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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Shopping for a Cook

Early December and I have been asked by family to provide some holiday gift ideas. My first answer is pick a charity near and dear to my heart such as St Jude’s Research Center or the American Diabetes Association and makes a contribution with my name on it. (Family if you plug into my blog this month, consider this post as a big hint). My second choice is usually a kitchen gadget or anything to do with cooking. There are several good ideas out there if you would like to get the cook or chef in your family a gift. The magnitude of the gift is not necessarily material in nature but rather what addition the cook really needs for their tools whether for baking, sautéing or grilling. Cooks will also not balk at a gift certificate at their local favorite steakhouse.


Cutlery

You cannot go wrong buying the cook or chef a cutlery set or even an addition to the set. There are so many useful knives needed in the kitchen whether the chef friend needs a new chef’s knife, sharpening steel or simply a tiny paring knife. Some of the common standbys used by today’s chefs include JA Henkel’s, Wusthof, or Victorinox. These are just a few among many quality brands found at your local culinary and larger department stores. Peruse your Williams Sonoma store for additional ideas on this one.

Mandoline

These vegetable slicing gadgets are severely underrated in the kitchen. I remember working in a kitchen (country club) many moons ago creating tubs of julienne vegetables throughout the summer for various wedding receptions. Yes my mandolin prowess was mostly attributed to the julienned carrot, zucchini, and yellow squash medley, but the fun does not stop there. This tool also does great with other root vegetables and looks much nicer than the more cumbersome knife work. This is a great kitchen gadget for creating a professional looking plated side accompaniment to a filet or grilled halibut dinner.

Culinary Subscription

The cook in your life will appreciate a yearly or 36 month subscription to his or her favorite cooking niche. If you are shopping for that aunt or sister that loves to bake, consider Cooks Illustrated or Taste of Home. If you want to buy for the serious cook that loves to entertain constantly consider the food network magazine or even gourmet magazine.

Cooking Class or Workshop

No cook or wine aficionado truly knows everything about their passion of food and drink despite the years of experience in the kitchens and wine cellars. Find out his or her short comings in their craft, and enroll them into a class at a local community college or gourmet store.

Kitchen Aid Accessories

Kitchen aid mixers are the genesis of creating many good meals and baked goods in our home. This appliance is a must. If you culinary friend has a kitchen aid mixer, consider a possible gift to be a kitchen aid appliance such as pasta maker, meat grinder, or ice cream maker which will attach to the mixer. I have the ice cream maker and it is awesome. I have been eying up the grinder attachment as of late. (Family , consider this hint #2).

These are only a few ideas when trying to decide a quality cooking gift for that special cook or chef in your life. Try to avoid the easy out selections such as cook books or gift cards.