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Stocking Stuffer Idea for Cooks

I know many CHers are familiar with this product, but I wanted to recommend the Lansky knife sharpener as a great stocking stuffer.

Given the affordability and awesomeness of this sharpener, any cook would be happy to find this in their stocking. I've mentioned it to several friends who have asked for the link.

And no. I am not a paid rep for the company. It's a good product, period.

http://www.amazon.com/Lansky-PS-MED01...

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  1. Kitchen tongs of various lengths.

    Bamboo skewers.

    Antique hour glass egg timers.

    Poultry shears.

    Instant read meat thermometer.

    The challenge is keeping things relatively inexpensive and able to fit in your average stocking.

    1. Small whisk
      Microplane
      Measuring spoons

      1. http://www.amazon.com/True-Fabricatio...

        this corkscrew has been the stocking stuffer most appreciated by my gift list each year and it's a beauty, affordable and accommodates lefties & righties.

        8 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Wow. I think I'll have to get one for us too. Thanks!

          1. re: sandiasingh

            My pleasure. First rule of stocking stuffer: one goes to the host..for testing purposes of course!

            1. re: HillJ

              You can tell a lot about a person by their corkscrew!

              1. re: Gloriaa

                Ha! What style do you prefer :)

                1. re: HillJ

                  I waitresses for many years so I like the simple corkscrews like the one you posted. I hate the big cumbersome 'easy' ones.

                  1. re: Gloriaa

                    Gloriaa, that's a wonderful endorsement :)

          2. Silicone oven mitts, veggie pealers, wood spoons.

              1. Cheese paper

                Pre-cut foil squares

                WaxTex waxed paper sandwich bags

                (I have a brother who wants only consumables in his stocking; thus the emphasis on the above)

                But he did really like the serrated peeler I threw in last year.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Pwmfan

                  I had to look up cheese paper - I'm going to get some for DH for his stocking. :)

                  1. re: jujuthomas

                    It's wonderful, a must for a cheese fan.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      How is it different from waxed paper?

                  2. re: Pwmfan

                    I agree on the serrated peeler. The Messermeister is about $6. I've used mine for a decade; it still peels tomatoes and peaches with ease.

                    The "mayoknife" is a couple bucks worth of cheap plastic that is just the ticket for getting mayo, peanut butter, and condiments out of jars with frustrating shoulder and base contours.
                    Also very cheap:
                    - a cheese slicer that is about the size of a ruler, with a wire going halfway down either side, one for very thin slices, the other for about 1/8" thickness.
                    - Boerner potato grater, another plastic thing about 3x8". It is ideal for latkes: one side makes shreds, the other purees the potato for the perfect mixture. Mine's from at least 15 yrs ago but only cost $2 then.
                    - Silicone sleeve for pan handles. Slide it on before removing a hot pan from the oven. I purposely chose a red one and leave it on until the pan cools down.

                  3. silicone basting brush
                    fancy sea salt
                    pastry server in the tableware pattern choice of the recipient
                    Thermapen - I know it is pricey, but that's what I want in my stocking!
                    top quality chili powder
                    handmade wooden spoon

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      You deserve a Thermapen. In a very self serving move, I got my husband a Thermapen for Fathers Day. I love it.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        You know, I could get one for Mr. Sueatmo--for the grill, of course! tcamp you have inspired me.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I gifted one to the Dude many years ago. Oddly, it's home is in the drawer to the left of my range, rather than across the kitchen in the drawer where his grilling tools reside. I'm left-handed, how convenient is that?

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            Make sure to get their new backlit ones. Will probably be helpful when using the grill at night. I added a glow in the dark magnetic boot to mine so it can hang on the side of my fridge.

                            1. re: PrinceZuko

                              For me it was well worth the couple extra dollars for the backlit model as I can even read it outside at night without my reading glasses.

                              1. re: Tom34

                                The only things worse than buying one therma pen is buying two. My daughter thought that she should soak it in a big glass of water.

                                1. re: Gloriaa

                                  That kind of sucks. The new ones are water resistant but I don't know if they would survive a prolonged submersion.

                                  1. re: Gloriaa

                                    Mine died from moisture, too. We sent it back to thermoworks and for about $30 it came back fixed, as good as new. So much cheaper than buying a new one.

                                    Call them. They've got great customer service. Mine was fixed last year, when it was about 10 yrs old.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      I live in Canada so shipping back became problematic but I did try and they could not fix it. I like it but do not love it as much as others. I use it more for bread making, custard and candy making than for meat. It has let me down when making roasts...

                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                        Gloriaa - I agree, I have a thermapen and don't love it as much as others do for meat. Maybe it's me but I just haven't found it to be reliable or particularly helpful. It's been a frustrating experience.

                          2. re: sueatmo

                            Sea salt is a great idea. My grocery store has all kinds of fancy salts in bulk, so I have done the little bags of all different kinds before.

                          3. Hi, sandia:

                            That sharpener looks great for $10.

                            I would add:

                            A top-quality ecumoire/skimmer;
                            An instant-read thermometer
                            A pentola for pasta and vegetables
                            A tall SS cannister to hold tongs, spatulae, etc. stoveside
                            A salt pig
                            A microplane

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Great list. Don't know what I'd do without my salt pig! And a microplane is a must.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                i thought a pentola was a pot????

                                that's some big stocking santa's got!

                                1. re: rmarisco

                                  If, at first, it will not fit, pantyhose! Given enough time, I can fit a La Cornue into a pair.

                                  'Pentola'... In Italian, perhaps colina or scolapiatti would be more accurate. But a steamer is called a 'pentola per cottura a vapore'. In popular American culinary usage, it's the pot *and* the strainer insert. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc... I just use the term for the insert. Mi dispiace.

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

                              2. I just love my mini silicone spatula and spoonula set. I use them daily. And, they are small and inexpensive for a stocking stuffer.

                                I bought them at WS. They even have holiday editions.

                                1. One year, as gifts, made SEVERAL herb blend mixes... rubs and seasonings. Easy to make and relatively inexpensive... unless you go fro supermarket herbs.

                                  1. This year I'm giving small bottles of white balsamic vinegar that I got in Italy. Last year, I made vanilla.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: tcamp

                                      Couple of years ago I made gift bags of frozen homemade sausage and bread. Last year it was a dozen homemade egg rolls and Ming Tsai's recipe for Chinese mustard. Food gifts are the best. Everyone loves them and it makes me feel good.

                                      1. re: sandiasingh

                                        Very nice ideas! I love food gifts (more than kitchen essential gifts) myself. I've never tried making egg rolls as a gift though, interesting!

                                    2. Sort of related but not really: I'm Jewish, DH is not, so we do a "holiday medley" that includes both trees and menorahs. I was not comfortable with having a stocking... I have an oven mitt instead. :)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: truman

                                        Oven mitt is a clever substitute! I may steal that :)

                                          1. re: truman

                                            Pantyhose hold more than an oven mitt. Just sayin...

                                          2. A membership to Eat Your Books (.com). The note or card to announce it can be sized to fit the stocking in question <g>...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ellabee

                                              Great idea. Love EYB, use it all the time.

                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                That is a great idea. I may find one in my stocking this year.

                                              2. No one ever really has enough spatulas!

                                                1. I just got a "Solutions" catalog it had nice looking spoons, plastic with deep bowls and thin handles. If DH took suggestions, a marked catalog would land on his desk. As it is, I'm just going to order some.

                                                  http://solutions.blair.com/p/indoors/...

                                                  they also have cheese bags in this catalog.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                    Juju, I think this is just what I have been looking for to stir muffin batters, etc. I have a large collection of wooden spoons, but the batter can be very stiff and the spoons nearly break off. I went to the restaurant supply store the other day and couldn't find anything there either (that fits my hand).

                                                    I will order one of these and see if it does the trick.

                                                    Thanks for posting!

                                                    1. re: sandiasingh

                                                      I hope it works for you! I think I'm going to order 3... I've had several spoons lately suffer from catastrophic failures, and remaining one has the stupid huge "ergonomic" handle.

                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                        I have somewhat small hands and it's hard to find large restaurant quality spoons without a huge big ol' handle. These look very lightweight too.

                                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                                          Juju, my spoon arrived a couple of weeks ago and it's perfect for stirring heavy muffin or bread doughs with no fear of it breaking off. I also ordered a couple of those "Baggy Racks" that hold a ziplock bag while you pour. I make all of my broths/stocks for freezing, so they will come in very handy.

                                                          Thanks again for the heads-up!

                                                      2. re: jujuthomas

                                                        These are great -- I have put similar spoons in my (grown) kids' stockings (and a few in my utensil drawer). As Sandia said above, they are great for stirring batter (they just feel right).

                                                        I also recommend these http://www.amazon.com/Jospeh-Red-Magn... (very odd that Amazon has them at widely different prices depending on color) This is a handy little spoon to stick to the range hood or the side of the washer -- it has a tablespoon and teaspoon with 1/2 marked for each, and a magnet built in that will never fall off.

                                                        and these
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-1178-Gri... This is a great blender/pastry fork, and also works for scrambled eggs, browning hamburger, etc.

                                                        My daughter had some of these on her list: http://www.woodspoon.com/lazyspoon.aspx I love wooden spoons, and a real hardwood spoon (not pine, not bamboo) is a treasure.

                                                        Homemade vanilla is sooo easy and fun. Order some vanilla beans online, and start a batch now. It will be ready to bottle up (make some cool labels) by Christmas. I gave mine in Grolsch bottles with labels printed on the laser printer, with some "refill" beans to add later (recipient to provide his/her own refill vodka). I use my vanilla all the time; it just gets better with time.

                                                        1. An angle cube. It will probably get others to learn to sharpen their knives properly. Basically training wheels for sharpening newbies so others can teach themselves to sharpen at the right angle.

                                                          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/anglecu...

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: PrinceZuko

                                                            The knife sharpening geeks in my family will love this!

                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                Thermapen has an online sale through Nov. 6, $85 each if you buy 2 or more, and a free oven thermometer for a qualifying order. Personally, I consider a thermapen too pricey to be a stocking stuffer, but at least this saves a bit.

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  Yeah, I would love to get a stocking filled with such items :-)

                                                              2. I have this Oxo brownie spatula, my daughter has already asked for one for Christmas.

                                                                http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Brownie-Spa...

                                                                1. I saw something I need/want as a stocking stuffer yesterday. Melissa Clark was using a spatula like this in a NYT video:

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

                                                                  I realize now that my current spatulas are wholly inadequate.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                    AKA "fish spatula". And yes, you do need one -- nothing better for crab cakes, fritters, etc. Gets under them easily and gives control when turning over. Big flat ones have their uses, but there are a whole lot of things for which this is *the* tool.

                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                      Saw those at the restaurant supply store the other day. I think I need one too.

                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                        I have one, and seldom use it. I get less splatter and easy turning using my 2 vintage Ecko spatulas. One is nicely flex-y, the other is somewhat stiff. It's a great combo.

                                                                        Plus, I like vintage you can use.

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                          I love my Wusthof fish spatula:
                                                                          http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof...
                                                                          This is the one recommended by Cook's Illustrated. I use my Ateco straight spatula for smaller things such as scallops though.

                                                                          Though for tin lined copper and nonstick pans, I use a Matfer Bourgeat. I got the red one. http://www.amazon.com/MATFER-BOURGEAT...

                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                            I love my fish spatual -- they are great for cast iron skillets -- you want a spatula that's nice and straight (flat) on the end, rathery than curved, to help keep your skillet's seasoning.

                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                              That one looks useful! I bought an Onieda fish spatula with a metal handle and nylon spatula so as not to scratch my pans. The nylon part was too thick to slide under delicate foods and tore everything up. Totally useless.

                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                I ordered one just like this on amazon this afternoon. I don't have any good metal spatulas (I had a putty knife that I LOVED grow feet and walk away), and for the last few months, I've been using an offset spatula, the kind you use to frost cakes.

                                                                              2. Smoked olive oil from La Tienda. Pricy but so crazy delicious. Salad or finishing oil, not for cooking.

                                                                                http://www.tienda.com

                                                                                1. In addition to the "original" microplane that seems to be commonplace now, I highly recommend:

                                                                                  The microplane medium ribbon two-way grater (http://www.amazon.com/Microplane-3800...)

                                                                                  The microplane professional series large shaver (http://www.amazon.com/Microplane-3800...

                                                                                  )

                                                                                  These products work just as swell as the "original" microplane grater that seems to be in a lot of kitchen drawers now. And this is off-topic but their foot care items are also highly recommended!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                    Having visions of someone mistaking a 'foot care item' for a misplaced kitchen implement & replacing it neatly in a kitchen drawer ... hope I won't have a nightmare about this tonight! 8-/

                                                                                  2. A little big for a stocking stuffer, but last year I got DH an iGrill - a thermometer setup for the grill that connects to your phone via bluetooth.
                                                                                    http://www.idevicesinc.com/iGrill/

                                                                                    1. This is a great list!

                                                                                      My favorite small gift is the dough whisk -- I have two and use them all the time!

                                                                                      What do you think would make excellent gifts for the charcoal grill enthusiast?

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: lazy_lurker

                                                                                        ooohh... could you please start that as another thread? i'd like to get a lot of ideas from others as my DH has a big green egg and i'm always searching for useful items.

                                                                                        1. re: lazy_lurker

                                                                                          as I mentioned earlier, an igrill is a great tool for the griller. DH also got great use out of his thermapen, until he set it in a puddle of water. zzzttt... no more thermapen.

                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                            My Thermapen drowned, too. Well, maybe drowned is a bit strong. It got damp.

                                                                                            Anyway, I called Thermoworks and discussed the issue with them. Bottom line, for $25 + shipping my pen was sent back to me in working order. No problems since. I highly recommend Thermoworks for excellent customer service.

                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                              IF I ever spend the money to get him another one, I will keep that in mind.. ;) right now he's content with an inexpensive one I found at the QVC outlet.

                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                Did they upgrade you to the newer more water resistant housing?

                                                                                          2. This isn't on my wish list, because I already bought it for myself! But I used it this past weekend, and I highly recommend it for an inexpensive stocking stuffer. I used the "ChopStir" for bulk Italian sausage, but I'm sure it would be great for ground beef, too. http://www.amazon.com/Harold-Imports-.... It worked much better than the usual two wooden spoons I use!