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Perfect Gift for A Food-Lover: What cookbooks and other gourmet goodies are on your wish list this year?

After the tremendous popularity of the “not-so-perfect” gift for a food-lover thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7518...

I thought it would be fun to start a new thread to hear what food related finds and culinary delights folks are coveting this year.

Are there cookbooks you just must have? A special cutting board or serving dish? What about cookware, kitchen electrics, gadgets or gourmet ingredients?

‘Tis the season for sharing, what’s on your wish list this year?

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  1. Practical stuff that virtually any home cook can use: Years ago I went to a kitchen supply and bought a box of 1000 full sheet pan-sized parchment sheets because I hate fighting the curling tendency of parchment rolls. This being way more than a lifetime's worth, I have included parchment bundles in gifts for friends who cook and bake.
    I gently folded them around one of those flexible cutting mats, which cost only a few dollars but are useful. For people like me, who like to cook and have decent knives but are not adept at sharpening, and unlikely to have professional sharpening done, those little egg-shaped sharpeners which can be screwed onto a cabinet are useful and do a decent job, but must be replaced after a couple of years, depending on frequency of use. Another thing I'd put in a kitchen gift bag (for which I'd use a reusable grocery tote) is one of those aerosol fire extinguishers that's about the size of a large can of hairspray.

    Some unique, affordable grocery totes and other kitchen stuff can be found on www.etsy.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      I love those pre-cut sheets of parchment paper. I've gotten a big roll of them from King Arthur.

      You can also get cake-pan sized sheets different places. Then there's one less thing to do when you're in the middle of baking.

      1. re: greygarious

        The fire extinguisher is a good idea. I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, but I've had it for more than 20 years and never used it ... and I doubt it would work now. But giving a fire extinguisher to a cook might be perceived as an insult... like giving someone penicillin because you know they're going to need it!

        1. re: drongo

          I think a fire extinguisher expresses concern for the recipient's safety. It's not like giving a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. For that matter, a cookbook could be perceived as an insult, unless specifically requested, by an overly-sensitive recipient.

        2. re: greygarious

          greygarious I love the idea of those flat, pre-cut parchment sheets. We have a restaurant supply store close by and I'll be gifting myself with these!! Thanks for sharing!!

        3. This year on my list is a mandoline and the pasta attachment for my kitchen-aid. Plus I always have a ton of cookbooks on my list. I keep a "wish list" throughout the year on Amazon to send out to family and friends that request it.

          Last year my favorite gift I received was a digital timer that can keep 4 times at once.

          For generic gifts, I always appreciate various spices and condiments, as long as they're a nicer quality. One way or another they will get used. If you're somewhat familiar with their kitchen/home, a nice serving dish is always appreciated, assuming it "goes" with their style.

          10 Replies
          1. re: juliejulez

            Have you decided on a particular brand of mandoline julie? I have a Borner v-slicer at the moment and while it's good for some jobs, it doesn't give me the flexibility in slicing thickness that I'd like.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              http://www.amazon.com/Swissmar-Borner... This is the one I have on my list as it got pretty good reviews, not sure if it's the same as what you have. I mainly only want it for thin slicing, since I can do thicker stuff by hand or in my food processor pretty easily.

            2. re: juliejulez

              Love the sound of that timer. I've never seen one that can keep more than one time. I'm also going to ask for the brand please?

              1. re: LulusMom

                Here's the amazon link. There's a bit of a learning curve with it because of all the buttons and dials, but after I got used to it I really love this timer. Also when looking it up I realized I got it as a birthday gift, not Christmas, but it was a gift all the same :) http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Quad-Time...

                1. re: juliejulez

                  I can definitely see what you mean about the learning curve! Cool though, just stuck it on my wish list. Thanks for the info.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    I have this one ( http://www.amazon.com/West-Bend-40053... ) and like it so much I replaced one that a guest broke with exactly the same model. Only three, not four, different timers, but that's plenty for me. Not as modern a design, but only half the price. It's gets quite a workout at my house.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Fantastic. Thanks - it looks a bit simpler to use. It is such a brilliant idea that I can't believe I'd never even bothered to look for something like it before.

                  2. re: LulusMom

                    +1 on the timer - brialliant idea! Please share the brand name and source if possible, JJ - TIA!

                    1. re: herby

                      I did above in response to LulusMom.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        This is so cool - just ordered it along with Flavor Bible that has been sitting in my cart forever and a novel "Kitchen", how fitting :) Thanks, JJ!

                2. The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. Not sure if DH took the hint however.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    I have this and thoroughly endorse your choice. My favorite book. (Does DH need me to call him?)

                    (BTW, have you seen the thread that reviewed many of the recipes in the book? A great one.)

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      I've made the Ginger Stout cake from that book (some recipes from the book are on Epi) maplesugar and it was amazing.

                      Here's a link to some other recipes to tide you over. Maybe you should bake something from the book for your DH as a subtle reminder!!! ; - )

                      ETA: oops, I meant to add the Epi link to some recipes from the book for you:

                      http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Thanks, I've bookmarked both links :) Now I read downthread that King Arthur ships to Canada.... me thinks I may have to do some pre-holiday baking shopping.

                        1. re: maplesugar

                          Just a warning on that maplesugar (it was me who posted that below), the shipping/duty charge is a bit hefty but in the end, since I haven't seen those items here and felt the total cost was still within reason (and a little bit because I'm impatient and like to have things right away!!) I placed an order anyway!

                    2. My family doesn't do holiday gifts, so I buy myself things that are on my kitchen/cookbook wishlist. I just bought an oven thermometer and a 1/2 qt butter warmer yesterday. My upcoming purchases include: a mandoline, another silpat, knife sharpener, a mini cookie scoop, and a copy of An Everlasting Meal.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: calmossimo

                        I love my silpats calmossimo, you can't ever have enough of them IMHO!! Have you decided on a brand of mandoline? This is on my list too.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Me too, and I particularly love the extra-large mat from King Arthur Flour that's made for rolling out pie dough.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            Oooh, what a great idea roxlet! I'll keep an eye out for these when I'm in the US next month.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              I got mine from the KA website, but it seems to me I might have seen a similar one at either Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma, though I wouldn't want to bet on it.

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Is this it roxlet?

                                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                Somehow I imagined it being marked w circles for various pie sizes...

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  This is it, and it's marked with circles:

                                  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

                                  And I particularly love that it has a ruler along the edge!

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    roxlet thanks so much, I've ordered one and some of the flat single sheet parchment paper! So excited to see they ship to Canada.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      I can't be without that flat parchment. I always have a package on hand, and I get nervous when I start running low!

                            2. re: roxlet

                              Yes, I have that extra large one too and it really comes in handy. Would make a great gift.

                        2. I am hoping that Santa brings me the boxed set of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I don't have any of the classics and I've been on a Julia Child kick lately!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Brazendame

                            Her beef bourguignon is a thing of joy!

                            1. re: hambone

                              That's one of the recipes I'm super excited to make!

                            2. I have been thinking about getting a sodastream for a few years, but am not sure how much I'd use it and whether I should invest in one. It would make a great Christmas gift, though! Jerusalem, the cookbook, is also on my list.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: pavlova

                                I gave my husband a SodaStream several years ago, and it is one of the best things we ever bought! We've always been big seltzer drinkers, and it's wonderful to be able to make it on demand. We use it so much that we actually have 5 of the gas canisters, and fill them all up every couple of months. We adore it.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Friends I stayed with in Seattle had a SodaStream. I was intrigued, and tempted, at first but it seemed to me it didn't hold the carbonation very long. It was great when you first made it, but after sitting in the fridge for a few hours the fizz was mostly gone. I gather you don't have that problem.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    No, we don't have that problem at all. We have the penguin, which comes with glass bottles and a very secure lid. In fact, the seltzer we made before we went away for 4 days was still fizzy when we got back.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      I gave my mother a SodaStream a few years ago, and she hasn't found this to be a real issue. An opened bottle will be less fizzy the next day, but still carbonated. It may be a function of how highly carbonated you make it in the first place, something that is at your discretion. My mother does a reasonably, though not maximally, strong carbonation. It also apparently makes a difference if you chill the water before carbonating; starting with cold water holds the carbonation better.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        That's very interesting about chilling the water first. My friends didn't do that. And if I'm not mistaken, my friends' bottles were plastic, not glass. I may reconsider if I can figure out a place for it to live in my little kitchen. I do like seltzer and used to have one of those large, wire-caged bottles that you put a CO2 cartridge into. I loved the seltzer, but the bottle was unwieldy.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          I think all the models except the Penguin have plastic bottles, and my mother's does. She fills up the bottles as soon as they're emptied and puts them in the fridge so they're cold for next time (she uses it every day).

                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          You're right about chilling the water. Upper shelf has carbonated bottles, lower shelf had chilling water.

                                      2. re: roxlet

                                        Okay, now I'm really intrigued! Will update my Christmas list and ask for the one that takes glass bottles.

                                      3. re: pavlova

                                        Get the Sodastream! You'll wonder how you lived without it.

                                      4. The time has finally come for me: I want a KitchenAid stand mixer. And luckily, mr, gator actually prefers that I just tell him what I want. Smaller gifts on my list are new potholders, and a book, My Bombay Kitchen.
                                        A gift I'm excited to give will be a mishmash box of kitchen essentials to my brother. He's a bachelor, just bought a new house, and is getting in to cooking quite a bit. But some of his pots and pans and gadets are old hand me downs. I'm going to take an inventory, buy some stuff and make up a box of things he needs the most as his Xmas/housewarming gift. Along with a lower priced (but all matching) set of dinnerware.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: alliegator

                                          Really, seriously, check out the KA discussions on Cookware. There seems to be a consensus that the vintage ones, made in America by Hobart, are superior to the new ones. There's always heavy bidding on the vintage ones on eBay. I got mine cheaply, which was a stroke of luck. I included Hobart in my "save this search" terms and a clueless seller described it as a "Hobart dough maker" so nobody else found it. Winning bids are usually around $125-150 before shipping, which runs around $25..

                                          1. re: alliegator

                                            I got that book from the library and really enjoyed it. I actually didn't make anything savoury, but I did make quite a bit from the dessert chapter. Almost everything there contained cardamom, so it was right up my alley. I hope you find it under the tree!

                                            1. re: alliegator

                                              A KA Xmas is always a holiday to remember. Great book too, one of my favorites.

                                            2. I just sharpened a handful of knives for a friend on my Chef's Choice 130. A great gift for anyone who enjoys time in the kitchen because dull knives suck.

                                              In that vein, a ceramic knife is a great tool for a smaller budget.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: hambone

                                                A great idea. Sharp knives are always so appreciated.

                                                1. re: karykat

                                                  The 130 is pretty close to fool proof, too. I have a wet grinder in my basement for my woodworking tools (chisels and the such) but I still love the Chef's Choice in the kitchen. It doesn't take a lot of counter real estate so you can leave it out and just a swipe or two on the #3 wheel and you're good to go.

                                                  1. re: hambone

                                                    I have the CC130 as well and totally agree, it does an amazing job. It's such a treat to have sharp knives all the time.

                                              2. I really need a new potato peeler, not that I use it too often but over Thanksgiving I realized mine has seen better days. Hope there is one in my stocking!
                                                I'd also love to get any of the below:
                                                disposable decorating bags
                                                parchment sheets
                                                cupcake cases
                                                Penzey's vanilla extract (double strength)
                                                vanilla beans
                                                saffron
                                                a couple of Pyrex pie plates (a few have disappeared this year, thanks to my mother no doubt)
                                                KA meat grinder attachment. I've wanted it for a long time.

                                                And if a bottle of Penfold's Grange shows up under the tree, there will be no complaints :)

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                  Think about the Messermeister serrated vegetable peeler. It shaves extremely thin peels so reduces waste, and goes through tomato and peach skins like a hot knife through butter. It was a Cook's Illustrated pick some years back, and gets raves from Jacques Pepin as well. Under $10.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    Thanks for the tip... just added it to my Amazon "Wish List" for stocking stuffers.

                                                2. Kitchen shears. And, if your lovie already has those, my request this Christmas is poultry shears.

                                                  As a cookbook collector and reade, find out the gift receiver's most love book or cooking style.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                    I never realized how handy a pair of kitchen shears are until my mother brought me some when she came to visit. Now I don't think I could live without them.