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Culinary gift ideas

I would appreciate any help in advance. I am looking for an interesting culinary gift for my sister who is a dedicated home cook. She got a very nice chef knive for Christmas, and now it's birthday time. She has all the basics, isn't into wine, and I'm having a hard time thinking of something interesting to give as a gift. Anyone have a good idea? Thanks.

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  1. If she lives near a Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, maybe a gift certificate with a pamphlet of their cooking class offerings? That way, she can purchase equipment from the store if she likes, or if she's inclined, take a class on how to make something new.

    1. My sister once gave me a gift certificate to a one day class at the Institute for Culinary Education. You could look into something like that. She gave me a certificate for any single class so that I could choose.

      If you want to give an actual item, I think these slate cheese boards and coasters from Brooklyn Slate company are really simple, clean, and beautiful for presentation/ entertaining. http://www.brooklynslate.com/

      1. does she like sushi, and does she make it at home?

        1. These are the things I'd love to have: food mill, pasta machine, Bialetti Moka.

          1. when you say she has all the basics I assume you mean things like food processor, mixer, knives, bowls, etc . . . . .

            I love getting fun/unusual ingredients . . .

            really good balsamic
            salts (smoked, pink, grey, fleur de sel, etc)
            Tahitian vanilla beans
            flours (King Arthur has lots, I love the french flower and the italian "00" flour for breads and pasta/pizza respectively)
            a gift certificate to D'Artangnan (game meats and lots of fun "European" stuff)
            a gift certificate to Rancho Gordo (awesome beans)

            Depending on what type of food she cooks there are other equipment things that are "fun" to have

            a really good mandolin
            a chinois strainer
            past maker (or attachment if she has a kitchenaide - I love my pasta roller attachments)
            le creuset (love them)

            If she entertains

            I can never have enough platters of all shapes and sizes. I now buy 3 of any kind that I get. Mine are almost exclusively all white which makes mixing and matching very easy.

            If you can give me a little more to go on I'm sure I can come up with more ideas. . . . . .

            7 Replies
            1. re: thimes

              I'm not a huge fan of gift certificates, but that is just me. I am leaning away from gifting food because I would find it a more lasting gift if it was something you could use multiple times. On the other hand if there is a 'bacon of the month club' she would like that for sure. She is a definate mid-western home cook so I want to get her something she will actually use. Going in another direction I was thinking of some culinary inspired t-shirts a la "I heart bacon' or something.

              Thanks again.

              1. re: mikey031

                Honestly, this kind of stuff is so personal, it might be best to just ask her. I spent a long time picking out my food mill, and I would have been a little bit disappointed if someone gifted me a different one. Don't get me wrong, any gift is appreciated, but depending on what she plans to use these things for, she might not really want the exact item you pick out, but would possibly feel too guilty to exchange it or buy something similar in addition (e.g., she wants a le creuset to make oblong roasts in, but you get her a smallish round one).

                If people like to be surprised in your family, maybe you could at least subtly float the idea of whatever it is and see how she reacts.

                1. re: mikey031

                  Ruhlman's Charcuterie and a slab of pork belly? She can have a crack at making her own bacon.

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    I love to receive gift certificates, but I'm still a little squeamish about giving them--weird, huh? Love to comparison shop with 'em--oh, but I'm talking about gift certificates/gift cards that can be used at various stores, like an Am Ex card. That way I'm not locked into, say W.S. and their nutty prices.

                  2. re: mikey031

                    mikey031 - there *is* a bacon of the month club. I recommend the one from Zingermann's in Ann Arbor MI (they will ship). A friend just raves about the bacon he gets from them.

                    1. re: Niki in Dayton

                      +1 on the Zingerman's. Look online at their catalog, Zingermans.com You said she was a midwest cook. Is she anywhere near MI? They have hands on baking classes that are great and would make a nice gift.

                    2. re: mikey031

                      thinkgeek.com has bacon gifts
                      and zazzle.com has all kinds of stuff as well

                      if u want actual bacon as a gift Nueskes is reallly goood

                      or a bacon explosion from bbqaddicts.com