Gifts for the Cook

I hope you had a lovely holiday yesterday with friends and family! We had a great Thanksgiving at the lake with family from my Dad and Mom’s sides and entertainment provided by a precious two year old and four crazy dogs.  Luckily, we’ve got a few more days to relax and spend time with my family before we head back home.
The picture above features my Grandma Maxine’s Thanksgiving candles from the 1950’s.  She saved them year after year and now they’re a sweet reminder of her.
Now that Christmas is upon us I thought I’d share some of my favorite kitchen tools and culinary-related gifts for the cook in your life.  My kitchen is well equipped after receiving so many wonderful wedding gifts so I feel like an expert of sorts in kitchenware.  When I’m not cooking I like to read/watch movies about chefs and cooking, so at the end of the list you’ll find my favorite books and movies about food and those who love it.

  1. I love my extra large, double-sided Epicurean Natural Dishwasher Safe Cutting Board.  It is big enough to chop everything you need, and double-sided so you can cut meat on one side and flip it over to chop veggies.  The only drawback is that you need to put a towel underneath the board to prevent slippage and it is too big to fit in my dishwasher.
  2. If you like to bake breads you’ve got to try the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Loaf Pan.  It’s the best loaf pan I’ve ever used.  Breads don’t stick and clean-up is easy.
  3. My favorite china is Vietri Campagna from Italy which comes in a variety of colors and animal designs.  They also make the cutest Christmas china.
  4. The Dual Citrus Squeezer is a great tool when you need fresh lemon or lime juice.  I use mine weekly for salad dressings and guacamole.  The clean-up is easy and the bright, happy color is fun.
  5. Because every chef needs a glass of wine while they cook (see Julia Child), the Rabbit Electric Wine Opener makes the list. You’ll love this wine opener because it opens a bottle in 10 seconds with a touch of your finger.  Amazing!
  6. Every serious cook needs a meat thermometer and I like this one, OXO Digital Instant Read Thermometer.  Buy this and you’ll never have to guess if the meat is done again.
  7. For $15 you can give a subscription to Food Network Magazine, my favorite cooking magazine for recipe inspiration.  I like how the recipes are written, the pictures are great, and there is a ton of variety each month.  Check out my 30 for Thanksgiving project if you don’t believe me.
  8. A signature gift tag or label is fun if you like to gift your baked goods.  I found these tags at Michael’s along with stamps and ink pads and used them for our wedding cookies in October.   DSC_0694
  9. I’ve had my KitchenAid mixer for six years and probably use it at least one a week.  They’re expensive but you’ll have it forever and you’ll wonder how you ever made cookies without one.  I love this sunny yellow one.
  10. The Le Creuset Grill Pan is great for cooking steaks when you don’t have access to a grill.  I also like it for grilled sandwiches!  Like a KitchenAid mixer, this is a great investment because you’ll use forever.
  11. If you’re a regular reader of Sally Cooks you know that I love my crock pot and I’ve got the recipes to prove it. Fix it and forget it, indeed!
  12. A few months ago Joe surprised me with a custom apron from Zazzle  with my new coat of arms and married name.  They’re a steal at $19.95 and you can make all sorts of design-your-own gifts like my mug.  IMG_9955DSC_0179
  13. While not exactly a kitchen essential, I’m pretty obsessed with my mini pearlized cocettes from Le Creuset.  They’re fun for condiments like cranberry ketchup or individual dessert servings of Triple Chocolate Mocha Pudding.dsc_0128
  14. Yes Chef chronicles the journey of an Ethiopian orphan, Marcus Samuelsson, who went on to become the executive chef of Aquavit in NY at the age of 24, and soon after that became the youngest ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times.  In 2003 he was named “Best Chef: New York City” by the James Beard Foundation. This is a great story of a man who truly loves food and cooking.
  15. Kitchen Confidential will change the way you eat in restaurants and make you a fan of Anthony Bourdain if you weren’t already.  
  16. You’ll like Julie and Julia if you like the one and only Julia Child, and how could you not?
  17. Waitress has Keri Russell and hundreds of pies…enough said.
  18. Garlic and Saphires is a lovely book in the entertaining voice of Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine.  She knows her food.

Happy shopping and, as always, happy cooking!

{this post has zero affiliate links or sponsors, just my opinions on things I like in the kitchen}