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Gifts $40 & under for the cook who has everything?

The Dairy Queen Dec 9, 2008 11:02 AM

Sorry if this has been done before, but if you had someone on your Christmas list who loves to cook and seems to every gadget or appliance known to personkind, what would you get him or her?

Along the same lines, if you were giving gifts of the following cookbooks, All About Braising, Zuni, and Bakewise, what would be good companion gifts (aside from a Dutch oven, which my giftee already has...)

[$40 doesn't have to be a hard limit...]

Thank you!


  1. r
    rainey Dec 10, 2008 09:29 AM

    Kyocera has a ceramic blade paring knife that's about $30. Everyone can always use a knife and lots of people haven't tried ceramic blades yet. I love mine!

    1. r
      rainey Dec 10, 2008 09:26 AM

      Two things I love are the silicone veggie steamer and the switchit spoon/spatula at this site: http://www.unicahome.com/c6381/chefn.... Both are available in other colors than the bright green in the pix. I've gone from one of those spatulas to at least half a dozen of them. They're my "go to" device for stirring, sautéing, scraping a hot pan, etc. They're the best!

      One thing I would NOT get (lover of silicone that I am) is silicone or "convertible" or "dual" measuring devices. Too much opportunity for distortion and resulting inaccuracy.

      PS: You're not Bea from MN, are you?

      2 Replies
      1. re: rainey
        The Dairy Queen Dec 10, 2008 10:10 AM

        Nope, I'm not Bea. :)

        I love those silicone spatulas. I'll have to look at the veggie steamer, too. Thanks for the ideas!


        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          rainey Dec 11, 2008 07:32 AM

          Well, nice to meet you! ;>

          I highly recommend the silicone stuff. AND "Bakewise".

      2. Katie Nell Dec 10, 2008 06:46 AM

        What about a box of parchment sheets? I will never go back to a roll again! I think I ordered mine from King Arthur. I kept asking for them for Christmas and never got them, so I bought them for myself!

        1. d
          dmjordan Dec 10, 2008 06:16 AM

          Since I had lasik surgery, I can no longer peel onions without crying. So I am asking for onion goggles. Can anyone confirm that these work?
          I haven't read Bakewise, but for my friend that always makes great birthday cakes for her kids, I'm getting a rotating cake stand.

          5 Replies
          1. re: dmjordan
            JoanN Dec 10, 2008 06:38 AM

            Onion goggles are expensive. Any kind of cheap swim goggle will do the trick. I don't bother since chopping onions doesn't affect me much, but my mother used to wear a snorkeling mask and that worked for her.

            1. re: dmjordan
              The Dairy Queen Dec 10, 2008 06:39 AM

              I use swimming googles when I peel onions and they work great. I had never heard of onion googles until I saw them on the King Arthur flour site this morning! $20! http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/d...

              Thank you everyone for the brainstorming--this is giving me lots of terrific ideas. I have a few people that I buy gifts for in this category so it's helpful to have lots of ideas.


              1. re: dmjordan
                swiss_chef Dec 10, 2008 10:28 AM

                Try keeping them in the refrigerator and when you slice them, do it quickly with a very very sharp knife.

                1. re: swiss_chef
                  grant.cook Dec 10, 2008 11:34 AM

                  Have a very sharp knife, and learn how to dice an onionproperly - probably can find a video on Youtube.. its a tad more complex that just chop chop chop....

                  1. re: swiss_chef
                    rainey Dec 11, 2008 07:31 AM

                    Can't say that I've ever noticed a difference in chopping up a cold onion and one at room temperature. But I haven't been bothered by the gas from onions since I was a kid.

                    Not sure how much of that has to do with growing hybrids for the advantage of not producing tears and how much with the quality of the knives and technique. But I do have much better knives and my skill has improved some with 40 years of mostly daily cooking. ;> In any case, It's become painless.

                    If someone just can't deal with it tho, I'd recommend one of those chopping thingies. Williams-Sonoma has this attractive white one. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cw369/index.cfm?pkey=cfruit%2Dvegetable%2Dtools&ckey=fruit%2Dvegetable%2Dtools Target or many other stores I'm sure have this cheaper one that doesn't have the slicing arrangement. https://www.chopwizard.com/ I got the white one and use it when I'm doing something like a relish that requires a lot of dicing. It can be a real timesaver and I've found that it will make a nice dice of things as dense as potatoes and winter squash.

                2. JoanN Dec 10, 2008 05:31 AM

                  I sometimes think that I have everything, but one thing I’ve got my eye on is the replacement paddle for the KitchenAid mixer that scrapes the bowl as it mixes so you don’t have to stop the machine every minute or two and scrape the bowl by hand. There are a three different models, some are available only for the tilt-head machine and not for the bowl-lift model, and some get better reviews than others. There’s an ongoing thread on the cookware board about the first one of it’s kind, called the SideSwipe. Since that thread was started, two more scrapers have become available: the Scrape-a-Bowl and the Beater Blade.

                  These aren’t so inexpensive as to be an impulse buy so your friend might not have one. But they are within your approximate price limit.

                  Here’s a link to the cookware thread:


                  Here’s the page for the SideSwipe:


                  Here’s the page for Scrape-a-Bowl:


                  And here’s the page for Beater Blade:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JoanN
                    MMRuth Dec 10, 2008 05:36 AM

                    I don't know how much they are, but I'd love to have second bowl for my Kitchenaid. I have two for my FP and it really comes in handy sometimes.

                  2. g
                    grant.cook Dec 10, 2008 04:56 AM

                    Hmm... you could try the odd route - oven thermometer (Maverick makes a nice one), Pullman bread pan, kitchen torch, terrine mold (that one is going to be over $40 though).

                    I like the ingredient route - verjus, salt-packed anchovies or capers, lots of unique ingredients out there..

                    1. swiss_chef Dec 10, 2008 04:38 AM

                      I want a diamond sharpening steel.

                      1. HillJ Dec 9, 2008 02:37 PM

                        How about a gift cert to World Spice Market for the cook who has everything? Their online ordering is super simple and their spices, teas, spiceblends are of the highest quality.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: HillJ
                          janeh Dec 9, 2008 03:11 PM

                          if you're looking for another baking book, "Baking from My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan is recent (last year) and good. I tend to stay away from single purpose gadgets, BUT just got a Chestnutter at Sur le Table - it looks kind of like a garlic press but has a blade that cuts a little x in the chestnut. Much safer for my klutzy self than a knife. One of those and a bag of fresh chestnuts could be a fine gift.

                          1. re: janeh
                            flourgirl Dec 10, 2008 03:50 AM

                            I don't agree with the recommendation for "Baking from My Home..." I'm a serious home baker with a lot of experience. Everything I've made from this book so far has been disappointing. I dislike this book so much it is probably going to end up at the Library book sale. There are tons of much better baking books out there to give as a gift.

                          2. re: HillJ
                            HillJ Dec 10, 2008 04:58 AM

                            Include copper spice tins and you've got a lovely "cook who has it all" gift!

                          3. 3
                            33limes Dec 9, 2008 02:15 PM

                            How about vintage cookery books.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 33limes
                              MMRuth Dec 9, 2008 02:21 PM

                              I do like that idea as well. If you have good used bookstores in your area, they are worth perusing.

                            2. f
                              fauchon Dec 9, 2008 12:03 PM

                              If this person truly has EVERYTHING, i would go to Kalustyan & buy him/her a selection of hard-to-find spices, chutneys, teas, honey, grains, dals etc....or even some Indian/Asian specialty cookware. Here's the link:


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: fauchon
                                flourgirl Dec 10, 2008 03:52 AM

                                I was going to make similar suggestion along the lines of specialty ingredients. Like bottarga, maybe some truffle oil, something like that.

                              2. greygarious Dec 9, 2008 11:52 AM

                                If you didn't already buy Bakewise, check out reviews (Amazon and elsewhere) first. I love Cookwise and was about to order Bakewise, but after reaading the comments it seemed as though Cookwise covers the same material, and of course much more.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: greygarious
                                  The Dairy Queen Dec 9, 2008 12:20 PM

                                  Actually, it probably won't be Bakewise as it doesn't look like it's doing too well on Amazon--people don't seem to love it the way they do Cookwise. I'm considering some older more tried and true cookbooks on baking.


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                    greygarious Dec 9, 2008 12:29 PM

                                    The King Arthur baking books are good - the original and whole grain ones.

                                    1. re: greygarious
                                      jenhen2 Dec 10, 2008 06:08 AM

                                      Also the Martha Stewart Baking book is great. I use it all the time and have never had a bad expreience!

                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      flourgirl Dec 10, 2008 05:31 AM

                                      I have the book "Bakewise" and while I haven't had a chance yet to spend any quality time with it, my general impression, after reading the reviews on Amazon (which I did before I bought the book) is that many of the people who left negative reviews did so because they didn't seem to get what the author was trying to do. I still have high hopes that this book is better than the reviews would make it seem... (I should add that I didn't buy the book for it's recipes - I have hundreds of baking books and didn't need anymore recipes - I bought it for the insights I think it will provide and because I'm hoping to learn what I need to know to start developing my own recipes.)

                                      1. re: flourgirl
                                        rainey Dec 10, 2008 09:18 AM

                                        I just got a copy and have only paged through but I suspect you're right that the detractors are trying the original recipes and not understanding that she uses them as the starting point to develop an improved version to illustrate the chemistry of baking.

                                        "Cookwise" is one of the books in my library that I'd *never* let go of! And if "Bakewise" gives me principles and understanding to improve my own baking that's sooo much more valuable than a dozen recipes. Even "Cookwise" was lean on recipes and heavy on illumination.

                                  2. k
                                    kayakado Dec 9, 2008 11:08 AM

                                    Everyone on my list is getting a Fair Share mug with some sort of just add liquid recipe in it. You can google fair Share mugs top see what I mean.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: kayakado
                                      The Dairy Queen Dec 9, 2008 12:24 PM

                                      Those are cute!


                                    2. l
                                      Lemonbar Dec 9, 2008 11:07 AM

                                      Silpats (silicone liners for baking sheets) to go with Bakewise. Around $20 each.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Lemonbar
                                        MMRuth Dec 9, 2008 11:14 AM

                                        I'm not familiar with Bakewise, but if it has cookie recipes, you could get some interesting cookie cutters.

                                        1. re: Lemonbar
                                          The Dairy Queen Dec 9, 2008 12:21 PM

                                          Does a person need more than one silpat baking sheet? (I don't have one, and don't bake much, so I don't honestly know!)


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                            flourgirl Dec 10, 2008 03:44 AM

                                            Yes, you probably need more than one. I often bake cookies and I have 4 half sheet pans and I have for silpata - oneof reach pan. That way I can have two pans in the oven, while I am filling two more pans that can go in after the first two are done. I actually could use a fifth pan/silpat now because I just bought a range with double ovens.

                                            1. re: flourgirl
                                              rainey Dec 10, 2008 09:30 AM

                                              Yes indeed!

                                        2. MMRuth Dec 9, 2008 11:04 AM

                                          Truffle shaver? Also useful for slicing garlic paper thin - as well as bottarga. Will keep thinking. The one thing that I would really like is a mandoline, but that is more than $40.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                            The Dairy Queen Dec 9, 2008 11:05 AM

                                            Good suggestions! I edited my post to say $40 doesn't have to be a firm limit. Ideally I want to keep it around that, but there's always a way to be flexible for the right gift!


                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                              dmjordan Dec 10, 2008 06:21 AM

                                              I have the Kyocera Adjustable Mandolin Slicer, which was recommended by Cooks Illustrated. It doesn't do all the fancy cuts, but for a basic, easy-to-clean, easy-to-store mandoline, I'm pretty happy with it.
                                              I got mine at Amazon for $25.

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