Before I dive into some carefully curated gifties for our foodie friends, a few observations:
- Cast Iron: Lots of cast iron being touted for gift giving purposes. I included one cast iron item below but otherwise kept the cookware suggestions to a minimal. In addition, more than one site suggested giving chain mail as a gift. For those not familiar, the best way to clean cast iron is with chain mail.
- Beeswax paper: Almost all the sites I went to were touting beeswax paper. It’s reusable and is supposed to make you feel good about wrapping up your food in wax paper or plastic wrap, or something to that effect.
- Indoor Composting: From small to large, counter top compost bins are a perennial favorite.
- Uncommon Goods/The Grommet: Check these sites out, they are purveyors of decidedly unique gifts. I actually found gifts for my co-workers on The Grommet.
- Precision Cook/Video Precision Cook Instruments: Another item that’s ‘all the rage’ is this cook wand thing. My brother-in-law got one for Christmas last year and used it to make some of the sides; it seemed to work.
Now, back to my gifts carefully culled by my discerning eye. As with the travel gifts, I went to some of my more favorite websites and trusted sources to find the suggestions below. With that, we’re off:
Esquire.com: The editors of Esquire jump right in to it, presenting their “23 Best Gifts for Food Lovers; Surprise them with something they don’t already have in their kitchen”:
- Cozyna Air Fryer – Here’s something we wouldn’t mind receiving and it’s a piece of equipment that I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about. According to the editors, “It’s the American dream: fried food made healthy.”
- Anova Culinary Sous Video Precision Cooker – Here it is, the precision cooker thingy. “Anova’s sous video cooker, with Bluetooth connectivity and smart device notification, takes good cooking to perfect cooking,” exclaims the folks at Esquire.
- Lodge Reversible Pro Grid Iron Grill/Griddle – This is a staple for any serious or semi-serious home chef. In a kind of dry manner, the editors offer up this nifty description, “the Lodge grille/griddle combo distributes heat evenly, no matter what is sizzling on its surface.”
Food &Wine – Food &Wine gathered a gaggle of star chefs asking them to “reveal their favorite holiday gifts to give, from the perfect measuring cup to a mail-order coffee subscription.” The featured products were selected and reviewed by the editorial team. Some of my favorites:
- Heavy-Duty Sheet Pan – Quarter-sheet pans: “‘No pro kitchen could do without them.’ $20; surlatable.com — Thomas McNaughton, Central Kitchen, San Francisco”
- The Gray Kunz Spoon – This is fantastic and utilitarian. Scott Conant, Scarpetta, states, “At the restaurant, we can’t have an employee without a Kunz spoon in their knife kit—they need to have one to plate on the line. Gray Kunz designed them when he was at Lespinasse. It’s the perfect-size spoon for everything—saucing, plating, scooping—it’s kind of amazing” ($5.50; jbprince.com).
- Bacon of the Month Club – I’ve written about Zingerman’s before, because I love Zingermans and, apparently, so does Michael Symon of Lola. He told the editors, “I’m a big fan of the Zingerman’s bacon of the month club. I’ve been subscribing to it for about 10 years. I first got it as a gift from my staff.And then I probably do it for 8 to 10 people a year—it depends on how much I like them!” $100 for 3 months; zingermans.com.
Giftlab.com – The writers of Giftlab offer up their gift suggestions whether “you are looking for gift ideas for a professional chef or your favorite chef friend.” Here are the ones we both agree on:
- Cutting Board Care Kit – I want this for our cutting boards as I do try to give them the proper amount of TLC they deserve. The folks at Giftlab get this question a lot,“It’s probably the most frequently asked question as it relates to cutting boards,butcher blocks, and other wood kitchen tools. This complete cutting board maintenance kit is our answer…”
- Cast Iron Cleaner – Here it is, for my Monty Python friends. The editors feel strongly about cast iron, “Cleaning cast iron sucks! You can’t just toss it in the dishwasher. But chefs like it because it’s such a good cooking surface…” Whatever you do, please don’t put your cast iron the dishwasher. It’s just not right.
- Where Chefs Eat – You know there are some really great suggestions in this book. According to Giftlab, “This book covers a lot of ground, more than 3,000 restaurants in more than 70 countries. So your chef will never go hungry.”
House Beautiful – Three of House Beautiful editors – Caroline Picard, Lauren Smith, and Brittney Morgan– conspired on the “40 Kitchen Gifts To Give Your Favorite Cook – From gadgets to stylish supplies.” Some of their thoughts:
- Berry Buddy – “This handcrafted, stoneware strainer has a built-in drip catcher and spout to make it easy to clean your fruit. After washing, you can keep it stored in the stylish container.” I want one!
- Adjustable Rolling Pin – I don’t use the rolling pin a lot, but I kind of want one of these. The writers feel it’s “the secret to perfectly thin (i.e. perfectly crispy) cookies. This customizable rolling pin uses slip-on rings to flatten dough to the exact millimeter.”
- CooperRiver Knife – I’m a sucker for stylish gadgets and this was chose as the “handmade knife can do it all, including chop up herbs, pizza crust or just about anything else in the kitchen. Even better, its interesting shape will serve as the ultimate conversation starter.” Multi-purpose — all the more reason to give this to your favorite chef.
And, we can’t forget the books and New York magazine – offers up “the 35 best gifts (that you can buy on amazon) for every type of home cook” Writer Maxine Builder believes gifts for chefs should be both personal and practical and warns, “finding a gift for a home cook that strikes that balance can be hard, especially if you’re the kind of person whose fridge is filled with takeout containers.” She’s presented 35 gifts of which, two books and a quirky little something struck my fancy:
- The Best American Food Writing 2018– Love my Ruth Reichl and have written about her before. This book is “for the friend who likes to read about food as much as they like to eat it.”
- Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One – I hope two can eat for one. As it’s just my husband and myself I’m intrigued as most recipes serve 6 – 8 (sometimes 4 – 6) so we always have left overs which is annoying. Builder quotes Grub Street writer Nikita Richardson as she “calls the recipes in this cookbook-for-one by chef and author Anita Lo ‘downsized and oh-so-practical.’ It’s a good gift for someone just starting their cookbook collection — or who’s frustrated with always having leftovers.”
- Nostalgia TCS2 Grilled Cheese Sandwich Toaster – I want one; simply because it’s quirky (and who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese?). This is “for the college student looking to hack the perfect dorm-room grilled cheese. Decidedly safer than trying to melt cheese with an iron.”
As we stare stare Christmas straight in the eye, just under three weeks now, I wish you safe travels, smooth sailings and, bon appetite.