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

Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 08:31 AM

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


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. greygarious RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 10:53 AM

    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
      karykat RE: greygarious Nov 24, 2012 12:56 PM

      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
        drongo RE: greygarious Nov 24, 2012 01:57 PM

        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
          greygarious RE: drongo Nov 24, 2012 03:29 PM

          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
          Breadcrumbs RE: greygarious Nov 25, 2012 09:28 AM

          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. juliejulez RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 01:38 PM

          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
            Breadcrumbs RE: juliejulez Nov 25, 2012 09:35 AM

            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
              juliejulez RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 10:20 AM

              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
              LulusMom RE: juliejulez Nov 27, 2012 09:36 AM

              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
                juliejulez RE: LulusMom Nov 27, 2012 10:43 AM

                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
                  LulusMom RE: juliejulez Nov 27, 2012 11:58 AM

                  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
                    JoanN RE: juliejulez Nov 27, 2012 02:36 PM

                    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
                      LulusMom RE: JoanN Nov 27, 2012 03:47 PM

                      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
                    herby RE: LulusMom Nov 27, 2012 01:46 PM

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

                    1. re: herby
                      juliejulez RE: herby Nov 27, 2012 01:45 PM

                      I did above in response to LulusMom.

                      1. re: juliejulez
                        herby RE: juliejulez Nov 27, 2012 02:34 PM

                        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. maplesugar RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 03:15 PM

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

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar
                    karykat RE: maplesugar Nov 24, 2012 07:11 PM

                    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
                      Breadcrumbs RE: maplesugar Nov 25, 2012 09:36 AM

                      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:


                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                        maplesugar RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 06:59 PM

                        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
                          Breadcrumbs RE: maplesugar Nov 25, 2012 07:03 PM

                          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. c
                      calmossimo RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 03:54 PM

                      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
                        Breadcrumbs RE: calmossimo Nov 25, 2012 09:38 AM

                        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
                          roxlet RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 09:45 AM

                          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
                            Breadcrumbs RE: roxlet Nov 25, 2012 10:01 AM

                            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
                              roxlet RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 11:54 AM

                              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
                                Breadcrumbs RE: roxlet Nov 25, 2012 12:03 PM

                                Is this it roxlet?


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

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                  roxlet RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 02:14 PM

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


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

                                  1. re: roxlet
                                    Breadcrumbs RE: roxlet Nov 25, 2012 02:45 PM

                                    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
                                      roxlet RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 02:53 PM

                                      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
                              karykat RE: roxlet Nov 25, 2012 11:18 AM

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

                        2. b
                          Brazendame RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 24, 2012 07:53 PM

                          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
                            hambone RE: Brazendame Nov 25, 2012 09:08 AM

                            Her beef bourguignon is a thing of joy!

                            1. re: hambone
                              Brazendame RE: hambone Nov 25, 2012 11:01 AM

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

                            2. re: Brazendame
                              Breadcrumbs RE: Brazendame Nov 25, 2012 09:40 AM


                            3. p
                              pavlova RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 05:25 AM

                              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
                                roxlet RE: pavlova Nov 25, 2012 09:49 AM

                                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
                                  JoanN RE: roxlet Nov 26, 2012 05:19 PM

                                  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
                                    roxlet RE: JoanN Nov 26, 2012 05:29 PM

                                    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
                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: JoanN Nov 26, 2012 05:34 PM

                                      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
                                        JoanN RE: Caitlin McGrath Nov 26, 2012 05:47 PM

                                        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
                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: JoanN Nov 26, 2012 06:36 PM

                                          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
                                          roxlet RE: Caitlin McGrath Nov 26, 2012 07:28 PM

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

                                      2. re: roxlet
                                        pavlova RE: roxlet Nov 26, 2012 08:31 PM

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

                                      3. re: pavlova
                                        heidipie RE: pavlova Nov 27, 2012 04:45 PM

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

                                      4. alliegator RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 08:35 AM

                                        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
                                          greygarious RE: alliegator Nov 25, 2012 08:58 AM

                                          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
                                            pavlova RE: alliegator Nov 25, 2012 09:09 AM

                                            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
                                              rabaja RE: alliegator Nov 25, 2012 07:37 PM

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

                                            2. hambone RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 09:06 AM

                                              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
                                                karykat RE: hambone Nov 25, 2012 09:26 AM

                                                A great idea. Sharp knives are always so appreciated.

                                                1. re: karykat
                                                  hambone RE: karykat Nov 25, 2012 02:51 PM

                                                  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
                                                    Breadcrumbs RE: hambone Nov 25, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                    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. iluvcookies RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                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
                                                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
                                                  greygarious RE: iluvcookies Nov 25, 2012 07:07 PM

                                                  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
                                                    iluvcookies RE: greygarious Nov 26, 2012 05:27 PM

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

                                                2. pagesinthesun RE: Breadcrumbs Nov 25, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                  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
                                                    LulusMom RE: pagesinthesun Nov 27, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                    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.

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