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.