the taste space

Foodie Gift Ideas (aka My Favourite Things in the Kitchen)

Posted in Favourites by janet @ the taste space on December 11, 2011

There are tons of gift guides floating around, but having just written about my awesome Nutrition Action Health Letter gift, I figured it wasn’t too late to share some other possible gift ideas for those who love to cook.

Those who know me well, know I am an incredibly practical person. I love practical gifts – things I will actually use. There are standard things every kitchen should have (high quality knives [I am partial to my Henckels Santoku knife], sturdy pots, an immersion blender, mixing bowls, food processor, etc).  I am usually pretty crafty and could have lived my life without these extras.  However, now that I have them, I couldn’t imagine life without them. Hence, why they were perfect as gifts. Perhaps you will find some inspiration for your loved ones.

While I link to specific products, I am not endorsing specific products or brands (unless it is obvious). I actually own the items pictured below, or something that is incredibly similar if I have no clue what the actual brand is. Amazon happens to have easy pictures to steal, which is why I used their links. ;) (FYI, there are no referral links)

Bench Scraper ($5-10). I will admit that a bench scraper seems so simple and plain, but trust me, when you use a large cutting board that’s far away from your stovetop, a bench scraper is a quick and clean way to transfer your chopped veggies into your pot. If you are into baking, it is also a great way to scrape off pieces of dough, divide pieces of dough (perfect for gnocchi) and if it has a ruler on it, you can also measure.

Amco Enameled Aluminum Lemon SqueezerLemon Squeezer ($10-15). It is a long story, but I learned about lemon squeezers while at a Cocktail Making class. Sure, it is great for anyone needing lemon juice for a Bloody Mary, but also for the multitude of recipes that use fresh lemon juice, lime juice or even orange juice (although they have squeezers for those fruits, too).

Product Details

Garlic Press ($10-15). I totally would have thought a gizmo to press garlic was a luxury I didn’t need. Chopping garlic doesn’t take that long. However, once I got a garlic press, I haven’t looked back! I recommend a press with a self-cleaner. You can also find ones that don’t require you to peel the garlic, either.Product Details

Glass Straw ($10-20). There are many reasons for wanting a non-plastic reusable straw, especially when you are into drinking homemade smoothies. I also find it a great way to remove vanilla from my master stash without worrying about dirtying the top with drips.

Cuisinart KML-10 PerfectWeight Digital Kitchen Scale

Kitchen Scale ($20-40). Indispensable for bakers, but I adore it for my cooking escapades as well. How big is your cabbage or sweet potato?

Apron ($20-40). As Rob says, he hasn’t really cooked until something falls on the floor. Thankfully you don’t need to worry too much about food on your clothes if you are wearing an apron. Again, great for bakers working with flour, or people like me using immersion blenders! You can go as crazy as you want in the kitchen when you have an apron as cute as this!

Product DetailsDry Heirloom Beans ($2-10/lb). I adore discovering new ingredients and heirloom beans are healthy, pretty and tasty! If you are in the US, look no further than Rancho Gordo for high quality heirloom beans. Otherwise, scope out whatever specialty beans you can find. Perhaps it is Anasazi beans, or flageolet beans, or even French du Puy or black beluga lentils. Throw them into a glass jar for easy storage, and you have a pretty dust collector for the less bean-inclined. ;)

Nutrition Action Health Letter ($25). Nutrition Action Health Letter - Us edHonestly, I hate magazines but I love this publication. Want to know which bean is best? Or oatmeal? What to look for in a multivitamin? Or the evidence for vitamin D supplementation? Grab (a portion) of their archives here, or get your monthly issue delivered straight to you.

Radiant Health, Inner WealthTess’ Cookbooks ($15-25). Tess has three cookbooks: Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, The Two Week Wellness Solution and Radiance 4 Life. I am not kidding when I say they revolutionized my cooking. I adore Tess’ recipes – healthy and full of flavour. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with your purchase. My favourite cookbooks, hands-down.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81rGW8hnhfL._AA1500_.jpgCookbook Holder ($10-35). I have a lot of cookbooks and cook from them often. Having a cookbook holder, with a splatter-guard, is a great idea: saving your cookbook from bits of flying food. I never thought I would need one, but I reach for it every time I use a cookbook in my kitchen. I have the Prop Cookbook Stand from Umbra, which has fit even my biggest cookbook and doubles with some extra storage space.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81Dv-rZw8DL._AA1500_.jpg

Spiralizer ($35-50). The best way to get zucchini noodles is through a spiralizer. A less spendy option is a julienne peeler ($15). Have I mentioned enough times how much I adore my spiralizer?

3-in-1 rice cooker/pressure cooker/slow cooker ($100). This is probably the only thing on this list that I do not personally own. I currently have 2/3s of it: Rob’s rice cooker and a borrowed slow cooker. What better way to save space by combining 3 appliances into one?  Tess highly recommends pressure cookers, and Susan has endorsed this one as well.


Mechanical Timer ($5-10). Think mechanical timers are only for your Christmas lights? No way!! Use it for any appliance that can do its own thing unattended- we use it with our dehydrator and slow cooker (which lack an internal timer). Pick one up for cheap from a hardware store.

Electric Knife Sharpener ($150).Chef's Choice Electric Knife Sharpener - White - 0130500 I went to the Emergency Department twice before I finally bought myself my own knife sharpener. Sharp knives don’t cause accidents; dull knives, do! If you have high-quality knives, keep them in super sharp condition with a knife sharpener. America’s Test Kitchen rated them all, and this one was the winner. The cheaper ones just don’t work and it can be hard to master the technique with a sharpening steel.

Have I missed anything?  What is your favourite kitchen item?

Anyways, I hope this helps for those hard-to-buy friends… or even for yourself. :) Happy holidays!

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  1. Amy (Savory Moments) said, on December 11, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    There are so many great gifts here that every kitchen should have. The glass straws are one I need to add to my list! They look great. I don’t use straws often, but I bet I would if I had those – perfect for smoothies and juices!

  2. Heidi said, on December 11, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    I have most of the ones you mention but I have to admit my most favorite item that was also a real steal of a deal a few years ago is an extra large wood cutting board. It allows me to chop and have ready many items for the same or multiple dishes. I would be lost without it.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on December 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      Of course, I wouldn’t have most of this list if it weren’t for YOU! We need to get you some dried beans… ;)

  3. Joanne said, on December 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    There are SO many of these that are on my want list! Bench Scraper, spiralizer, all of those cookbooks….

    I hope santa knows how good i’ve been this year…

  4. Ashley said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Why have I never thought to use a bench scraper as a way of transferring veggies!! So smart. I neeeeeeed one of those lemon squeezers! I’ve never thought about getting a garlic press but now you’re making me think I should. There are seriously ones with self cleaners?? Great gift idea list! I wonder if Eric has finished shopping for me yet hahaha.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on December 14, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      Hehehe, yeah I don’t bake so that’s pretty much all I do with my bench scraper…. and when I went to Rob’s parent’s place, I was like – how do you move your veggies over? They had a built-in cutting board, so I couldn’t move it, and I felt so lost without the bench scraper. ;)

      The self-cleaner for the garlic press is kind of a misnomer… if you look at the picture, there is a black part that you can shove backwards to get the bits out.. but then you still have to clean it with soap and water, etc. ;)

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