Favorite Gifts for Food Lovers and Home Cooks 2009

Looking for the perfect gift for the food lover (I hate the word ‘foodie,’ but insert that if you prefer) or your favorite home cook? There are so many awesome presents out there at every price point. So, no matter how much you want to spend this year, you can find a great gift.

Now, how did these presents get selected? Simple. These are the things that a) are indispensable in my kitchen or b) are on my Christmas list this year.  I love every single thing mentioned here. To make it super easy, I’ve arranged them in several price categories: Under $25, Under $50, Under $100 and Over $100, so you can find one that meets your budget.

Under $25

giftscoopOxo Good Grips Cookie Scoop – Know someone who loves to bake cookies? Then they need a good cookie scoop. I don’t know how I ever lived without the Oxo Good Grips Cookie Scoop. It was totally life changing when it came to scratch-made cookies. Not only do my cookies come out even and perfect every single time, but clean up is a breeze and I am never left cursing cookie dough-crusted spoons. The small one is perfect for most cookies and that’s the one that I bought more than a year ago. However, I am now coveting the large scoop too. The idea of making big, thick cookies is very alluring.

Microplane Grater/Zester – Every single homecook should have a Microplane Grater/Zester. Seriously. It’s an unbelievably useful thing. Why? It perfectly zests limes, lemons and other fruits (read: awesome flavor addition) and can also grate cheese into delicate ribbons — very pretty.

oxoOXO Good Grips 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cup Set – Years ago, I saw these measuring cups and wanted them so badly. Onto my wedding registry, they went … and a wonderful coworker of mine bought them for me. I cannot say enough good things about the OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cups Set. They are so easy to use, with measurements on the sides and an angled bar too … it makes it so simple to see if you are getting the right amount. Everyone should have a set.

A Great Cookbook – There are so many fantastic cookbooks out there. With cookbooks from bloggers hitting the shelves at a rapid rate, there are so many accessible volumes to choose from these days. For a more classic take, try Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One. It’s a revered book that every home cook should have. It demystified French cuisine at a time when TV dinners were ultra-popular.

A Cookie Jar – Does the person on your list love baking? If so, a great cookie jar is a fantastic gift. Pier 1 has several ones for under $25. How about an adorable snowman? Or those pretty sunflowers? For the fashionista baker, the Handbag Cookie Jars at Neiman Marcus are absolutely perfect.

Under $50

Breading Pans – Williams-Sonoma has the absolute right idea with this set of three stainless steel breading pans. Breading anything can be a pain. Bowls hold the right amount of flour and egg, but the curved sides make it so hard to do a good job. Plates don’t hold enough but the flat surface is perfect. These pans combine those two positive attributes.

seattleSeattle Chocolates Truffle Bars – Chocolate can be so subjective. Some people swear by the commercial brands, others crave artisan varieties. But these truffle bars, with their rich, creamy centers, are indisputably delicious. Tied with a nice brown ribbon (perfect for repurposing!), the Truffle Bars gift set comes with 10 bars, in fantastic flavors like Meltaway Mint and Cappuccino Crunch. Worth every penny. Seriously. These are amazing.

Cuisinart Green Gourmet Eco-Friendly Skillets – I’ve always been a little fearful of all things nonstick. The coating deteriorates and starts leaving black bits in the food — long before I knew why that was a health issue, I had a big problem with it. That’s why I am so excited about this new eco-friendly nonstick line from Cuisinart. Available in three sizes, the 12-inch is perfect for cooking up meats (like a healthy, low oil frying?) or pancakes. The 10-inch and 8-inch could be awesome for omelets. I am hoping to add one or two of these to my kitchen soon. (Hint! Hint!)

Under $100

Ronco Showtime Compact Rotisserie – Seriously? A rotisserie. All I can say is yes. I have a larger version of this and it’s amazing. Not only does it let all the fat just drain off the meat, but it produces juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside roasts, chickens and more every time. This compact model isn’t quite as big (a definite plus), so it’s a little easier to find space for in the cabinets. And seriously, a rotisserie meal in the dead of winter is as good as it gets.

A Centerpiece Bowl – If the person on your list does a lot of entertaining, then a centerpiece bowl can be a fabulous gift. Look for something that speaks to their taste, in colors that they would choose. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that it has to match their dining room. Just make it to their tastes. A few of my favorites: The Agave Bowl from Crate and Barrel, the Oleander Bowl from Crate and Barrel, the Great White Heirloom Serving Bowl from Pottery Barn and the Red Luster Serving Bowl from Pier 1.

A Cooking Class – Ask around in your area for where cooking classes are offered. Many are under $100, and a true food lover would love a great class. If you aren’t sure what kind of cooking class they’d like, get a gift certificate so they can choose their own specialization.

Over $100

KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Limited-Edition 5-Quart Stand Mixer – Most serious cooks I know cannot live without their stand mixer. And in terms of stand mixers, Kitchen Aid sets the standard. The new KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Limited-Edition 5-Quart Stand Mixer in Candy Apple Red isn’t just a pretty machine (and really … that red is pretty!) — it’s a powerful mixer perfect for many home uses. With a glass bowl, you can always keep track of how things are progressing.

Le Creuset Round French Oven – Every cook needs a Dutch oven and this 5 1/2 quart one from Le Creuset is perfect for braising, stewing and more. I have several Le Creuset pieces, though not a Dutch oven, and love how easy they are to clean and how pretty they are to cook with. This falls high on my list of wants for this Christmas.

Multicolor Bowls – Growing up, my grandmother had a mustard colored ceramic bowl that she used to mix things in. It was sturdy, heavy and perfect for just about everything. This set of seven Multicolored Bowls from Williams-Sonoma remind me of the solid reliability of that mixing bowl. Yes, they are pricey, but they are also wonderful double duty items (mix and serve in them!).


  1. says


    I featured your site on our Big Guide to Foodie Gift Guides. Come check it out! If you like it, please share it with your social network (Foodbuzz, Facebook, Twitter, etc).

    House of Annie food blog

  2. says

    Great comments, thanks!

    Megan, those measuring cups are so, so handy!

    Nate, thanks for the mention!

    Lys, thanks! Let me know when your roundup runs!

    Cate, I checked the Martha Stewart ones out and unfortunately, they are melamine. I really like that these are earthenware … something solid and sturdy about them, you know?


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