Everyone has that person in their family who’s always showing everyone up at family gatherings with homemade green bean casserole, ornate cakes, and homemade breads that you just want to drown in butter and never share with another soul.
Make ‘em feel good this holiday season for sharing the fruits of their labor, with gifts to feed their need to feed! A great cook is someone worth keeping happy, and this list has it all, from kitchen staples to gadgets that make everything that much sweeter.
Okay, a great blender is AMAZING to have, but ain’t no party that the Cuisinart Smart Stick can’t handle. This little tool is powerful, easy to clean, and works on everything from soups to mashed potatoes to smoothies. Get it in their favorite color, and rest assured that it’ll see more use than even they expect.
KitchenAid mixers are powerful, which makes them a must in a lot of bakers’ kitchens in particular. If you’re not sure which one to get, I suggest one with a glass mixing bowl, as stainless steel can interfere with things like yeast and acids. Then just pick a size and their favorite color, and you’ll have the adult equivalent of a shiny new bike waiting under the Christmas tree in the morning.
Wooden rolling pins are beautiful, but I LOVE these stainless steel ones because of how easy it is to keep them clean. You can also get them mega cold by putting them in the freezer before use, which makes them perfect for working pastry dough.
There’s been a lot of investigation into conventional crock pots lately because of the lead leaching they apparently do over time. It can be really hard to find a ceramic crock pot that doesn’t leach chemicals into your food, but this Instant Pot passes the test with flying colors.
With a stainless steel compartment and features that almost make it more pressure cooker than crockpot, this bad boy can cook up a meal in a fraction of the time, is easy to clean, and as the reviews indicate, is pretty much everyone’s favorite kitchen appliance right now.
Cute cupcake liner patterns fade as they bake, and the only way to really mitigate that problem is to either double them up or get the ones lined with foil, both of which produce more waste (not to mention cost more).
These silicone cupcake liners are 100% safe to cook with, cheap enough that you’re not going to freak if someone accidentally does toss one away, and come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Hellloooo stocking stuffer.
Gone are the days of aerosol cans packed with cooking sprays — the world has discovered silicon, and it’s full of better ideas. These baking mats are flexible, heatproof, and super easy to clean. They keep your pans fresh and clean, your cookies from sticking, and are also great for throwing on the counter before you do something messy, like roll out a pizza crust.
Antique Cast Iron Cookware
Skip the new stuff, it doesn’t have anything on antique cast iron cookware.
Since old cast iron cookware was actually cast, it doesn’t have those tiny little pits in it that the new stuff does, making it easier to clean and food much less likely to stick. Look for brands like Griswold and Wagner on eBay and in thrift shops, and don’t be discouraged by a little wear and tear — just about anything but a crack can be repaired.
If new cast iron is more their bag, the Le Creuset line is about as coveted as they come. With stunning enamel colors and that all too familiar heft and sturdiness, these dutch ovens are perfect for everything from stews to roasts.
A cheap grater is pretty much the worst gift you can buy someone (because holy skinned knuckles, Batman), so get them something sturdy if you’re going to get them something sharp. This set of three is made of stainless steel, sharp as all get out, and built to last. They also come with safety covers to make fumbling for them in the utensil drawer just a little less terrifying.
A crappy spatula is the bane of any cook’s existence, so get them something good. I look for a few things in a great spatula:
A wooden handle
A straight (NOT curved edge)
A bevel for baking, no bevel for cast iron
A metal blade — no plastic EVER
A spatula with a beveled edge is a bit too aggressive for the seasoning you need to build up on a cast iron pan, but it’s great for cookies. Pay close attention to the cooking habits of the one you’re shopping for, then get them something that suits their cooking habits.
Because mincing garlic is the absolute WORST.
Presses are cool, but I love that you can put your weight behind this rocker instead of cramp up your fist trying to get your little garlicky bits to pop through. Just peel and press!
Because no store bought container of honey was ever designed for long-term use.
This honey dispenser keeps it clean and the ants at bay. It’s great for bakers, sure, but even better for avid tea drinkers.
Cookie sheets, stand aside, for the pizza stone is here, and it’s gonna make you look like a total FOOL.
Naturally non-stick and with a much more even bake than those aluminum cookie sheets, pizza stones are great for pizzas and calzones, but even BETTER for cookies. Built to last and 1,000x easier to clean, you’ll be replacing every cookie sheet in your arsenal with one of these after trying it once.
Canned cherries are eh, and pitting cherries by hand is AWFUL. This cherry pitter mounts to your countertop for serious cherry pickers, but they also make handheld ones that make the process a heck of a lot simpler.
Wine keys beat the pants off a corkscrew, any day of the week. This is what professional wait staff uses to cleanly remove the foil and open a bottle of wine, and they’re crazy easy to use, once you get the hang of them. A great stocking stuffer for wine enthusiasts and cooks alike, this is a useful, sturdy gift that won’t break the bank.
Plastic measuring cups are about the saddest things ever. They’re not sturdy enough to level without knocking over, they’re not suitable for warm things, and they inevitably wind up getting separated from each other, until all you’re left with is a one third cup and a tablespoon, and entirely too much math to do.
Pyrex measuring cups are awesome because they’re a one and done deal (I frequently use one per recipe), cutting way back on your dishes. They’re also sturdy, safe to use with hot liquids, and come in some seriously impressive sizes.
Plastic mixing bowls are super sad. Again, plastic and heat just don’t mix, and inevitably, you wind up with stains from some long ago recipe that simple will NOT come out.
I love stainless steel bowls because they’re sturdy, but they’re also lightweight, so if you put something under your arm to stir it, you’re not having to lean on the counter to keep from just dropping it all. If the cook in your life frequently bakes breads though, consider getting them something made from glass instead — stainless steel and yeast aren’t buddies.
If there’s one thing any cook can never get enough of, it’s a solid collection of solid wood utensils. Wooden spoons are perfect for stirring up sourdough starters, making cake batter, and working cookie doughs that wanna snap those plastic spatulas. The longer the handles, I say the better.
Cotton is one of the dirtiest crops in the world, consuming 25% of the world’s insecticides every year. If you put this one near your food, it’s EXTREMELY important that it be organically grown. This organic cotton cheesecloth is perfect for topping fermentation jars, making soup bags, or drying meats!
Any serious bread baker will tell you, most often the hardest part is just finding a decent container to proof it in. These baskets were made for it, and produce beautifully textured loaves the likes of which you’d only picture in an authentic Italian bakery. Swoon.
Speaking of baking bread, nothing makes a baker happier than some authentic homegrown sourdough starter. If you have some, here’s a great time to gift something and share a little pride in what you do. If you’re not into it, you can actually buy some on Etsy from private kitchens!
Yes, this is a thing, and they are awesome. No more crying through your next round of onion slicing. These goggles produce a fog-proof seal that keeps those harsh onion odors out, so you can actually see well enough to get a good slice.
What are you getting for the cook in your life this holiday season? Tell us on Facebook and tag us in the post! @WheatMT