We almost didn’t do a Cook’s Gift Guide this year, but decided to after receiving so many messages from y’all about it. It’s good to know that it’s something that interests you, and it’s always fun for me to put together.
My approach with cooking is pretty simple – I don’t like waste. I don’t want 5 products to do 5 jobs if there’s one product that can do those same 5 jobs, ya know? So it’s always a challenge to find new products to share without getting gimmicky. But I’m really excited about this gift guide, because they are all things that I use! Some have been shared, most are new, but all of them I wholeheartedly recommend. All of the prices are as of this writing and some of the items are on sale, so if there are discrepancies in pricing I apologize for that – hopefully you’re able to get the best deal!
1. Salt Cellar – $34
Salt & pepper shakers are not a good gift for a serious cook. Salt & pepper shakers are put on the table, along with the food, and are used to alter the flavor of what has been cooked. Not exactly a compliment to the chef. A salt cellar, however, is a true compliment. The cook seasons the food to their liking, and they serve it as-is. Giving a salt cellar is a great way to say, “I trust in your ability to make this taste perfect.” And finding a good-looking salt cellar is more difficult than you would think, so this one from McGee & Co is totally on point.
2. Pepper Mill – $51
Same as with the salt cellar. And also, I know Jim Gaffigan does that routine about how nobody knows the difference between fresh and stale pepper, and it’s funny. But it’s not true. The difference is distinct.
3. Oil Cruet – $99
Olive oil needs to be shielded from light to maintain freshness, which is why most olive oil bottles are tinted dark green. But sometimes you want something that looks a little better and operates consistently. This copper oil cruet doesn’t over-pour oil, patinas beautifully and is something you can build your kitchen styling around.
4. Food Processor – $45
I’ve had this food processor for a little over a year now and I totally dig it. It has a good capacity but isn’t so large that it takes up a ton of storage space. It has good power, sharp blades and good coverage.
5. Hand Towels – $16
I cook with a towel on my shoulder, and a pet peeve of mine is towels that push liquid around, instead of absorbing it. Jules bought me these last Christmas and they are my favorites. Great absorption, not overly bulky, and only $16 for a pack of 4.
6. Coupe Bowls – $8
I know these are labeled as “bowls,” but I want to expand your vision a bit. The sides are very wide and low, so they function more like a plate. And at almost 12 inches wide, these are the most versatile dinnerware I’ve ever owned, and they’re still my favorite after having them 3 years. Perfect for pastas, salads, and that planned out dinner you want to plate for your guests.
7. Chef’s Knife – $90
If you’re a long time reader, you know I’m a Wusthof man, and have been for many years. But I’ve been using some other brands on and off lately and find value in each brand. One of my favorites right now is Shun (I realize I’m not blazing any trails with this – they’re already popular) and this 7-in Chef’s knife is as versatile a knife as you’ll find. Agile, precise and sharp sharp sharp.
8. Pizza Stone – $30
If I don’t like kitchen tools that only do one thing, then why the pizza stone? Because “pizza stone” is only a name. Really it should be called a baking stone, because there’s so much more you can do with it than just pizza. I use mine for bread, oven fries, breaded chicken – anything you want a little crust on.
9. Bluetooth Meat Thermometer – $60
I don’t believe in tech for the sake of tech, but some integrations just make a lot of sense. I can monitor my roast from anywhere in the house, so that I don’t accidentally turn it into charcoal during Sunday afternoon book time with the girls.
10. Blendtec Blender – $190
This is one of the items that is on sale right now, and it’s definitely one to move on. We bought our Blendtec about 6 years ago on sale for $300. It still works today like the day we bought it, and we’ve made over 1000 smoothies with it (it has a counter). This is one of those things where you will definitely notice a difference from the typical $20-50 blender, and it will last you for years. It’s well worth purchasing at full price ($365), but is on crazy sale for only $190 right now.
11. Stainless Cookware – $193
I own a couple of nonstick pans, but everything else is stainless (or cast iron). I share this set for two reasons – first, it’s also on crazy sale (usually almost $700!?!). Second, it has the thick aluminum base for quick and even heating. And third, I LOVE cookware with glass lids. Sometimes you want to see what you’re cooking but don’t want to release the steam and lose your momentum. This is a great cookware set.
12. Serving Platters – $20-35
When you make that picture-perfect roast, salad or side, you want it to be presented well at the table. Jules bought me these platters (she bought me one of each size) 2 years ago and I use them almost every meal. They’re classy, not flashy, and let the food be the star. They are my hands down favorite platters we have.
13. Kitchen Scale – $13
Following a recipe by weight, as opposed to quantity (grams vs. cups, for example) is the best way to ensure you’ll end up with great results (measuring flour in a cup will always yield a slightly different result every time). Nowhere is this more true than in baking, and I love using this scale for my bread.
14. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven – $54
Y’all. This is another awesome deal. This dutch oven is normally $120, and I cannot say how much I love it. I have this one and also a Lodge, and they are my favorite cooking pots. All the heat benefits of cast iron, with a low maintenance enamel coating. They’re also awesome for baking bread.
15. Sonos One Smart Speaker – $179
This one may seem out of place, but it’s totally not. I listen to my slow jams every night while I cook. For a long time I used the Amazon Tap, but the sound quality was pretty lackluster. This Sonos speaker has Alexa built in to it, so I can get the features of Alexa with way better sound quality. Not all features work right now, but they’re always updating and it will just get better and better.