The Well-Traveled Palate 2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Christmas Gifts for Home Cooks & Food Lovers
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Whether you’re looking for the perfect kitchen toys to tuck under the tree for yourself or the ideal present for someone else who loves to cook—I’ve got you covered! I’ve combed the internet (and my own kitchen) for cooking gift inspiration and I think you’ll love what I’ve found.
Beautiful gadgets? Check. Pots and pans for all occasions? You betcha. Flavor-filled subscription boxes? Fabulous cookbooks? Yup. Add to that spices, Dutch ovens, blenders, knives, artwork, and fancy herb gardens.
Here are just a few of my top picks for cooking-themed gifts for Christmas and the winter holidays.
For the Home Cook Who’s Starting Out
Let’s start with some goodies for a new home cook who’s decking out their kitchen with the essentials. My selections include fundamental items that I turn to every day in the kitchen.
Analon Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware
Every new home cook needs a durable stainless steel pans that can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’, With Anolon Tri-Ply Clad cookware, you can give both beauty and performance. It sears and simmers perfectly every time and can also be used over high heat and in the oven. The pieces are stain resistant and dishwasher safe.
Lodge 12-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Giving a cast iron is like giving a new family heirloom. This will be the recipient's go-to pan for generations to come. Cast iron pans are perfect for searing absolutely anything because they can get and remain extremely hot. They’re versatile too! Use it to sauté, bake, broil, braise, or fry.
Thermoworks Thermapen Mk-4 Instant Read Thermometer
A thermometer is a must-have in the kitchen for any home-cook and will be a perfect stocking stuffer! If you’re looking for the top of the line this is it - an instant read thermometer that actually gives an instant reading. The Thermapen is the fastest and most accurate instant-read thermometer on the market.
Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor
Who wouldn’t want Santa to bring them a food processor -- it does everything! From salsa to coleslaw, to shredding cheese and dicing onions. This version comes with an adjustable slicing disc, a reversible shredding disc (for medium or fine consistency), a dough blade, a dicing disc, a versatile chopping blade, a cleaning tool, and a storage case to hold accessories.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
This will quickly become a favorite kitchen resource for the person on your list! In it, Samin Nosrat shares her cooking revelation that eventually led to this cookbook — that salt, fat, acid and heat are the fundamental elements to good food. Throughout she teaches how to balance those elements and trust your instincts, rather than just follow recipes.
For the Food Geek
Next up, let's talk about gifts for the food geek in your life -- that special cook who loves the art AND science of it all.
The Food Lab
If someone loves to geek out over food, this book is for them! In The Food Lab, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don't work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques.
Click & Grow Smart Garden
The beauty of the Smart Garden is that your food geek can have fresh herbs, and vegetables grown in your own indoor garden all year round. It offers automatic watering, light and nutrients so even if the person you have in mind doesn’t have a green thumb, these plants are sure to thrive.
Custom Recipe Art
This is the perfect keepsake to commemorate a food geek’s favorite recipes. Their dishes can be turned into beautiful illustrations and their kitchen will be transformed into a museum of deliciousness.
RSVP White Marble Mortar and Pestle
A classic mortar and pestle is perfect for mixing up spices, herbs, garlic and all sorts of new concoctions. Whether they want to make something delicious or become their neighborhood apothecary, they will be set with this gift!
Breville BSB510XL Control Grip Immersion Blender
Give the gift of amazing power in the kitchen! The Breville Control Grip immersion blender thoroughly purees even fibrous soups and can blend smoothies made with ice and frozen berries into thick, frosty mixtures.
For the Baker
Moving on to the home baker, these are goodies will make that would make Mary Berry proud. Your favorite baker will be ready for the Bake-Off in no time with these!
Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
No baker should go without these for making their holiday cookies! With the perfect silicone baking mat, they can stop buying single-use liners and cooking sprays entirely. Silpat is the original French baking sheet that is known for its quality and durability.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
While gift giving is definitely not a competition, let’s just say you’ll feel very triumphant when they unwrap this one. It’s the gift that every home baker dreams about, because it makes whipping up desserts faster, easier and way less exhausting. KitchenAid’s stand mixer is the gold standard for its durability and versatile line of attachments.
The Baking Bible
If someone loves to bake, this book is a must-have! Rose Levy Beranbaum, the queen of everything sweet dives deep into all types of dessert making. It’s a reliable reference for both the experienced and novice baker, with foolproof recipes, thorough explanations and tips for success.
Maldon Smoked Sea Salt Flakes
Salt for a baker? Yes! Maldon’s smoked salt adds a natural, subtle smoky flavor that enhances food without overpowering it. Instead of going inside dishes, this finishing salt is the perfect topper for caramels, chocolate chip cookies or brownies, where it’s flavor will shine in every bite.
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro 11" Square Griddle
Give the gift of pancake mornings! This smooth, flat bottom griddle offers plenty of space for cooking pancakes, bacon, burgers, and more. It’s even oven-safe to 430 degrees so it can be used for roasting vegetables or finishing a seared steak in the oven. Plus it’s non-stick and dishwasher safe.
For the Adventurous Cook
Next are gift ideas for the adventurous cook on your list. If you know someone who loves new flavors, global cuisines and playing with new ingredients, these items will delight them this holiday!
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs
For an adventurous cook this is THE book to have on hand in the kitchen. It’s a groundbreaking guide to modern flavor pairings that will revolutionize the way they cook. They’ll be able to go beyond recipes and tap into their innate creativity while coaxing the best flavors out of each ingredient they touch.
The Well-Traveled Palate
An adventurous cook will fall in love with this opportunity to explore the flavors from a new cuisine each month. My very own program, The Well-Traveled Palate, is a 6-month culinary journey around the world. It includes an interactive education for home cooks and food lovers, who crave bold interesting flavors and want the confidence to cook any and everything in the kitchen.
Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester Grater
There’s hardly a dish that wouldn’t benefit from a little zhoosh of flavor on top. That’s where a Mircoplane is infinitely handy! This two in one zester + grater is perfect for zesting citrus, grating hard cheese, chocolate, cinnamon, onion, garlic, and ginger.
Emile Henry Tagine
This gift brings together both fashion and function. The Emile Henry Tagine is a beautiful piece of cookware that’s versatile and unique. It’s designed to cook the aromatic Moroccan stew of the same name, but it can also be used for stewing or braising all sorts of dishes. Its tall, conical lid locks in aromatic steam and continuously bastes whatever is inside.
Try the World Subscription Box
This is a holiday gift that keeps on giving. Offer the person on your list a subscription to Try The World’s gourmet boxes. They will discover foods, artisans and cultures from around the world. Each box is filled with authentic gourmet food and snacks curated by expert chefs and produced by local artisans.
For the Top Chef
Last, but certainly not least, we have five amazing items for the exceptional, top chef who loves the best kitchen tools and gadgets.
Rachael Ray Solid Glaze Ceramics Olive Oil Dispenser
The top chef in your life is seriously in need of one of these! This ceramic cruet protects oils and vinegars from oxidation. They will never have to worry about rancid oil or having their liquid gold too far out of reach. The unique pouring spout is also proportioned for ultimate control and a proper pour of ingredients.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Pot
You can just call yourself Santa’s little helper when you put this under the tree. A Dutch oven is a kitchen workhorse—it’s the one pot that can turn out savory soups and stews, braise meats until they’re fall-apart tender, and even bake crusty bread. The Le Cruset version is an heirloom piece that is exceptionally durable and high quality.
Anova Precision Cooker Nano
What do you get the home cook who has everything? This amazing immersion circulator that allows you to cook sous vide. It is accurate, impressively easy to use, and affordable. With this device they will be able to get perfect, reliable results in the kitchen every time. Even with the most exacting of ingredients and techniques.
The Spice House Gift Sets
Spices can instantly transform straightforward ingredients into something spectacular. Gift the joy of expertly-seasoned, delicious food with curated spice gift boxes from the Spice House. They offer Global Flavors gift boxes as well as specialty collections of exotic peppercorns and salts.
Shun Classic 7” Hollow-Ground Santoku All-Purpose Kitchen Knife
No top chef is complete without their knives. And if you want to light up the holiday, a Shun knife is the way to go! It’s perfect for home cooks with deft hands. And with a lifetime guarantee and a blade that stays sharp longer than it has any right to, it’s a gift that will bring delicious memories for years to come.
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I'm Natasha Ho, a trained chef and avid traveler. I've studied culinary traditions from cuisines around the world, and I help food lovers learn how to cook a wide variety of meals that are consistently delicious so they can have more fun, ease and joy in their kitchen.