Last Second Gift Ideas for Home Cooks

It’s getting SO close to Christmas. Yikes! Did you miss your chance to sit on Santa's lap this year? Are you needing a last-minute (ok, I guess it's really a last-second) gift for a friend or family member? Are they asking what you (an avid cook) would want? What would any cook want for the holidays? Well, I’m here to make that question just a little bit easier to answer.

Here are a few gift ideas for you to consider:

(Just to be up-front, a few of these do include affiliate links.)

OXO Good Grips Cookie Press

Are you a cookie baker? Wanna crank out tons of cookies in a variety of cool shapes…in seconds? A cookie press could be the answer. These can be super handy. 

It includes 12 stainless steel cookie disks in different patterns (Daisy, Flower, Sunflower, Fleur-de-lis, Butterfly, Bear, Shell, Leaf, Heart, Snowflake, Tree, Wreath, etc.). Try it and there’s no way you’ll be able to deny that it’s fun to use! It's a great gift for about $30.


Wusthof 8-inch Classic Cooks Knife

So many of us are using dull, old knives in the kitchen. Tough to cut with. Arm and hand fatigue. Dangerous because it slips so much. A good quality chefs knife is a great gift.

 

The chef knife is the workhorse in the kitchen. This is one area that I suggest you don’t skimp too much dollar-wise. While you could pick up a chef knife for $10-15, I wouldn’t recommend it. It won’t keep its edge very well. The difficulty in cutting will be frustrating. This one's about $130 (although you might be able to find it one sale at your local cooking store).

I wrote a recent blog post on knives. It would be worth a read. Check it out here: The Only Knives You REALLY Need.


Wusthof Classic Serrated Utility Knife

Believe it or not, many people don’t have one of these super-handy knives. They may have a chef knife and paring knives - and overlooked a good, handy mid-sized utility knife. Believe me it’s something that will get used on a regular basis.

 

I really like this one (yes, I love the Wusthof brand!) because it's serrated. Great for cutting smaller loaves of brad and softer foods like tomatoes without squishing them. It's a beautiful knife to add to the collection. And it runs about $50.

Another really handy mid-sized option is a 4 1/5-inch utility knife or a santoku 5-inch knife. They are not serrated, but are just the right size for those in-between jobs in the kitchen. And they often run about $60-75.


In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin

A cookbook is always a welcome gift. A cookbook with meaning behind it is even better. The story of this book is rich not just because of the recipes. (To be honest many of the recipes are hard to recreate and use – reflecting the conditions in which it was written.) This cookbook was written by undernourished and starving women in the Czechoslovakian ghetto/concentration camp of Terezín (also known as Theresienstadt).

 

The women shared their beloved recipes with each other to help bring some level of normalcy to their situation. One woman wrote them down on scraps of paper. And although many of the women did not survive the war, the cookbook did. It finally made its way to the writer’s granddaughter who had it published. The Kindle version is about $14 and the print edition is $20-25.


 

Fine Cooking Magazine

One of the things I truly love is to get that monthly or bimonthly magazine. Something to inspire, something to learn from. And Fine Cooking is one of the best. Great ideas, recipes and solid tips and techniques.

This is a beautiful magazine that you or your love done will always loo forward to!

Other magazine subscriptions you might consider are Bon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated, or Saveur. Several of these run only about $12 a year.


John Boos Reversible Cutting Board with Chrome Handles

If the cook in your life is like most people, they probably haven’t replaced their cutting board in a long, long time. A beautiful, yet functional cutting board is a great idea. When in doubt, wood is always a good option. It looks great and is easy on the knives.

 

This one is made of hard rock maple and is reversible with a juice groove on one side, flat surface on the other. It is made by John Boos & Co. in Illinois. They have been in business since 1887 and have been selling their goods for home use since 1956. 


Membership to the Cook's Illustrated website

One thing your cook may not have thought of is a membership in a site that gives them tips, techniques, videos, recipes, etc. These can be all-around reference tools that can be accessed with just a click.

A Cook's Illustrated or America's Test Kitchen subscription is about $35 for one year. Trust me, it will get used over and over throughout the year.


 

Sur La Table Cooking Class

Whether learning something new or brushing up on cooking skills, cooking classes are a great idea for the holidays. You can either find one that you know would peak their interest or just gift them one that let’s them choose the class.

(Hint: This can be even better when you find one you can take together).

If you have a Sur La Table or a Williams-Sonoma in your area, they are certainly good choices. Or look for a locally-owned cooking store. They often offer cooking classes also.


Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef's Knife

You need to know what the cook already has in their kitchen. (Snooping’s allowed in this case.) Consider stretching them a little with a piece of cast iron or impress them with a beautiful piece of bakeware they might not buy for themselves.

It has a patented 2-inch Fibrox handle is textured, slip resistant, and ergonomically designed. This one's a great option in the $35-40 range.


Thermapen Mk4 Instant Read Thermometer

A thermometer is one of the handiest tools in the kitchen. And so many people either don’t have one or don’t use it on a regular basis. But they should.

This is considered one of the best. It's the latest model from Thermoworks. The easy-to-read display auto-rotates. It flips open and closed. And it's super-fast. It's not a cheap one - it's about $100. But, every cook would love one of these!

_______ . _______

Well, I hope I was able to give you some great last-minute ideas for yourself (in case someone asks) or for another cook in your life. All of these are easy to find at your local cooking store (and sometimes even in the cooking section of the department store) and pick up. If you have some ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

 

HERE'S WISHING ALL OF YOU A MERRY, HOLY CHRISTMAS!