Holiday Gifts for the Cook

I was asked to put together a post with holiday gift ideas, so here are five items that I think are sure bets for the special cook in your life (who you may be able to bribe into cooking you more goodies by buying them these gifts):

The gift every cook wants but will never buy for himself/herself: Ice Cream Maker.  Everyone wants one, but who’s going to spend money on a machine that will increase one’s own ice cream consumption?  Exactly.  It’s the same reason why I never had a deep fryer until my husband bought me one for Christmas last year.  It’s the “Oh, well someone else bought it for me, so I just HAVE to use it now” that makes it okay to use, even though you know deep down inside, you wanted one so badly all along.

The $12 gift that everyone will appreciate:
A commercial uncoated sheet pan that doesn’t warp.  When I first started cooking, I used those dumbass nonstick sheet pans that always warped two seconds after you put them in the oven, whose nonstick coatings didn’t seem to work half the time either.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  You may even have one of those still, to which I say, get rid of it and get a real pan.  I bake food on here all the time without pre-greasing the pan first, and I usually don’t have issues with sticking, and I’ve found no discernible difference between uncoated and coated pans in terms of sticking potential (and if I’m really concerned the food will stick, I just use parchment paper).  Another nice thing about having an uncoated pan is that you can put it under the broiler, and you can’t do that with those flimsy nonsticks.  That’s $12 well spent.

The coolest cookbook I’ve read in a while:  Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller.  I take a look at a LOT of cookbooks.  I check them out from the library to look through and see if I have any interest in buying them, and I rarely do.  But this cookbook is a must have, and definitely worth buying.  I’d say this is a good gift to get for an intermediate cook.

The tool that will make your life easier, that you don’t know will make your life easier until you have one:  Food Scale by OXO.   I can’t tell you how indispensable this thing is.  Sure, you can get by with measuring your flour, but weighing it gives you more success and accuracy in the kitchen, and it’s so much more convenient than measuring and leveling off with those annoying cups.  I use my kitchen scale at least once a day.  It’s good for portioning too.


The gift that every cook absolutely must have:  A GOOD spatula.  Yes, I know this is coming from a woman who has 15 spatulas, but it pains me deeply when I go into someone else’s kitchen only to find that they either don’t have a spatula or have a really terrible one.  Not all spatulas are created equally.  Give the gift of scraping this year. 

See you tomorrow for a recipe!

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16 Responses to Holiday Gifts for the Cook

  1. I have the sheet pans, but could use a new scale! Good advice!

  2. Nydia says:

    You are absolutely right…I always wanted the ice cream machine, but the prices are out of my pocket, and thinking on it, yes, that will make me to prepare ice cream every week, and it’s not a good idea when we are just starting Summer.
    If you have 15 spatulas, I have just one, yes, only one, the one that I love, I used to have more, but not in a good quality, so those are now in the trash, and the unique one is unique, the best I ever had.

  3. Charlie says:

    Joanne: I like your suggestions, and smart girl for going to the library first!

    A word to those that have kitchen aid stand mixers.
    Kitchen Aid has an ice cream bowl that goes on your mixer. It works a treat, and relieves you from yet another appliance.
    Great if you don’t have the counter space.

  4. So true about the ice cream maker! Great roundup.

  5. I have an ice cream maker, rarely used because it takes freezer space to chill the chamber. I might like the Thomas Keller book, but, like you, I would check it out at the library first. What I really like to get are ingredients for things: maple syrup, bottles of vanilla, whole spices, delicious jams, lovely cheeses, nuts in the shell. A cotton or linen dish towel or too doesn’t hurt. Wooden spoons. The gifts I would give? Anyone who doesn’t have one yet needs a microplane and a dough cutter. Period.

  6. magicofspice says:

    Great list…I so want an ice cream maker 🙂

  7. awesome gift ideas…I love those pans and my ice cream maker…just need to get the rest of the items 🙂

  8. I love those baking sheets! I have at least 4 of them, and I use them all the time!

  9. anne says:

    I would like to have a new ice cream maker , a new weighing scale and that gorgeous spatulas 😀 Thank you , Santa , in advance 😀 😀 😀

  10. I love this list! Ad Hoc is my family cooking bible, I admit. I absolutely LOVE that book and rarely find a reason to open others.

  11. An ice cream maker is on my list!

  12. Cooking Healthy For Me says:

    Good list! Some I have…some I want!

  13. Oh I need a good commercial grade sheet pan. So I will definitely be checking this out. Wonderful post

  14. I only have 2 spatulas not 15, so I better get going on my wish list and let Santa know…Take Care

  15. Joy says:

    I got to check out that book.

  16. rsmacaalay says:

    Ice cream maker is one on my wish lists so I can make Filipino style ice cream in NZ, like the cheese ice cream, mango ice cream, avocado and many more/

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