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The best gifts for cooks are ones they’ll use and enjoy but what do you buy for home chefs that already have everything they need? How do you avoid gifting things they don’t want? People that like to cook usually have well stocked kitchens (and often times very high quality stuff) which leaves the rest of us wondering what to do come birthdays and holidays.
Luckily there are 10 cooking gifts that any home chef will appreciate no matter the season or occasion. These cooking gifts are classy, budget friendly, and never go out of style. Their consumable nature make it virtually impossible to have too many so by all means make repeat purchases. While you might worry it’s boring to receive the same gift year after year, the home cook in your life will love getting regularly restocked on these items.
After we cover the 10 best cooking gifts, we’ll talk about the 5 you shouldn’t buy and why.
Excellent, let’s do this.
The 10 Best Gifts for People That Like to Cook
1. Do Buy – Linens
Think table linens are a waste? According to scientists, people who eat on a table cloth spend more time eating, eat more food, and report higher taste satisfaction. Chances are your cooking friend or family member likes to entertain. If they entertain often then their linens wear out fast. Keep them looking fresh with new tablecloths, runners, napkins, and decorative dish towels.
Oubonun Gray Tablecloth (55″x70″) Embroidered Stitched with Fringe Tassels Rectangle Cotton Linen Fabric Stripe Table Cover Cloth for Kitchen Dining Patio, Party, Holiday, Christmas, Buffet, 4-6 Seats
Gee Di Moda Cloth Napkins – 17 x 17 Inch Apple Green Solid Washable Polyester Dinner Napkins – Set of 12 Napkins with Hemmed Edges – Great for Weddings, Parties, Holiday Dinner & More
KAF Home Set of 4 Monaco Relaxed Casual Slubbed Kitchen Towel | 100% Cotton Dish Towel, 18 x 28 Inches | Soft and Absorbent Farmhouse Kitchen Towel | Set of 4 (Gray)
2. Do Buy – Spices
I don’t remember the last time I cooked something without spices. People don’t like bland food. They want salt. They want pepper. They want something exciting they haven’t tried before. Spices are beautiful and make for the perfect present. Whether it’s simple table salt spruced up with infused herbs or the world’s most expensive spice (saffron!), your home cook will be thrilled to receive whichever you choose.
Foodie Gift Sea Salt Collection 3-Pack: Black Lava, Truffle, Smoked Bacon Fine – Fabulous Gift – Delicious, Unusual Sea Salt Infusions – Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, No MSG (12 total oz.)
Zaran Saffron, Superior Saffron Threads (Super Negin) Premium grade Saffron Spice for Paella, Risotto, Tea’s, and all Culinary Uses
3. Do Buy – Cooking Oil
Just like spices, oil is a quintessential cooking ingredient. It adds flavor and texture to food and opens a whole world of cooking methods like sautéing, baking, and frying thanks to its absorptive capacity for heat (just a fancy way of saying it can get hotter than water). Not to mention it looks beautiful and seems high-end. Buy a bottle and wrap it with a wine bottle gift bag.
TruffleHunter Truffle Oil Selection Gift Set – White, English & Black Truffle Oil (3 x 3.38 Oz) Real Truffle Pieces Olive Oil Gourmet Food Seasoning Marinade – Vegetarian Vegan Kosher & Gluten Free
Ancient Foods – Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1000 Year Old Trees – Chefs Favorite – Mountain Keros – 17oz
4. Do Buy – Food & Home Decor Gift Card
Gift cards are not impersonal when they’re for a store the receiver actually shops at. Think food (i.e. grocery, butcher shops, seafood markets, etc.) and home decor stores when selecting a gift card for a cook. And of course an Amazon gift card never goes amiss.
5. Do Buy – Wine & Cooking Sherry
Maybe your gift recipient enjoys the occasional adult beverage, maybe they don’t. Either way chances are good that they use wine or sherry from time to time in their cooking. Some of the best wine varieties for cooking are cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay. And of course there are all manner of exotic “cooking wines” and sherries from every corner of the globe. Pick what looks good to you (or the store clerk) but do yourself a favor and skip the top shelf bottles since most of what makes them fancy will be lost through the cooking process anyway.
Soeos Shaoxing Cooking Wine 21.64 fl oz (640ml), Regular, 1 Pack, Shaoxing Rice Wine, Chinese Cooking Wine, Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing Wine Chinese Cooking Wine, Shaohsing Wine, Shao Hsing Rice Wine
6. Do Buy – Live Herbs or Seeds
Good cooks know how to pick out fabulous ingredients, great cooks know how to grow their own. While all of us foodies would love to grow vegetables at home, not all of us have the space. Herbs are compact, can be grown indoors, and add fabulous flavor (and color!) to food. Go all out and buy a few adorable pots to put them in and the chef in your life will think of you every time they pick a wonderful smelling herb.
Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit – Certified USDA Organic Non GMO – 5 Herb Seed Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Sage, Thyme, Potting Soil, Peat Pots – DIY Kitchen Grow Kit for Growing Herb Seeds Indoors
Barnyard Designs Herb Pot Planter Set with Tray for Indoor Garden or Outdoor Use, White Metal Succulent Potted Planters for Kitchen Windowsill, (Set of 3, 4.25” x 4” Planters on 12.5” x 4″ Tray)
7. Do Buy – Tea or Coffee
In many cultures around the world, tea is widely considered a symbol of health and long life. I can’t think of anything I would rather give or receive as a gift. For those that don’t enjoy everything tea has to offer, there is an abundance of gourmet coffee to choose from. These hot beverages pull double duty as brunch stand outs and after dinner drinks which is perfect for people who like to host parties. Bonus – if you visit frequently you’ll probably get to enjoy them too.
Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea Tin – Black Tea with Orange & Sweet Clove – 2.67 Ounces, 30 Sachets
8. Do Buy – Cookbooks
Why does a competent cook need a cookbook? They don’t. They want them. Cookbooks are beautiful and alluring. To an accomplished chef cookbooks are less about instruction and more about inspiration. It may be hard to believe but there are people in the world who enjoy reading cookbooks at night before bed. (I may or may not be one of them.) On a related note, I’d like to take a moment to congratulate my brother and his family on the stellar cookbook they recently published, All Things That Are Good, listed below and now available on Amazon. Bravo guys!
Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated, September 18, 2012
9. Do Buy – Hand Care Kit
People that love to cook, especially professional chefs, are at an increased risk for hand issues. Not surprising given their prolonged exposure to wet conditions, acidic foods, and cleaning solutions as well as physical injuries like cuts and burns. Show that you care and pamper their mitts with a lovely hand care kit. Look for things like hand creams (which are better than lotions), moisturizing gloves, and cuticle creams. If you can’t find a kit with everything you want then mix and match to make your own.
Burt’s Bees Gift Set, 3 Hand Repair Moisturizing Products – Almond & Milk Cream, Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, Shea Butter Cream, with Gloves
Badger – Hardworking Hands Healing Balm, Aloe Vera & Wintergreen, Working Hand Balm, Balm, for Dry Hands, Hand Moisturizer Balm, Certified Organic Hand Balm, Hand Repair Balm, 2 oz (2 Pack)
10. Do Buy – Local Restaurant Gift Certificate
People that love to cook are people that love to eat and sometimes they want to do just that. A restaurant gift certificate offers not only a delicious meal but creative ideas for what to cook next and a night off from the dishes. Skip the chain restaurant gift cards and opt for a local gift certificate instead. It’s not that foodies are snobby, they just appreciate menus that change with the seasons. If you’re unfamiliar with the restaurant scene in your gift recipient’s area, ask their local friends or do a search on Yelp.
So now that we’ve covered the 10 best cooking gifts people always love, let’s talk about the ones they hate.
5 Cooking Gifts People Hate That You Shouldn’t Buy
1. Don’t Buy – Themed Dishes and Serving Platters
These might seem festive (and they are, for about five minutes) but after the holiday or occasion has passed they become a nuisance. They’re bulky and difficult to store and weird to use the rest of the year. There’s also a sense of obligation to keep them out of respect to the gift giver. Obligation and inconvenience are never things you want to give to someone under the pretense of festive joy. If you must buy dishes or serving platters, opt for classic patterns that can be used year round.
2. Don’t Buy – Large Appliances They Didn’t Ask For
Not only are large appliances tough on your wallet, they require a lot of floor or counter space that your recipient may not want to give up. Odds are if they’ve made it this long without the appliance, they don’t need it. If there is an appliance they need like a new microwave or air fryer, have them pick it out.
3. Don’t Buy – Furniture They Didn’t Ask For
Similar to unsolicited large appliances, furniture is tough on your wallet and requires a lot of space. What does furniture mean in the world of cooking? Think bar stools, island carts, storage cabinets, tables, etc. Quality furniture is an investment so it’s best to let the person who’s going to live with it choose it.
4. Don’t Buy – Kitchen Staples Like Knives, Pots & Pans
What?! But these are the bedrock of any cook’s kitchen! Exactly. People that like to cook already have all of these things and are often quite picky about them anyway.
5. Don’t Buy – Cooking Gadgets
Every year brings new and “improved” cooking tools – ridiculous, single purpose gizmos and gadgets for doing basic cooking tasks in ridiculous ways. At best they’re entertaining and possibly helpful, at worst they’re impossible to clean and a waste of space. Do your best and resist the urge to buy anything marketed as a kitchen “gadget.”
A Thought About Gratitude
So that’s it, the 10 best cooking gifts people love and the 5 they hate. I hope you find this list helpful. I know I certainly will the next time a friend or family member asks what I want for my birthday.
And for goodness’ sake, if you’re blessed enough to receive a gift from someone – say thank you and be grateful. This list is for when you’re shopping or someone’s asking you what you’d like as a gift, not for an after the fact “I told you so” about a less than perfect present. At the end of the day it really is the thought that counts and we could all do better to remember that.
BONUS GIFT IDEA – Make Them Laugh
If nothing else works, shoot for a laugh! You won’t believe the amount of hilarious cooking paraphernalia out there. Last Christmas my sister got me a Nessie Family (listed below) and now they live on my kitchen counter. I laugh every time I look at them. Funny hand towels, magnets, piggy spatulas – the internet is a treasure trove of cooking comedy. I don’t know what’s more fun, appreciating other people’s comedic genius while you shop or your loved one’s reaction when they open their present.
OTOTO The Nessie Family Soup Ladle and Tea Infuser Set- Durable Silicone Soup Ladle, Colander for Cooking & Tea Infusers- 100% Food safe, BPA Free Ladle Spoon- Heat Resistant Fun Kitchen Gadgets
Spicy Spouse Spicy House Magnet
You Know What They Say About Chefs T-Shirt
Whichever occasion you’re shopping for, I hope you find something you love and I wish you the happiest of celebrations. How lucky your friends and family are to have someone as thoughtful as you to spoil them.
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