can find all of these in certain grocery stores. I know my Whole Foods carries Callebaut and Valrhona. Lindt and Scharffen Berger are more widely available.

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Middle of the Road ($20-100)

1. Immersion Blender – This handy tool has made making blended soups so much fun. Instead of transferring a soup to a blender and then back to the pot (what a mess!), this just goes straight into the pot.

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2. French Press – for the coffee lover in your life. There are many styles out there. This is the one that I have and I love how sleek and stylish it is.

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3. Kitchen Scale – I’ve read over and over that one should weigh their ingredients when baking because measuring cups can vary. As I’ve been reading Ratio, the author has beaten this notion into my head. This is now on my Christmas list. I think any baker would appreciate it.

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4. A nice knife – Having quality knives in the kitchen is essential. I’m a huge fan of Wustoff and this is my favorite knife. It gets used and abused every day.

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A gift to remember ($100 and up)

1. Le Crueset Dutch Oven – this is one of my favorite all-time gifts I’ve received. I use mine all the time. I have the 7 1/4 quart which I think is great for your first piece. If I were to get another one, I would likely ask for a 5 1/2 quart.

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2. Food Processor – I received this for a birthday present and I’m amazed how much I use it. It comes with blades to shred and slice, plus two different sized bowls. It made making gazpacho a 10 minute task! It’s also quiet (compared to my mini processor) and ultra powerful.

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3. Kitchen Aid Mixer – I received this for a shower gift from all of Brette’s aunt and I think I actually screamed when I opened it. My mom still has hers from 40 years ago and it still works great. If you (or your loved one) is a baker, this is a must have in your kitchen.

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4. Cookware – I’ve been slowly building my All-Clad collection. I have a great non-stick set from the Pampered Chef, but would really like a set of both. All-Clad is timeless, beautiful and fun to use.  The 10-inch covered skillet is a major work horse in our house.

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5. Espresso Machine – I don’t own one of these and it’s not super high on my list (though Brette would love one). However, if you have some serious coinage burning a hole in your pocket,  this is the all out gift for a coffee aficionado.

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That’s all I got for now. Feel free to add to this list in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas!

On Friday, I’ll be posting a list of gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast. Stay tuned!

One year ago: Our favorite Thanksgiving memories – and yours too!

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8 Responses to “gift ideas for the cook in your life”

  1. Henriet November 24, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Hey Jen!

    I just bought a Dutch oven for myself yesterday (although not the nice Le Crueset but one step down, a 5 1/2 quart KitchenAid). Am trying it out today with no knead bread. I’m making one regular, white-wheat bread and a whole-wheat with walnuts and raisins. I’ll upload some pics on FB when they’re done (but only if they look good since this is my first time doing no knead bread with my new Dutch oven). Happy T-giving!
    Henriet

    • jen November 24, 2010 at 11:54 am #

      Yay you! You for sure deserve a dutch oven….shouldn’t all dutch people have one?:) I can’t wait to hear how the bread goes.

      • Monica November 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

        I got one as a wedding gift and need recipes for my dutch oven :)

  2. anne November 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    This is a great list! I’ll take some chocolate, pls:)

  3. chez pat November 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    i would love the 7 1/4 quart pot. hint hint.

  4. jterrill November 26, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    Great gift ideas! I have most of them and love them. I also enjoy using my microplaner and garlic press. My husband will surely find a few new spices in his stocking as well as a new pastry brush.

    • jen November 26, 2010 at 10:05 am #

      How could I forget the microplane! I love mine so much I have two. :) I’m also with you on the garlic press. They would be excellent gift ideas.

  5. anne November 27, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    I have one more thing I need to add here. SHARFFEN BERGER!!

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