Better to Give than Receive

Does trying to figure out what to give your people for the holidays make you want to run though the streets screaming  at the top of our lungs ??? I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore”.  Maybe I can make it easier with a few suggestions to help you keep your favorite cooks, hosts, and foodies happy for the year to come.

A Few of My Favorite Tools

These are the kitchen items that I just can’t live without. They’ll be a hit for anyone who’s cooking regularly. Some of these items are small and simple and others take up more counter space, but I can attest to their worthiness.

When you live in The Big Apple, you know what a time-saver a simple apple and pear slicer can be. Here are both the large and small slice options from Prepworks.

For some the task of cleaning their greens may just be enough to give them reason not to eat enough of them! Remove the obstacles and gift them with this easy to use and care for salad spinner from the ergonomically thoughtful OXO company.

A chef is only as good as their best knife. Whatever your cooking level is, one thing that I would suggest investing in is at least one great knife. Not only does it cut down on time spent for prep, but a good sharp knife has been shown to reduce tears for all those onions you’ll be cutting!

If you’re doing any kind of cutting, you need a cutting board. In fact, you probably need several. The great thing about this cutting board from Totally Bamboo is that it’s beautiful and functional! You can pop it into the dishwasher without ruining it’s appearance–so it can double as a serving board as well.

Aside from your knife and cutting board, few things will be used as much as your wooden spoons and spatulas. What I love about this Tooksa collection are the non-slip handles, and beautiful color.

This is definitely a bigger ticket item, but the usefulness of my Vitamix cannot be understated. I use it almost everyday for everything from soups to smoothies to nut milks.

Citrus is one of our favorite ways to bring acid into our food, and the easiest way to get those juices without the seeds is with a juicer like this one from Chef’n.

For the Host Who Does the Most

Want to get invited back again and again??? If you’re often the guest in someone else’s home, then the perfect way to show your gratitude is by gifting something that will be useful to your favorite host. Most of us who love to entertain find joy in everything from a beautiful home to a well-plated meal to a fully stocked bar. Here are some items to show your appreciation while proving your usefulness.

These unassuming scissors may not seem like the ultimate chef’s tool, but do not let appearances fool you. The Joyce Chen Unlimited Scissors truly will cut through everything without taking up much space. They’re so handy, I actually have a pair in almost every drawer in my home and especially my knife block. Grab a four-pack for the most active hosts in your life, so they can put them to use in the kitchen, dining room, garden, and office.

Whether you’re host is inviting one person over for a cup of tea or putting on a large dinner, the time will come when they need to provide options of flavors and styles to steep in hot water. This tea sampler from Tea Forte provides a great presentation to go along with the variety of offerings that will be a welcome addition in any home.

Every home needs a salt and pepper mill, but if you’re a frequent event host, then you want a set that can proudly sit on your table along with the rest of your serving ware. This set from Menu will not look out of place on any modern dinner table, and is not likely something your host will pick up for themselves, but they’ll be grateful you did.

It’s easy to overlook the cocktail napkin, but when you have a lot of people in your home, they’ll serve much better than a coaster as guests can take them with their drinks. These printed napkins are made from linen so they can be washed and re-used several times while adding a festive flare.

For the Kitchen Upgrade

Once you’ve gone beyond the basics, these gifts will get your favorite home cook to the next level in their food game.

 The holidays are a great time to explore baking. And in order to get the best out of your recipes, you need the right tools. This set of rolling pins, cookie cutters and kneading mat will go far with a new-found love of pastry and dough making! It’ll help with that Chocolate Pecan Pie, for sure!

I’ve talked about the instant pot before, and I think it’s such a great piece of equipment that can make delicious stews, soups, rice, and even yogurt. Last year it was the hot ticket item for many, and this year there are so many great recipes out there for you to use it for. It’s a great time saver for any chef.

My husband bought one of these for me and he loved it even more than I did. It was so much fun to watch these little seeds grown into real herbs!  Fresh herbs can make such a huge difference in your cooking. Of course, unless you live in California or a similarly temperate place, growing your own has always been a challenge. But not with these new indoor hydroponic gardens. And no need to worry about pesticides!

Once a secret tool to chefs in the know, the Microplane has become commonplace for the home cook who knows the value of the tiny grating for your cheese shredding and citrus zesting needs.

To own a cast-iron skillet is almost a right of passage for any home cook getting serious about their cooking. It can go between the stove top and oven with ease and even cooking, and it will give you the best sear on your meats as the perfect conductor for high temperature cooking. This model from Lodge includes a silicon grip to help you handle it safely.

Whether you’re roasting meats, getting into candy-making or trying out some deep-fat frying, you need a trusty thermometer to help you decipher the temperature. You can certainly pick up a cheap one on the fly at any supermarket, but the beauty of this ThermaPro digital thermometer is its quick and easy display. It can also withstand high temperatures, which means it’s great for just about anything you’re cooking.

For the Reading Eater

Here are some of the latest cookbooks that I’m most excited about this year. They’ll find a welcome home with any of your beloved cookbook hoarders, like myself!

I love everything that Ottolenghi does, especially when it comes to his cookbooks. His dishes are always so impressive in their flavor and simplicity. I highly recommend picking up his latest edition, Simple for anyone who enjoys the process of making food.

Who among us doesn’t strive to be like Chrissy Teigen? She’s such a smart and talented cook, and her recipes are so approachable that it makes her cookbook so easy to digest.

Dorie Greenspan is American cooking icon, and this new cookbook of hers is a great look into her everyday life with food. We know her as an excellent baker–the queen of the cookies, but this book celebrates her savory side in an easy-to-replicate kind of way!

We all love Ina Garten, and in her latest cookbook, she’s helping to elevate the home cook to pro-status. The Barefoot Contessa has done it again.

For the woman who likes to have fun in the company of other strong females! Free the Tipple is a fun approach to cocktailing that’s bound to start a conversation!

Edible Gifts

If you’re looking for something to give the eaters in your life, here’s a list of things that will be sure to sate even the most elevated tastebuds.

 Whatever your favorite foodie likes to eat, salt will always be an important part of their pantry. This Gourmet Sampling of Hawaiian Sea Salts has been recommended by O Magazine, and will look good in any kitchen.

One of my favorite treats this time of year is the Williams-Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark. This tin is sure to bring joy to any home it’s opened in, and it sings of the holiday season.

If peppermint’s not your thing, but chocolate is, then I invite you to delight all of your senses with a beautiful box of Mariebelle chocolates, from my good friend who’s chocolate factory I’ve been to visit! This is also a great gift for any host with a taste for luxury.

Truffles are delicious, but they’re often paired with even more decadent foods. One of my favorite found snacks that’s a lot lighter on the waistline is this Pipcorn truffle flavored popcorn. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your favorite holiday-movie bingeathon!

Flirting with Flavors Gift Guide_Pamela Morgan_Baked in Color

Finally, some delicious and beautiful cookies from Baked in Color will be the belle of the ball at any party you attend–plus it’s the kind of gift that begs the person who receives it to share–with you!

Whatever you choose to get this year, I hope you have fun shopping and even more fun giving!


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