In our family of five siblings, we’ve been drawing names out of a hat for Christmas gift-giving as long as I can remember. In our case, it’s a random ski hat proffered by my sister with names scribbled on torn sheets of paper, wadded up into tight balls, the selection to be kept a secret until Christmas.
Most every year, my brother Tom draws my name. It’s the oddest thing, and so much fun that it didn’t take long for me to hope he’d pick Maureen out of the hat, after all of the cherished treasures he surprised me with over the years. There was a Judith Leiber black velvet evening bag (oh my gosh), a diamond cross necklace. And I can thank Tom for hooking me on Chanel Allure perfume.
I was just as gleeful over a big box of kitchen tools he gifted me one year along with his showstoppers, giving my true vocation yet another big cheer from the sidelines.
I suspect lots of us want to give something useful, some kitchen fun to the cooks and bakers in our lives. Most cooks I know have an ongoing list of the things they’d love to add to their kitchen arsenal. Problem is, most of us keep the running list in the backs of our minds, or on our Amazon wish list, rather than tattooed on our hands where gift-givers can see it in the light of day.
Here are some great gift ideas for your friends and family who like to spend time in the kitchen. Though it’s always fun to make a splash with the big stuff, there’s also a lot of love and fun in a few small things thoughtfully chosen, given, and received.
Tart pans of every shape and size.
Copper cookie cutters. They’re keepsake.
Silpats. Something a lot of bakers do without, but would so enjoy having.
An ice cream maker. I finally bought myself one this year, and I am in love.
A baking stone. These make a big difference for all kinds of breads. Or just reheating pizza. I heated up some leftover Bell’s pizza recently (an East Lansing favorite) on the baking stone and wouldn’t you know it was better than the first go-round?
A Vitamix. I pine after this big daddy, and it’s true I get along great without him (and have nowhere to put him), but he kicks bootie when it comes to smoothing out anything from fruit to soup.
Le Creuset ceramic-glazed cast iron. Every cook should have one good-sized pot for perfect braises and a million other things.
Anything from Provisions, especially the custom hand-painted recipes. I continue to be bowled over with any and all of the Provisions offerings. They’re sourcing unbelievable stuff for us—just the perfect online shop to keep in your back pocket, or at your fingertips. You’ll get $10 off your first purchase of $50 or more.
A fondue set. I’m all about it! Fondue is so old-school it’s new again. Just wait, I’m going to go full-on blog-post about all things fondue (Lebanese fondue?) one day soon.
The Corkcicle wine chiller. This looks like an icicle that was pulled off the eves here in Harbor Springs, but with a cork on top. The Corkcicle website charts how to use the Corkcicle for wines across the spectrum, red and white alike. Freeze the icicle and pop it into your next bottle of wine to chill the wine from the inside out. Faster, better, stronger than before. Bionic. Brilliant.
An oldie but a goodie. Miss those big pines in our backyard on Wagon Wheel Lane.