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Suggestions for a housewarming cookware gift in the the $150 range?

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Some good friends bought a house and I want to give them a housewarming gift for their kitchen. They love to cook and appreciate good quality goods, but I don't know what they have so I don't want it to be too specialized.

I was thinking of this Le Creuset:


I'm not sure if it will be that useful. I love my 5.5qt one, but it seems like the 3.5qt oval is used for different things. Any suggestions for a nice cookware gift or feedback on the utility of the french oven would be much appreciated!

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  1. $150, you are generous for housewarming.

    That Le Creuset looks nice, but it is a bit small, so it may not get used very often. More important, make sure they don't have a similar cookware already.

    What about a good Chef knife? :) I like knives

    Or a good cutting board?

    Or a collection of good spices?

    I do have an idea which will not go into waste, but it is not cookware. A nice bottle of Scotch :D As long as your friend like alcohol, it will be great. It is consumable, so even if they already have a bottle or two, they will get to drink yours -- unlike cookware. Scotch also last for a long time, unlike wines.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      A good bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream.

    2. How about a good heavy Boos cutting board? A lot of folks won't spring for that on their own (too expensive) and opt for grocery store boards as needed. With care, it should last a lifetime.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dcrb

        Good point. Another thing I like about a good Boos cutting board (bought from a reputable store) is that the recipient can return it -- if it comes to that. Although a custom cutting board is great too, I don't think you can simply return one. So I will stick with these big company items.

      2. Gift card. Depending on the neighborhood, Walmart, Macey's, Williams-Sonoma.

        1. arvi, you could go to the LC outlet store and maybe get lucky on something bigger for $150. I got a 6.75 wide round for 159.95. so ya never know.

          1. Hi, arvi:

            "...I don't know what they have so I don't want it to be too specialized. "

            Ah, there's the rub. I have criticized others' advice here to get gift certificates as being soulless, but unless you have *some* idea of what they're into--and what they don't have--you'd be taking big risks of zonking out.

            Still, IMO it would also be uber-soulless to simply default to a W-C or SLT gift certificate. On the other hand, if they live anywhere near a good indie cook's/kitchen store (especially one that offers cooking classes), *that* might be just the ticket. Who knows? You might just find an owner/manager who will agree in advance to spend an hour with them in order to find out what they'd value/need most.


            2 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              Agree!! Sorry for being blunt, but if you're asking for ideas on a public forum, you probably should get your friend a gift card. I'd hate to suggest anything else without knowing the recipient first.

              In either case, I cook for two and I have a soft spot for small pots. This Black Friday I got myself a 23cm oval Staub, equiv to 2.5qt I think? It is perfect for one lamb shank for one meal. I'm pretty sure I can fit 2 in there if I wanted. *heart*

              1. re: cutipie721

                I heartily agree gift cards are soulless. But sometimes they do fill a need.

                Gift giving gone bad. Mom and I watched the available cooking shows, primarily Julia Child. She would try various recipies and I figured the perfect Christmas gift in 1970 would be some cook books. Trader Vics, far east, and middle east. My mother blew up. How dare I. Wasn't her cooking good enough? Was I bored with what she put on the table? Etc. This in the middle of opening gifts.

                Cooking lessons? I was given that one year. Turned out she really wanted the recipie and techniques for his wonderful truffles. And she had badgered him so often for it, she knew she would not get it if she attended the class. I would much rather it have been for something I wanted and had told her about. Baking.

                Housewarming gifts past booze or a restaurant gift certificate are tough. I wish you the best of luck and please respond with your decision and the results.


            2. I just purchased a Staub oval roasting dish from SLT for under $100. It's got their beautiful colors and I think would make a great gift.

              1. Does it have to be cookware? Why Le Creuset if you don't know what they have?

                Do they like truffles?

                A Dean & DeLuca stainless steel truffle shaver from Italy ($20) and some fresh black truffles (available year round). Maybe some white truffle oil (about $10 for 1.75 oz.).



                1. If you're open to ideas beyond cookware and your good friends are into wine, a Vinturi Deluxe Aerator Set ($65) and Italian leather wine log and wine journal ($100):



                  1. The problem with giving a kitchen tool of significant expense to serious cooks is that they may be very particular about what they like.

                    Even though I like Scotch, that's not what I would give them. And certainly not Bristol Cream!

                    So, give them the ingredients for Spanish Garlic Shrimp with Sherry, and cook it for them:


                    So you need to take them a pound of medium fresh shrimp, a box of kosher salt, a bottle of nice olive oil for cooking, unsalted butter (I like to get it in 1 lb bricks), fresh garlic, Manzanilla sherry, Italian parsley, and red chiles. The recipe calls for dried chiles, but I like fresh Fresnos, slivered.

                    You also need a nice serving dish, bread, and a bottle of cava. Then make it for them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: GH1618

                      GH1618, ditto.

                      I like your suggestion. Warm and personal. Memorable.

                      Luckily I haven't received anything from Pampered Chef :)

                    2. I love my 3.5 Le Creuset and think it is a wonderful gift. I use my 3.5 size more than my larger one. Mine is round and thus fits my induction burner well. I think it is a wonderful gift. good luck.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mscoffee1

                        I have 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5. I use the 4.5 most (single person). I recommend round rather than oval, too.

                      2. Thank you all so much for your responses! I really appreciate hearing all these ideas since I usually just give a nice bottle of wine for housewarmings. I had thought about giving a gift card, but they're the kind of people who prefer a gift to a gift card, so I wanted to buy something and thought cookware would be more useful than some decorative home item. Whatever I do buy, I will definitely get a gift receipt so they would be able to exchange it.

                        I initially considered a Le Creuset item because they are both pretty and useful (and I love them), but now I'm certainly going to consider everyone's suggestions. Unfortunately, I can't make it to their house to make them dinner, but it is a great idea. Fortunately my friends are big believers in "its the thought that counts," so even if I get something they find utterly useless they'll probably appreciate the gesture and be able to exchange it for something worthwhile.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: arvi

                          I disagree with everyone who thinks a small Le Creuset is too specialized, but I disagree more with the concept that every gift has to be perfect and picked out by the recipient. A gift is supposed to show thoughfulness and that you have taken notice of the recipient. Isn't that the main point of gift giving?

                          "Fortunately my friends are big believers in "its the thought that counts," so even if I get something they find utterly useless they'll probably appreciate the gesture"


                          Get the Le Creuset in a pretty color, I'll bet they use it. A small pot is a small pot, perfect for side dishes or meals for two.

                        2. Spices. A nice collection of spices is a nice gift if you know that they like to play but not with what. A Penzy's gift box would be fabulous, Dean and Deluca's, Williams Sonoma.....

                          1. You might also consider a gift of food--we once got a gift of gourmet cheeses (a variety of 3-4 each month for 3 months) and really enjoyed it. Of course we are known cheese lovers.

                            1. You know, all the gifts below are wonderful. But I think the gift I remember most was a set of Penzey's spices. You could select a nice box of them, given your price range. And maybe to throw in a curveball, Tom Douglas makes some amazing BBQ rubs. I am sure they can be ordered off his web site.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Westy

                                I like the Penzey's idea.

                                We were given a housewarming gift from a business associate that shared our love of good food and cooking. It was a lovely little roasting pan but it was so small, it was useless. It has travelled all over the house for the past ten years, standing in as a cat food dish, a change dish, an ashtray, etc. So I think size does matter when it comes to cooking pans.

                                1. re: Westy

                                  Does Penzey's still put loose spices in their gift boxes? They used too, and the presentation was quite unique.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I believe so. I agree. it made it that much mroe like a set.