Gifts for the Cook

By Marsha Fottler –

Cheers to the cook, who gives time and talent all year round to wow us with meals we love while providing us with food memories that last a lifetime. It’s time to celebrate the kitchen king and culinary queen with gifts that glorify the kitchen and dining room, where simple ingredients are daily transformed into beloved cuisine gifts.

A set set of four dish towels (white) from Williams-Sonoma. If you know the cook’s color scheme in the kitchen you can select towels with a stripe down the middle. This is a practical gift rather than an exciting one, but a good cook goes through lots of dish towels and a chef always appreciates good quality new ones. About $16 for a pack of four.

Truffle salt. A small bag or a more expensive decorative container full. Your local spice emporium will have some (under $10 for a small bag) or order online and splurge for a decorative container full of this miracle ingredient. Great on French fries, popcorn, any meat, scrambled eggs and so much more.

A bottle of aged balsamic vinegar transforms a salad. But reduce balsamic vinegar over heat and then sprinkle over fat fresh strawberries some something truly special.

A container of pimenton, which is smoked Spanish paprika. Home cooks and restaurant chefs all over the world are experimenting with this trend ingredient. Try it with scrambled eggs and chorizo sausage.

An assortment of  flavored sugars such as ginger-sugar, lemon-sugar, chocolate-sugar etc. Fragrant, pretty and useful everyday. Available at spice shops and online.

For the lazy or untalented sommelier, there the Metrokane Electric Rabbit Corkscrew, a sleek cylinder that is battery powered and opens wine bottles without a fuss. In black, red or silver. About $50 online or at Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Sur La Table and other department and specialty stores.

A vintage porcelain serving platter – oval is the nicest shape – that you find at thrift stores, flea markets, local Goodwill stores. It doesn’t have to match anything, it such has to be lovely. And stay away from a holiday design, you want this gift to be used year round. Probably under $20.

A box of chocolates is always a welcome gift for the cook to enjoy or pass around to guests with coffee at the end of a meal. Pay attention to the packaging, it should impress.

A handsome, tightly-woven, medium sized basket for serving bread or keeping on the kitchen counter and filling with onions or potatoes. Most kitchen folk love baskets. No handle, it takes up too much room.

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