6 Great Gifts for Cooks in 2012

by Eric on November 28, 2012 · 0 comments

in Cooking Tools

With the holiday season around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to look at some of the great gifts for cooks that you can buy this year.

These gift ideas are great for your average person who enjoys cooking (or let’s be honest – you may even want some of these items for yourself).

It wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to just six items, but nevertheless, here they are.

#1 – A High Quality Knife

Up until recently, I never owned a really good knife.  I have a mediocre knife block that cost me $50, and although the knives don’t cut food very smoothly, they still got the job done.

My perception of knives changed when my girlfriend bought me this knife for my birthday – the 7″ Shun Santoku knife.

Simply put, this knife is freaking amazing.  I never realized how poorly my other knives cut until I used this knife, and it’s not even close.  Be aware: this knife is very expensive.  In my opinion though, if you can afford it, it’s well worth the investment.  If you take care of it properly, it’ll last forever, and it’s so versatile that you really don’t need other knives (except maybe steak knives).

If you don’t believe me, here’s a video demonstrating how effective this knife is:

#2 –  A Slow Cooker

As you probably noticed with a couple of my more recent recipes (the low carb chili and chicken tortilla-less soup), I love using the slow cooker.  There’s something so satisfying about being able to put a bunch of ingredients in a pot, walk away for 4-8 hours, and come back to a fully cooked, delicious meal.

Given how useful a slow cooker is, they’re super inexpensive, and therefore make for an excellent gift. Here’s the slow cooker I have (and just purchased the same one as a gift for my sister):

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker (with Dipper)

There’s so much you can make with a slow cooker. If you need ideas, there are plenty online (or you can look into some of the best slow cooker recipe books).

#3 – Pyrex Storage Containers

Hopefully when you (or the person you’re giving a gift to) cook, you make enough so that there are leftovers.  When that happens, you’ll want to make sure you have a good place to store the leftovers.

Everyone seems to have the cheap, flimsy, Tupperware (or generic) plastic containers that wear down over time. They work, but in your lifetime, you’ll probably wind up buying a bunch of them (and disposing of them eventually).

Ever since I purchased this set of Pyrex containers (Pyrex Storage 14-Piece Round Set, Clear with Blue Lids), I haven’t needed anything else.

As long as I don’t drop and break them, they will last forever.  I like how I can easily put them in the dishwasher, they seal tightly, and I can put them in the microwave without worrying.

And the best part is (as of this writing), you can get the the 14-piece set for only $18 on Amazon.  I know I sound like an infomercial right now, but that’s how happy I’ve been with these.

#4 – The 4-Hour Chef

I’ll start this off by saying I haven’t read this book yet.  But I’m adding it to this list because it’s on my Christmas list for this year.

This highly anticipated book by Tim Ferriss will no doubt be a best seller in 2012.  I loved The 4-Hour Body, so I know I’m going to like this.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book straight from the Amazon page:

You’ll train inside the kitchen for everything outside the kitchen. Featuring tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, pro athletes, master sommeliers, super models, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.

If that’s not enough for you, here’s the official video trailer for the book:

#5 – A Nice Set of Pots & Pans

Almost everyone you know already has a set of pots and pans – it’s an essential part of the kitchen.

Unfortunately, most of us have beat up, scratched pans that have seen better days.  That’s why a new (nice) set of pots and pans makes a pretty great gift for cooks.

Here’s the set I have: the Simply Calphalon Nonstick Hard-Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set.  I like it because it’s a high quality set that isn’t overly expensive like many other “high end” cookware sets.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that everything needs to be hand washed, however I think this is going to be the case with any high quality set you own.

If you’re looking for a nice (and slightly more expensive) gift for someone you know, this could be what you want.

#6 – A Food Processor

Finally, here’s something that is a must have for all people who cook, and it makes a big difference when you actually have a decent one.  I used to spend hours preparing meals that require a lot of chopping and mincing of ingredients (I’m a bit slow with the knife), so a food processor was perfect for me.

Although I use the Magic Bullet, I’d prefer something like this:

Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder

This isn’t the fanciest one at $47 (you can easily spend $100-200 on a good food processor), but it definitely gets the job done.  It’s not too small or too large (4 cups is just the right size for your average cook) and has the two settings you need: chop and grind.

Again, I don’t own this (yet), but it’s probably the one I’ll buy once I get tired of the Magic Bullet. (Side note:  The Magic Bullet is pretty good at doing a lot of different things, especially making smoothies. For chopping or grinding food though, a pure food processor is the best way to go.)

Did I Miss Anything?

Are there any other great gifts for cooks that I left off my list (I’m sure there are)?  Please feel free to share them in the comments!

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