… and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!
(Thank you Maria, you can go home to the Alps now. Or just exit Stage Left.)
I have heard that there is a strange phenomenon amongst couples everywhere. My sources tell me that a man must never, ever, under ANY circumstance buy a woman any tool, gadget, device, appliance, or thingamabob that can be used in the kitchen. I imagine the same rule also applies to the laundry room. The only exception to this unspoken “rule” is that Kitchen Aid stand mixers are exempt and can be given for a birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or any random Tuesday.
I hate this rule. It makes no sense to me. First of all, this rule is rooted in so many gender stereotypes its crazy. Who is to say that a woman is or isn’t allowed to buy a man a kitchen tool or appliance? At the end of the day, if someone – regardless of gender – wants to give someone else a gift, shouldn’t he or she be able to receive it graciously instead of reprimanding the gift giver? Besides, this dumb “rule” suggests that if someone is a foodie and counts cooking and/or baking as a hobby, then you should instead buy them a sweater. Because, in case you hadn’t heard, everyone needs a new Christmas sweater.
Friends, I believe its time for a revolution – a time where we can give and receive gifts wholeheartedly, without reservation or fear of judgement. Where a woman can buy a man a whisk and a man can buy a woman a hammer. Where the focus of Christmas isn’t what loot you did or didn’t get, but instead on the things that really matter.
Pretty sure I just heard an amen. I know you’re with me!
In any event, if you’re looking for a few ideas for what to give to the resident foodie on your list, here are some of my favourites. Let me know what yours are, and we can expand the list together.
In no particular order:
1) Silpat Baking Mat:
These non-stick baking mats are fantastic – I line my cookie sheets with them every time I make cookies, and suddenly even the oldest cookie sheets produce the most beautifully browned cookies, every.single.time. It’s practically a facelift for bakeware. Amazing. Also saves parchment paper, so perfect for a baker who wants to be more green. Or eat more cookies without having to buy new cookie sheets. I’ll let you guess which category I fall into.
2.) Cookie Dough Scoops, aka Dishers:
If you’re going to be making more cookies, you NEED these in your drawer – I have 3 different sizes, and they are fantastic. My Mom started using these eons ago (she was very progressive), and my friends used to always wonder why her cookies always looked perfect. Dishers ensure that your cookies are always the same size, so they bake evenly and look great. They also can be used for portioning truffles, cake pops, muffins, etc. Just don’t use them for a really stiff batter or ice cream – they are not indestructible. However, they are fixed easily with a little bit of elbow grease from either yourself of someone who wants you to make more cookies.
3.) Microplane Zester:
We’ve spoken on more than one occasion about how much of a flavour boost a bit of citrus zest can give food. These babies actually are based on a woodworking rasp – they’re extremely sharp but also safe. Trust me, it’s better for your relationship and food if you have separate kitchen and woodworking tools. Don’t ask me how I know this.
4.) Digital Food Scale:
I know I’ve discussed this many times, but once you start baking with a scale you’ll never go back. Not only is it much more accurate, but it’s also easier. I can’t be the only one that hates washing a million measuring cups! I use my scale daily – whether I’m baking bread or weighing chicken to keep my portion sizes in check, I couldn’t do without mine.
5.) Immersion Blender:
This little gem is one of my favourites, and not just because its red! It is SO much easier to puree soups or sauces when you don’t have to put anything in your blender and puree it in batches, and you save yourself from dirtying more dishes. I love mine so much I gave away my regular blender in the summer, and haven’t looked back. As an added bonus, it takes up a lot less room in your cupboards, and can fall under the “power tool” category. Just ask my Mom.
6.) Dutch Oven:
These enamel-coated cast iron pots can only be described as workhorses – they are an amazing cooking vessel for everything from soups and stews to bread and casseroles. They have a tight-fitting lid that has little knobs on the inside that allow condensation to drip down on the food as it cooks – in other words, its self-basting. I have 2 of these that I use more than any of my other pots or pans combined, and have given several as gifts.
If you’d like to give me one as a gift and have an extra $400 kicking around, there is a turquoise Le Crueset one that has my name on it.
7.) Instant Espresso Powder:
Many years ago, my Mom started adding this to her chocolate chip cookies and they went to a whole new level. Adding a bit of espresso powder really elevates the flavour profile of anything with chocolate in it – I add it to brownies, icing, cake, cereal, you name it. Delicious!
8.) Peanut Butter:
I LOVE me some peanut butter. On toast, with an apple, on a spoon or my arm – it doesn’t matter. I will eat it anytime, in any form. I love it pretty much any time of day. It can be used for so many more applications than just toast or cookies – try stirring a spoonful into a soup to make it West African inspired, or make homemade peanut butter cups for someone who you know is a fan. Warning – they will fall in love with you, so be careful who you cook for. There are so many fantastic gourmet peanut butters out there – vanilla cranberry anyone? – that the peanut butter fan on your list would be thrilled with. Orrrr….may I suggest a date to the Whole Foods peanut butter grinding bar? Seriously one of the highlights of my life thus far.
If you’re having relationship troubles, please feel free to contact me for advice – but only if he or she is a peanut butter fan. Anything outside of that is not in my parameters of experience, and therefore is best left to the experts on Bravo.
9.) Yoga Pants:
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in case you haven’t heard or personally experienced, I consider it my duty to warn you. There is an epidemic all across the nation whereby thousands of calories have started living in cooks and professional eaters closets and dressers, sewing the seams on our clothes tighter and tighter. There tends to be an alarmingly high incidence rate in the colder months, but don’t fret – I have the cure. It has been scientifically proven* that calories are allergic to yoga pants. Go get one, or ten pairs, today. Until we catch these darn calories, I’m looking out for ya.
*tested by me, through trial and error.
10.) The Missing Ingredient Subscription:
How fabulous is THIS – every month, you can receive a goodie box with 4-5 different product and ingredient samples, along with a recipe and chefs tips so you have ideas on how to use your new treasures. You can sign up for a 1, 3, or 6 month subscription by going to missingingredient.ca, so head on over today – it just may the gift that keeps on giving, since you’re likely to get at least one dinner invitation out of giving this to a lucky recipient.
I could go on and on, but I’ll keep it short and sweet for now (that’s a first, huh?!?!) . I’d love to know what some of your favourites are, so comment below and let me know!
Until we meet again,