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As a Chowhound, what do you want for Christmas?

Food-related, of course ...

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  1. My kitchen and cupboard is so well stocked that I can't think of anything. I did recently purchase some dark napkins for our greasy/sloppy friends.

    However...my 11 year old nephew has really gotten into cooking. For his birthday I bought him lots of essentials including a good knife.

    His chrismas list includes a bread knife and "food, to cook" which I though was really charming.

    1. I want restaurant gift certificates, because I have a harder time dropping a decent amount of dough on a nice meal out than I do on say, a nice pan.

      Ooh, and I also want sheets of parchemnt paper (in case Santa is listening) http://www.amazon.com/The-Bakers-Cata... I just can't bring myself to pay for them for some reason!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Katie Nell

        If Santa doesn't bring them...just order those half sheets yourself because they are worth every penny....I think I've been buying those half sheets for about five years...

      2. A good mandoline. I still have one of those "saw it on TV" plastic jobs.

        6 Replies
        1. re: mnosyne

          Be careful what you wish for; I have one of the high end stainless steel Mandoline, made in France, and I have to say its a pain to use. Better than that, consider a set of Kyocera Japanese made ceramic style cutters; get both the Julienne slicer and the two sided mandoline -- but watch your fingers. Link to both here; they come in lots of colors:

          http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-Ceramic...

          1. re: bengoshi

            Oh, I have craved a ceramic knife since the first time I used one belonging to a friend. Good thing they are a not in most stores. Those slicers are certainly reasonable. Hmmm....

            1. re: bengoshi

              Thanks for the post, I thought I was the only idiot who put my $150+ mandoline away after 1) slicing off the end of my finger (2 emergency room visits) and 2) finding it too complicated. I bought on of the simpler ones too! As an aside I have a few of the ceramic knives - they are great for fruit and soft vegetables, but contrary to what I read - they do get dull and they chip if you are not very careful with what you cut. For tomatoes and they like you can't beat them, but I'm not sure they were worth the price tag. Mine are the Kyocera ones.

              1. re: bengoshi

                I agree - I bought my mother an expensive Mandoline a couple of years ago. Because of the straight blade, it took a lot of work to make it cut anything, and eventually, I just took it back. (Used my W-S store credit to buy a waffle iron, two silpats and some pans.)

                She much prefers the cheap plastic slicers with V-blades in them for ease of use. They're not as sturdy as the nice metal mandolines, but they work better and if you break them, at $20 you can buy a new one.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  A Ceramic Knife is a MUST HAVE. Although they will break; the tips all come off. I travel to Japan frequently and will buy one every time. I give them as gifts, and boy are they appreciated.

                  Buy a Ceramic knife and it will be your go to knife for many tasks. I would not think of slicing mushrooms without mine.

                2. re: bengoshi

                  I completely agree with bengoshi - I too have a high end mandoline and I practically never use it. I think it's a PTA. I seem to be able to do everything I need to do with my V-slicer, food processor and my good knives. (That Kyocera julienne slicer looks good to me too.)

              2. I'm giving my chowish brother some interesting different salts and peppers and a set of mills to go with them.

                I'm sort of secretly hoping to get a blender from my parents, but probably won't because it'll be hard to get home from their place on the plane.

                1 Reply
                  1. I got a great stock pot last year, and am lobbying hard for a new stove this year.

                    But, any advice you could give on this separate point would be a help -- My wife is in a gift exchange with relatives, and the theme is kitchen stuff. What would you get for folks would are *not* chowhounds. Something useful for those not inclined as we are. I just can't think of things....

                    thx
                    Mike

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: mike_d

                      How about a knife sharpener - something that will do the job but doesn't require an apprenticeship with some ancient master. Those things come at all price levels, I think.

                      1. re: yayadave

                        I don't know... all the *not* chowhounds I know wouldn't think to sharpen their knives!

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Yeah, I know. But maybe if they had a gadget, they would. Maybe even someone would discover that a sharp knife makes cooking easier, even fun.

                          1. re: yayadave

                            I bought one one year for my SO's dad who is decidedly non-chowish. He loves it (and as far as I know never sharpened a kitchen knife before owning the gadget.)

                            1. re: mizinformation

                              My experience (over-generalizing, I'm sure!) is that men like danger-related food items, no matter what their cooking skills are. Thus, grill-related or knife-related. My dad used to only enter the kitchen to sharpen the knives and pick up the mom-marinated meat for the grill. He'd sharpen all the knives in the process of sharpening just the one for carving the turkey.

                      2. re: mike_d

                        A cooking thermometer, probably a probe type. It makes things so much simpler for people who can't judge doneness.

                        1. re: cheryl_h

                          Absolutely! A Thermapen. Please, Santa, please.

                        2. re: mike_d

                          Things that everyone uses, whether they "really" cook or not - cutting boards, dishtowels, a nice can opener, nice measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoons, tongs, etc.

                          1. re: mike_d

                            In my family of not chowhounds, someone brought one of those George Foreman type grills (different brand though) to the gift exchange and it was by far the most popular gift. It was stolen at least 5 or 6 times until my mom ended up with it. And, for the record, she's also no chowhound and she loves it.

                            1. re: charmedgirl

                              Yeah, mike_d, I don't know if you do the (stupid, in my opinion) gift exchange where everyone steals from each other (I can say this, because I have to participate in one as well), but you could always just buy whatever you want and steal it back... like my husband's uncle who brought an industrial 5' tall sprinker to the party one year!!! ;-) No one tried to steal it back from him, but my husband said he's going to do that this year just to piss him off! Heh heh!

                              Okay, off track, what about one of those sets of mixing bowls like at Williams Sonoma http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc... I use these all the time and everyone always needs more bowls!

                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                Thanks to all. I had suggested some spices, but that can be a touchy thing. For example, if I knew it was going to a particular brother-in-law, we'd get him really hot chili powder and such, but we're not sure whose getting what. I think they do intend one of those 'steal' it from someone gigs, which I hate too. Which is why I'm not 'playing'. Maybe you're good suggestions will pave the way for my new stove :)

                                Mike

                            2. re: mike_d

                              No laughing, the ove glove. I bought two last year. It is so easy to handle hot stuff now.

                              1. re: mike_d

                                Digital meat thermometer -- my non-chowish in-laws, who grill a lot, loved theirs. Other grill items are good too. If they're not grillers, I like heat-resistant non-stick spatulas or nesting sets of mixing bowls. Or a Microplane and Silpat -- stuff that's very useful, but they may not have heard of.

                                1. re: mike_d

                                  for the non-chowhounds, small gadgets that actually work (instead of the frustrating ones many people have) like
                                  a microplane grater (or several, various sizes, depending on need),
                                  a good vegetable peeler
                                  tongs

                                  1. re: mike_d

                                    Sea salts, high-end vinegars and olive oils, along with suggestions/recipes for use. Maybe if they taste some good stuff, they'll be inspired.

                                    1. re: mike_d

                                      To be frank, I often get little things I want to use when I'm cooking in their kitchens - a decent knife (remember to have them "pay" for it with a small coin), a little mocha espresso pot, a microplane. Some (non-destitute) people don't even have cutting boards.

                                    2. My wife has enjoined me from buying any more pots or pans. Maybe some electronic gadget, like one of those Vitamixer high speed blenderts to make soup, etc.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Gift certificates for a wine pairing class would be nice, or a beer-making kit.

                                        1. I am getting pumpkin butter in my sister's suitcase from San Francisco, and hopefully a cookbook or two. I already got cooking anniversary/mother's day gifts this year from DH (lovely le creuset and matching utensils) so I have asked for other things for Christmas.

                                          1. May not be sure of what I want, but if you're a foody-friend of mine, you're getting Truffle Salt from the Cheese Store in Beverly Hills... OHMYGOSH - soooo good! Great on steaks, potatoes, eggs... ANYTHING!

                                            1. i would love a meat or steak of the month club membership

                                              1. Wusthoff Santoku knife and diamond sharpener. Entsrom's Toffee. The smoked king salmon from Pike's market in Seattle. A good mandolin.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Ellen

                                                  Definitely ask for a GOOD mandolin. My mother (who doesn't cook) bought me a bad mandolin. Darn near sliced off my thumb with the thing because it doesn't stand up and you have to hold it with one hand while you're cutting with the other. Bad mandolin! No cookie!

                                                  1. re: Andiereid

                                                    We call our very expensive French model Madame Guillotine.

                                                  2. re: Ellen

                                                    I have the Wusthof Santoku and the sharpener. Fabulous!! You will pick up that knife over all the others every time you have to chop something.

                                                  3. On my list this year:

                                                    A new food processor.
                                                    Fresh jumbo stone crab claws from Florida (I know I'll get this one since my husband loves them as much as I do - heh heh).
                                                    Aerogarden, so I can have fresh herbs anytime here in the city.

                                                    For my husband's edible gifts, dark chocolate toffee and banana fosters toffee from Lala Boodles in NJ. And he loves the candy he enjoyed as a kid so this year it's Cherry Mash from Vermont Country Store. Last year it was Mallomars!

                                                    Oh, and I just ordered myself some Satsuma mandarins.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                      I've been looking at the Aerogarden too. I live in the suburbs but can't grow herbs indoors for the life of me for some reason. Obviously, I have a ton of them during the summer but they just don't grow well anywhere in my home. The Aerogarden is very enticing!

                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        Does anyone own and use the Aerogarden? Saw it in my favorite kitchen store. Looks like it only allows for a few inches of growth?

                                                      2. A 5-quart Dutch Oven & a high-quality Immersion Blender

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Mushroom

                                                          Should I e-mail this post straight away to your hubby?! ;-)

                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                            I think my frugal sweetie would have a heart attack if he saw the prices on the aforementioned items!

                                                            1. re: Mushroom

                                                              He could get a break on the Dutch Oven at the Le Creuset outlet store, and combine that with one of the specials they run... I think they have a preferred customer special running in Dec for 30 percent off? The seconds there are an excellent deal - I too thought this was a wish-list only but ended up with one as an early holiday gift :) from my sweety

                                                        2. As a side note - My eldest Chowpuppy is getting an Easy Bake Oven with measuring cups & spoons, whisks and hotpads for X-mas. She'll probably want her own KithchenAid Mixer next year!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Mushroom

                                                            As a Chowpuppy in the 1960's, my Easy Bake was my prized possession - I'm sure she'll really enjoy that. We have moving pictures of me (yes folks "moving pictures, not video LOL) very seriously cooking with the oven. Even at 5, I was honing my cooking skills :-)

                                                            1. re: Mushroom

                                                              Oooo! A KitchenAid Mixer. That's what I want! Also, a chopping class. I've already bought a raft of gelato from Capogiro (http://www.capogirogelato.com/main.html) "for the family".

                                                            2. The biggest box of chocolates Maison du Chocolate has, and the tagine (blue!) from Le Creuset. I have no idea what to make in a tagine, but I want it want it want it!! Haha.

                                                              1. Dinner at French Laundry... sigh.

                                                                1. Chowhound or not, most cooks would love new, sturdy potholders. I got all new ones for Xmas a few years back and realized how ratty the old ones were. I need some new ones again, though. Every now and again I remember to wash the ones I have!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: sudiepav

                                                                    The silicone ones are great! Insulate even when they get wet, and wash easily in the sink or dishwasher.

                                                                  2. My present for Christmas is going on vacation - I pray to the Chow gods for awesome finds! =)

                                                                    1. Whirled peas? (sorry, couldn't resist)

                                                                      My kitchen is pretty well stocked, but I have a new dining table and I could use some nice flatware and some stemware suitable for dessert wines.

                                                                      1. Really good chocolate.

                                                                        1. A weekend in Vegas complete with dine around and tickets to see Cirque's LOVE....natch..great food is involved every step of the way!

                                                                          HAPPY HOLIDAYS CHOWHOUNDS!

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            HillJ, that's one of the main reasons my husband and I keep winding up back in LV for vacations - the food :-)

                                                                            1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                              I hear ya sivy! It's such a quest for all things delicious! Maybe its time to plan (grin) a CH meetup in Vegas!

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                Hey, if it's every around early April you might catch us there - we've gone out to celebrate our anniversary there for the last 3 years straight :-)

                                                                                1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                  Too funny Siv, our anniversary is end of April...and we've been known to switch off from Vegas to Montreal year after year. LOL!

                                                                          2. My boys ask what I want every year. Last year I got a huge stock pot/pasta pot gift pack from WS and a beautiful red KA mixer, couldn't of been better..
                                                                            This year I want a stainless steel mandoline, maybe a pressure cooker, 8 Apilco Lion head soup bowls, a three tier oven rack for sure and a really good ice cream maker. I'd be thrilled with anyone of them... and what the heck a weekend in Vegas as well to eat at Mesa Grill or another visit to Joe's Steaks for the stone crab claws again! Or Morton's in Vegas. Craving red meat bad!

                                                                            1. Ooh, I know, I know!

                                                                              I want a perfect Christmas Pudding, Anglo/Irish style. The Marks & Sparks ones are ok at a push, but not at all like the real thing. And, once again, I haven't made one for myself.

                                                                              It'll be a cold Christmas in New York City in our house without a pudding!

                                                                              - Sean

                                                                              1. There is not a thing I need and should probably get rid of some stuff. What I'd love is one of those vacuum food storage systems and a new upright freezer. My old one died and has not been replaced and the one on my fridge is at capacity.

                                                                                Oh and if someone could come up with an invention that would open and close my kitchen doors on demand for my dogs so I don't have to stop what I am doing a gazillion times a day to let them in or out. A dog door won't work because the doors are glass and we also have critter problems. St. Poodles like to be close to their humans they go out but never for long periods unless they are on the hunt for chipmunks or squirrels. Stir the pot, open the door/close the door. Peel 1 potato repeat the door business and there are 3 of them.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                  Candy, so funny! I do the same thing for my kittys. Only I open the back slider, then when I go out to the garage, they dart through and then I open the slider...... ALL DAY LONG!

                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    No sliders and the garage is down a full flight of stairs, open/close open/close open/close See photo. Door directly back and back on right. right door leads to screened porch. Great walk-in in winter. But open-close, open-close! And it is too cold to just leave a door ajar. Then with rain and snow there is mud to be tracked in and poods have velcro coats so twigs and leaves and clippings end up everywhere., But they are my girls and I love thhem dearly but if someone could come up with some instant groom, drive-through carwash type of deal I'd be eternally greatful.

                                                                                    http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/...

                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                      I do a lot of open/close/open/close, but only if I'm in the office trying to work. If I'm in the kitchen, my guys are right there, trying to trip me so I'll drop whatever I'm cooking. Broken bones apparently score bonus points.

                                                                                      1. re: Andiereid

                                                                                        I have been tempted to put up baby gates at either end of the island. The dog in the photo is my true chowhound and absolutely everything is potential food and must be tasted. If food is happening she is right there. You would not believe some of the things she has eaten. Nothing that hits the floor stays there very long.

                                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                                          i have a gate that I put up across the kitchen door to keep them out if I need to. We also corrall them in a room with it if need be. It doesn't attach in any way, shape or form - we just lean it against the doorway. They're terrified of it. (No we didn't beat them with it.) All they'd have to do is *poink* and it's down, but they're 130 lb. sissies. Works great. And they can still see what I'm doing.

                                                                                  2. re: Candy

                                                                                    That explains it! I have a 2+ year old labradoodle and can't figure out why she won't stay outside without me! I'm familiar with lab 1/2, but not the poodle. Thanks for enlightening me. (she has a lab appetite!)

                                                                                  3. OXO Mango Slicer! I love mangoes but hate cutting them up. I hope this helps!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: eeee

                                                                                      eee I bought a OXO Mango Slicer this summer and returned it within two days. Blade isn't sharp enough! A mango bit can form irregularly making it more difficult to use a pre-formed cutting tool. You might reconsider.

                                                                                    2. I'm easy - a new peppermill would make me happy.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: finewineserver

                                                                                        I just bought myself the Unicorn Magnum pepper mill after my pepper gun wore out. It's awesome, truly impressive output. Tell Santa: Unicorn Magnum

                                                                                      2. A kringle from Larsen's in Seattle.

                                                                                        A mushroom log from Far West Fungi in SF Bay area.

                                                                                        Breakfast in bed.

                                                                                          1. re: chica

                                                                                            How cool would that be? Then eating well would be a given, and Chowhounds could go play in the kitchen whenever they wanted for the delight of it, not cos five kids need feeding in a hurry.

                                                                                          2. I've got way too many kitchen items (and I've asked family and friends to put a moratorium on food items, since I've filled up my fridge and two storage pantries with more stuff than I'll ever be able to use!)

                                                                                            I do, however, need new steak knives, and have asked (after some recommendations on the Cookware board) for some non-serrated steak knives, preferably Chicago Cutlery's Insignia2. Also, "The French Chef with Julia Child 2" DVD. :-)

                                                                                            1. Last christmas I got personalized spatulas, some really good balsamic, gift certificates for cooking classes, the monthly Frog Hollow fruit shipment, and a beautiful cake stand. This year I'm asking to have the frog hollow shipment again, Framed prints of the fruit pictures in the Chez Panisse cook book, the Tartine cook book, and a vegtable garden in the backyard (which has to be built, but under the tree i'm expecting gardening tools).

                                                                                              P.s. For any foodie - My all time favorite book is The Man who Ate Everything. It's one of the funniest books you'll ever read, and for a foodie it's hard to put down/stop reading!

                                                                                              1. Just a quick follow-up on my food gifts for non-chowhounds. Found it! We have an excellent, local spice purveyor (milwaukee, The Spice House); they had gift boxes of spice mixes for making dips and salsas, with instructions. No more "whaddya do with this?" responses. Happy Holidays to all.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: mike_d

                                                                                                  Funny! I got one of those from a local spice place too (Planter's Feed and Seed Co., here in KC) for some not-so-Chowhound types too!

                                                                                                2. I'd like a new wood stove. My present stove of course just brand new. :o)

                                                                                                  1. I would love a set of nesting bowls, with a handle. Any suggestions on finding these?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: geekgirl

                                                                                                      BB&B has the pyrex bowls in all sizes down to one that will hold just an egg yolk,those are great for mise. Love them, Simple design and functional. Choose the sizes you need. The nest beautifully. With the lip you can use them to sub for a double boiler and oh so many ways. Can't go wrong with them.

                                                                                                    2. I'd like an ice-cream maker, the kind you don't have to freeze ahead of time.

                                                                                                      An air popper (and before you mention the Whirley Pop, I happen to like air-popped corn).

                                                                                                      A nice salad bowl/spoon set.

                                                                                                      A digital food scale.

                                                                                                      A muffin-top pan, preferably silicone.

                                                                                                      Silpat.

                                                                                                      A share in my local CSA, bonus points if it's organic.

                                                                                                      1. To fill the fridge and pantry of a friend who is on a fixed income.

                                                                                                          1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                            OMG - I was in Berlin when I was 17 (1/2 a lifetime ago) and ate one almost every day. They were delicious, although I'd never had one before. I now know what I missed - I should have had TWO each day, and gained 40 lbs, instead of 20!!!

                                                                                                          2. Ok, I will admit it. Christmas is not my favorite holiday....Hanukah is just as relevant to me as far as celebrations go, and while I really enjoy Christmas decorations and the music, particularly the religious music (even though it isn't my religion), the buying and presents and the commercial parts and the ads on TV and in my mail and the frantic pace and everyone wishing me 'Merry Christmas' drive me more than a bit crazy! I competelely identify with the Grinch!

                                                                                                            So, this year I am getting what I always want for Christmas every year! A chance to leave town and leave it all behind! And this year, it is the best yet: will be spending Christmas in a country (Tunisia) where Christmas isn't much celebrated! Indeed, we get the best of both worlds, because most all my family will be there too, and coming and going we will also be spending a few days in London, where we can enjoy the decorations and all, but on Christmas Day I can dip my toes in the Mediterranean, eat couscous and marguez, and just enjoy another ordinary day....

                                                                                                            Thank you Santa!

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                              And Santa has been doubly good to me, because not only do I get to cancel Christmas for the same reason Susan has, but hubby has agreed to spend a week in my favorite city (Paris) after Tunisia...so there will be french champagne and pain au chocolat for the New Year as well as the couscous.

                                                                                                              And I don't have to worry about buying any Christmas gifts for the kids....since the trip is present enough!

                                                                                                              (BTW Susan, on a non-chow-related note, if you have time when you are in London pre-Christmas, head straight to Westminster Abby. I was once there several days before Christmas and ducked in to avoid a downpour. The sound of the choir practicing is still etched in my memory. Now *that's* Christmas music!)

                                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                Susan, don't forget to got to Djerba, one of the most important centres of the Jewish faith and culture in North Africa - there is still a significant Jewish community there.

                                                                                                                The Christians in Tunisia are a small minority - there used to be a larger Catholic minority community, mostly Sicilian and Maltese (Catholic, but very close culturally to Tunisia).

                                                                                                                Of course couscous, merguez and other wonderful dishes are the common heritage of Muslim and Jewish Tunisians. Many Sephardim who have emigrated to France, Israel, - and here in Montréal! - return there for important feast days, and to celebrate the history of their community and their synagogue - one of the oldest in the world. http://www.bh.org.il/Communities/Syna...

                                                                                                                I hate Christmas too, and my family is lapsed Catholic (strong sentimental attachment to the Jewish world)...

                                                                                                              2. A Country Living or Diamant grain mill.

                                                                                                                1. I've asked for a mortar & pestle. Also a knife with a handle that fits my big hands, and a knife skills class.

                                                                                                                  1. I am getting married this January and my list can go on and on..
                                                                                                                    I want silverwares by Wallace or Lenox
                                                                                                                    I want a whole set of pots and pans by All-clad
                                                                                                                    I want a 5Q mixer
                                                                                                                    I want a set of La Creuset pans though I think they are too heavy for everday use.

                                                                                                                    1. As I just gave birth to my first child (a son) and in my first house with a big, beautiful kitchen, I am hoping for the Kitchen Aid Food Professional Food Processor. I am planning to make my own baby food as soon as I start introducing regular food to his diet.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Michele4466

                                                                                                                        Congrats on your new son! FWIW, I found an immersion blender to work nicely for pureeing fruits and veggies in smallish quantities.

                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                          Thanks...

                                                                                                                          Great idea, I will add it to my list as it probably works better for baby food anyway...but I still want that processor (maybe more for me)(wink, wink). Been looking at it for months in Williams-Sonoma but put off buying it as there were, obviously, more important things to worry about. :-)

                                                                                                                      2. A mandolin. The one I have now almost took my right ring finger off this fall.

                                                                                                                        1. To go to a cooking class with mom. :) Esp. at the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA...

                                                                                                                          1. A really good headset phone, so that you can have those Mommathon phone conversations and cook without permanently crooking your neck over to one side.

                                                                                                                            1. on my wish list are a 4-5 qt. enameled dutch oven (CI gave good ratings to a $40 version at Target), a blender, and a new espresso machine to replace our dying one. but that's more than Santa can bring to our house this year!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: vanillagrrl

                                                                                                                                I have the enameled dutch oven from target - it's fantastic, especially or the price!

                                                                                                                                I am hoping for a food processor, and a keurig b-100.

                                                                                                                                1. re: vanillagrrl

                                                                                                                                  Yes! I want a whole set of enameled pots and pans! I love them so and they are absolutely perfect for making a nice lemon buerre blanc.

                                                                                                                                2. We don't exchange gifts, but if we did, I could go for a nice knife or two or an immersion blender. By the way, I'm pretty happy with my cheapo, no-name mandolin type thing.

                                                                                                                                  1. The 5" santoku knife I received for xmas last year, incidentally, was one of the best gifts of the year. It's an Anolon brand and probably came from a discounter like Marshall's so wasn't expensive. It's a good weight, though, and is a nice addition to the knife set -- so nice it inspired me to get the sharpening stone out for more frequent use.

                                                                                                                                    1. I have so many pot, pans, knives, etc. In fact, I find myself cooking things just to use all the esoteric utensils people have bought me over the years. And the more I cook, the more I have to clean.

                                                                                                                                      So to help with the chores, my girlfriend and I are buying ourselves one of those robotic mop / vacuums for x-mas. We've narrowed it down to either the roomba or scooba. While the scooba would be great in the kitchen where most of the mess is generated, the roomba might be the better choice since it can sweep and vacuum the whole place and then we can follow with a quick kitchen mop job.

                                                                                                                                      Anyone use these things? X-mas is almost here and we need to decide.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: lyndentodd

                                                                                                                                        Sorry to be a bummer...we gave Roomba a try (curiosity got the better of me) and returned it 3 days later. I bought a wet/dry Swiffer instead. Swiffer works faster, requires NO maintenance and cost a heck of a lot less!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: lyndentodd

                                                                                                                                          I love my Roomba and also have a Scooba. Scooba is nice and I'm happy I have it, but it doesn't completely get your floor clean on the first go (as in, if you run it again, you'll see that it's still picking up dirt from the dirty water that comes out of it). Still, it's better than getting out the bucket and mop and I use it often.

                                                                                                                                          Roomba is great. I've heard that about 1/2 people don't like them and this may be due to the particular machine you get. Our first one was great, but the second (first one had a broken brush tab) didn't do nearly as good of a job. We ended up just switching the parts and returning the second. So, if you get one and don't like it, you might try exchanging it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                            I have a Roomba and Scooba and love them both. I start Roomba in the morning before I leave for work. Maybe 25% of the time, I return from work to discover Roomba sitting in the middle of the room or stuck in some corner, because she got confused or abandoned her mission for reasons I can't always understand.

                                                                                                                                            The remainder of the time, she's done her thing, found her way back to her docking station, and is happily recharging. While Roomba doesn't do a perfect job of vacuuming, even on days when she completes her mission, she got more vacuuming done while I was at work than otherwise would have gotten done, which is none. I view it as a maintenance thing. If Roomba vacuums a little every day--sometimes it's a whole room, sometimes just half a room-- it makes my life a lot easier when I eventually get around to doing it myself. This is especially helpful if you have a pet that sheds everywhere. (My fraidy-cat kitty loves Roomba, by the way; she likes to supervise. I read on the Roomba forum--yes there is a Roomba forum--a post from a woman who says she doesn't need the advanced version of Roomba, the one that comes with the timer, because her cat likes to turn it on all the time to play with it, sometimes at 2am. Sadly, I haven't been able to train my cat to start Roomba.)

                                                                                                                                            Scooba is a bit more high-maintenance (we have to prime the pump almost every time we use it, which is really frustrating) but again, it does a great job. We usually set Scooba going in the kitchen after we've cleaned up for dinner and are relaxing in front of the TV, reading the paper, or surfing Chowhound. We've figured out that it's almost as much effort to get Scooba going as it would be to the mopping ourselves, but, the truth is, we get such a kick out of Scooba that we don't seem to mind the effort, whereas, if we have to do the mopping ourselves, somehow, we often find a reason not to do it. Then, the mopping really does turn into a big chore because we haven't been doing our daily maintenance as we should.

                                                                                                                                            I've been thinking about getting Dirt Dog, the rugged basement/garage version of Roomba for our basement/kitty litter area.

                                                                                                                                            I think these are great solutions for busy people who are willing to accept that the outcome isn't going to be always perfect or predictable and that some progress is better than none. For the longest time, I wouldn't even consider getting one of these devices because I thought it was ridiculous that we didn't just do these chores ourselves. But the truth is, we're busy people with a lot of commitments and need to shave off time savings where we can.

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                        2. If money were no object, I'd like someone to remodel my very large, but extremely poorly laid out and ugly kitchen.

                                                                                                                                          Since it is, I've asked for a set of soup/pasta plates--those big shallow things with the wide rims--a new bench scraper, and a cast iron dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1. A new 25 quart stock pot (sorry if this is not right, we use liters).
                                                                                                                                            2. Smoked salmon or any other smoked fish

                                                                                                                                            What I'm giving to slightly-less-than-fanatic-foodies:

                                                                                                                                            1. KitchenAid santoku--cheap and good!

                                                                                                                                            1. A new oven that has temperature control.

                                                                                                                                              1. I want a home-brew kit so I can start making my own beer!

                                                                                                                                                1. i don't want anything for x-mas...i'm jewish :)

                                                                                                                                                  but for hanukkah, unfortunately what i'd want is not as simple or reasonable as a single appliance...i need an entirely new kitchen! however, since that's obviously not happening, i'd be happy with a wine fridge or a really good ice cream maker.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    ooh, i'd also take a top-quality santoku and a good enameled cast iron skillet that won't ruin my ceramic cooktop.

                                                                                                                                                    i hope the hanukkah fairy is feeling generous this year...

                                                                                                                                                  2. Yeah, good knives are high on my list (I own a few that I really like -- a serious size chef's knife and a couple of santoku knives "5 and "7 respectively, but nothing expensive like Wuesthof or Zwilling...), also a knife-sharpener for the knives I own and like, but are getting dull, and the funny round metal thingamajiggee isn't working so well -- sigh.

                                                                                                                                                    Also, an egg poaching pan. A Dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                                    Two books: Secret Ingredients & The Food Snob's Dictionary.

                                                                                                                                                    Will be in the Caribbean for the holidays -- awesome.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Hard to beat last year...got a Kitchenaid mixer AND an 11 cup Cuisinart food processor. I guess it would be nice if Santa brought me a few Silpats

                                                                                                                                                      1. A good crockpot. I've been telling myself for years that I'm going to buy one and I just can't bring myself to do it for some reason. This year I *will* buy a crockpot with my Christmas money!

                                                                                                                                                        I did ask my parents for a Les Creuset cast iron skillet and a hand mixer, though!

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariannas

                                                                                                                                                          mariannas, you will never regret the purchase of a crockpot. It is absolutely worth the space it takes up in my miniscule kitchen. Do yourself a favor and go with an oval, larger size. Way more accomodating than the original round ones....

                                                                                                                                                        2. I'd love a Breville Model 800ESL Espresso Machine (is that specific enough?) Of course, my husband saw the price and said "um, not this year". Some of the less expensive items I'd like are:
                                                                                                                                                          A clear lucite box to put assorted tea bags in
                                                                                                                                                          A good chef's knife (I could use another one)
                                                                                                                                                          Various sea salts
                                                                                                                                                          Aged balsamic vinegar
                                                                                                                                                          A panini press/griller (saw one from Cuisinart advertised that looks good)

                                                                                                                                                          1. I would love if there was some way to keep my summer herb garden inside all winter and early spring. The sage, thyme, and oregano has just melted out from under a layer of ice. I'm dreaming of fresh rosemary and parsley I don't have to buy at the market. Whenever I've brought the more tender herbs in for the winter, they never live longer than a few weeks. I'm no green thumb, but surely there's some way to keep them alive short of a full greenhouse set up?

                                                                                                                                                            1. I'm not letting Christmas sneak up on me any more. A couple of quality days in the kitchen with my little sis, and tickle fights with my neices. That's all I need.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Dreaming big:

                                                                                                                                                                A remodeled kitchen for both able-bodied and handicapped use.
                                                                                                                                                                An all-expenses paid trip to Japan including certificates to the best sushi restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                An unlimited coupon for the Korin or Japanese Woodworker companies.

                                                                                                                                                                More likely:

                                                                                                                                                                Live lobsters
                                                                                                                                                                Gift certificate for sushifoods.com or catalinaop.com.
                                                                                                                                                                As mentioned above, a way to grow fresh herbs indoors without killing them.

                                                                                                                                                                Best gift:

                                                                                                                                                                Donations to feed the hungry. Really.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Taking care of my gift to my wife an myself tomorrow night.

                                                                                                                                                                  My wife, one year old, and myself are going out to dinner @ Joes Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab as a Christmas present to myself. We typically eat very well, but a trip downtown Chicago for a couple of $50- $60 steak's, $30 order of stone crabs, some stone crab bisque, a hefty bar tab, as a night out in the city is a splurge event, especially since we had the baby.

                                                                                                                                                                  Happy Holidays

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I have a really well stocked kitchen - except for my range. I would be in Heaven if Santa brought me a new one. I doubt it's going to happen, but hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. A West Bend stir crazy electric popcorn popper just like I used to have in college.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. on my list for Solstice/Christmas goodies:

                                                                                                                                                                        *hand-crank pasta maker and a cookbook on homemade pastas
                                                                                                                                                                        *food processor (making the switch, finally, from doing everything in the blender, and having to poke around with a spatula to scrape the top down)
                                                                                                                                                                        *sea salt, maybe good olive oil or exciting vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                        for my mom, also a food-lover and great cook:
                                                                                                                                                                        *an immersion blender, some great vanilla (paste-form) from Madagascar, locally made eggplant tapenade, and maybe one of those oval pans like Ray-Ray has but really only if I can find a brand that doesn't have her name on it, and some cute measuring spoons

                                                                                                                                                                        for sweety:
                                                                                                                                                                        *probably All About Braising for fun with one of her early holiday presents to me, a Dutch Oven :) from Le Creuset! (wow, those elves are generous this year....)

                                                                                                                                                                        We'll volunteer on Christmas Day and share a meal with some folks in need, an experience which we love, so there's another great gift --

                                                                                                                                                                        1. A Miele coffee wall unit - dream on, it's ungodly expensive :))))))))))))
                                                                                                                                                                          I think I will write a letter to Santa and ask for a good ice cream maker instead.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I want a whole new kitchen with new appliances to put in it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Last year a friend gave me an HD radio for my kitchen, and i've really enjoyed the commercial-free radio, a change from NPR

                                                                                                                                                                              1. a larger, completely remodeled kitchen - well, a girl can dream, can't she?!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Many, many jars of specialized and unusual salts (just because I would never buy that for myself).

                                                                                                                                                                                  Remember that game show -Supermarket Sweep- where contestants had to rack up the largest grocery tab? I would like do that but in a specialty cheese shop...heaven on earth...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. A trip to New Orleans and enough time and money to try everything at least once and go to Cafe du Monde again.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. What I'm asking my friends and family for:

                                                                                                                                                                                      Kitchen supplies:
                                                                                                                                                                                      A boning knife and a paring knife, the kind that cost about $10 at Eastern Bakers (Boston)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Another set of bitters glasses
                                                                                                                                                                                      Another mill (for white peppercorns)
                                                                                                                                                                                      A strawberry huller
                                                                                                                                                                                      San Jamar Kool-Tek Puppet Mitts with Kevlar
                                                                                                                                                                                      Commercial-grade baking sheets

                                                                                                                                                                                      Hard-to-find (at least in MA) liquors:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Basarana pacharan
                                                                                                                                                                                      Noilly Prat Amber vermouth
                                                                                                                                                                                      Antica Formula sweet vermouth
                                                                                                                                                                                      Bluecoat American gin
                                                                                                                                                                                      Granier Mon pastis
                                                                                                                                                                                      Casa Noble tequila blanco
                                                                                                                                                                                      Nonino Ùe di Monovitigno Moscato
                                                                                                                                                                                      Rothman & Winter crème de violette
                                                                                                                                                                                      Stranahan's Colorado whiskey
                                                                                                                                                                                      Luxardo Abano amaro
                                                                                                                                                                                      San Giovenale amaro

                                                                                                                                                                                      Books:
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Oxford Dictionary of Food and Nutrition (David Bender)
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Food Lover's Companion, 4th Edition (The Herbsts)
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Elements of Cooking (Michael Ruhlman)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Gusto: Essential Writings in 19th-Century Gastronomy (Denise Gigante)
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Oxford Companion to Food (Alan Davidson)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Imbibe (David Wondrich)

                                                                                                                                                                                      What I'd like if I had room to store it in my kitchen:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sumeet Asia Kitchen Machine
                                                                                                                                                                                      A freezer full of exotic fruit purees

                                                                                                                                                                                      What I'd like but ain't gettin':
                                                                                                                                                                                      Dinner at El Bulli

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                                        You want all that? All I want is a single groupe Synesso Cyncra espresso machine!............................Well I can want can't I?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chipman

                                                                                                                                                                                          Want it all? Sure, that's why it's on my list -- just not all at once. This list is probably good enough to last ten years. I have nearly-full kitchen utensil drawers and cabinets, a stack of books 15 feet high I'm already behind on, and hardly any room on my bar. My family and friends draw names now -- Christmas is all about the kids, as it should be -- so I'm expecting one present, and I'm hoping it's those knives.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I got both of mine.
                                                                                                                                                                                        The large cabella's dehydrator (1/2 price on a black friday/coupon special)
                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/tem...

                                                                                                                                                                                        And this as a gimmick:
                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detai...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Restaurant gift certificates! I'm on a budget and can't afford to eat out much. My mom totally came through again...I'm going to eat well this month (they'll all be gone by the end of January!)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smittys

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was amazed to see this chain from 2006 still going strong. Maybe we need to start a wish list for Christmas 2008. By the way, I got my 2006 list, which was a Country Living mill. For 2007, I should have put down an outdoor, wood-burning, retained-heat oven. And maybe we ought to start another chain on what food-related items you give as wedding presents. I just officiated at the weddings of two nephews. They got cookbooks: Bittman and Alice Waters.