Every year in September, I pull up Vince Guaraldi on iTunes and start designing and writing copy for holiday advertising. Now that it’s actually an appropriate time to listen to “Oh Tannenbaum,” it’s probably way too late for a post on gift suggestions for the foodie in your life. To make up for this tardiness, I’ll keep the Must Have list short and relatively inexpensive. Oh. And I’ll throw in a few bonus Do Not Buy items, as well.
Pastry blender. I’ve mentioned this guy before. Does your favorite foodie like to publicly announce that she makes terrible pie crusts? Give her this. If her pie crusts are a disaster after using a pastry blender (and this recipe), then she’s earned her way to Pillsbury. Chances are, though, this will make making pies a pleasure. ($8-$21)
A simple meat thermometer and a glass of wine are the recipe for reducing anxiety in the kitchen. I’ve cooked without a meat thermometer for years, and was probably one overcooked pork tenderloin away from an ulcer. And then I bought this. Sure, there are fancy ones out there, but a plain ol’ meat thermometer is the key for calm in the kitchen. (It’s probably good to keep the wine there, for a sense of familiarity.) ($10-$25)
Silicone oven mitts. They’re easy to clean. Kids – and tipsy adults – love them. And they actually work quite well. Problem is, I can’t find these in any brick and mortar retailer. So, if you’re not into internet shopping, any sort of silicone oven mitt will work, not just the lobster claws. ($10-$20)
Do Not Buy List
I once heard that the first thing that people buy when they get their first house is a tiki torch, and that it never gets used. The egg slicer is the tiki torch of the kitchen. This was the first kitchen utensil I ever bought. I’ve used it twice and moved it five or six times. Do not buy this as a gift. It will never get used.
Two more items (without picture, because I do not own them) are the garlic peeler and the garlic press. If your loved one cannot remove garlic skin or mince garlic with ease (and without gadget), save some money, drawer space and the hassle of selling them in a yard sale in the future, and get her a gift certificate to a knife skills class, instead.
One more thing, if your favorite foodie happens to be me, I accept all colors and sizes of Le Creuset cookware. Just saying. Happy Holidays!