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Stocking Stuffer Idea for Cooks

sandiasingh Oct 24, 2013 07:52 AM

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...

  1. g
    goodeatsgal Dec 9, 2013 11:56 PM

    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!

    1. l
      lazy_lurker Dec 2, 2013 03:35 PM

      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
        rmarisco Dec 2, 2013 04:57 PM

        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
          j
          jujuthomas Dec 2, 2013 07:07 PM

          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
            DuffyH Dec 2, 2013 07:19 PM

            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
              j
              jujuthomas Dec 2, 2013 07:55 PM

              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
                t
                Tom34 Dec 3, 2013 05:52 AM

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

          2. j
            jujuthomas Nov 4, 2013 09:27 AM

            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. MrsPatmore Oct 31, 2013 07:06 PM

              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-38002-Professional-Medium-Ribbon-Two-Way/dp/B00009WE3X/ref=sr_1_9?s=kitchen&srs=2596532011&ie=UTF8&qid=1383270789&sr=1-9&keywords=microplane)

              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
                f
                foiegras Nov 3, 2013 07:48 PM

                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. n
                nemo Oct 31, 2013 02:56 PM

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

                http://www.tienda.com

                1. tcamp Oct 31, 2013 07:08 AM

                  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
                    e
                    ellabee Oct 31, 2013 01:29 PM

                    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
                      sandiasingh Oct 31, 2013 01:32 PM

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

                      1. re: tcamp
                        DuffyH Oct 31, 2013 02:17 PM

                        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
                          PrinceZuko Oct 31, 2013 02:52 PM

                          I love my Wusthof fish spatula:
                          http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof-gourmet/slotted-turner-spatula-p1687?gclid=CL6egouGwroCFZSk4Aod7xAAAQ
                          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
                            d
                            DebinIndiana Oct 31, 2013 06:01 PM

                            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
                              c
                              Cam14 Oct 31, 2013 06:09 PM

                              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
                                LaureltQ Nov 5, 2013 02:57 PM

                                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. c
                                Cam14 Oct 30, 2013 03:27 PM

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

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

                                1. t
                                  Tom34 Oct 30, 2013 12:49 PM

                                  Thermapen.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Tom34
                                    greygarious Nov 4, 2013 09:19 AM

                                    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
                                      t
                                      Tom34 Nov 4, 2013 09:43 AM

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

                                  2. w
                                    wakondatch Oct 30, 2013 12:42 PM

                                    The best and most practical wine stopper, bar none.

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Metrokane-Rabbi...

                                    1. PrinceZuko Oct 30, 2013 11:12 AM

                                      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
                                        sandiasingh Oct 31, 2013 06:28 AM

                                        The knife sharpening geeks in my family will love this!

                                      2. b
                                        BobbieSue Oct 30, 2013 10:39 AM

                                        multi-blade herb scissors

                                        1. j
                                          jujuthomas Oct 28, 2013 06:24 AM

                                          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
                                            sandiasingh Oct 28, 2013 07:55 AM

                                            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
                                              j
                                              jujuthomas Oct 28, 2013 08:18 AM

                                              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
                                                sandiasingh Oct 28, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                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
                                                  sandiasingh Dec 4, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                  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
                                                d
                                                DebinIndiana Oct 28, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                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-Magnetic-Measuring-Spoon/dp/B0028O18SY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top (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-Grip-EZ-Granny-Fork/dp/B00004RDDR/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top 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.

                                              3. c
                                                CaliforniaJoseph Oct 27, 2013 07:22 PM

                                                No one ever really has enough spatulas!

                                                1. e
                                                  ellabee Oct 26, 2013 10:09 PM

                                                  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
                                                    sandiasingh Oct 27, 2013 07:21 AM

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

                                                    1. re: ellabee
                                                      tcamp Oct 31, 2013 07:05 AM

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

                                                    2. t
                                                      truman Oct 25, 2013 12:21 PM

                                                      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
                                                        HillJ Oct 25, 2013 12:53 PM

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

                                                        1. re: truman
                                                          sandiasingh Oct 25, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                          Cool!

                                                          1. re: truman
                                                            k
                                                            kaleokahu Oct 26, 2013 07:03 PM

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

                                                          2. tcamp Oct 25, 2013 05:15 AM

                                                            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
                                                              sandiasingh Oct 25, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                              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
                                                                HillJ Oct 25, 2013 07:17 AM

                                                                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. k
                                                              kseiverd Oct 24, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                              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. pagesinthesun Oct 24, 2013 04:48 PM

                                                                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. k
                                                                  kaleokahu Oct 24, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    sandiasingh Oct 25, 2013 07:13 AM

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

                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                      rmarisco Dec 2, 2013 04:54 PM

                                                                      i thought a pentola was a pot????

                                                                      that's some big stocking santa's got!

                                                                      1. re: rmarisco
                                                                        k
                                                                        kaleokahu Dec 2, 2013 07:30 PM

                                                                        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. s
                                                                      sueatmo Oct 24, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        tcamp Oct 25, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          s
                                                                          sueatmo Oct 25, 2013 02:12 PM

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

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo
                                                                            DuffyH Oct 26, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              PrinceZuko Oct 30, 2013 10:55 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                                t
                                                                                Tom34 Oct 30, 2013 01:00 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  g
                                                                                  Gloriaa Oct 31, 2013 03:01 PM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    Tom34 Oct 31, 2013 03:06 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      DuffyH Oct 31, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        g
                                                                                        Gloriaa Nov 1, 2013 05:22 AM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          flourgirl Dec 3, 2013 05:09 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                              f
                                                                              foiegras Nov 3, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                              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. p
                                                                              Pwmfan Oct 24, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                                j
                                                                                jujuthomas Oct 25, 2013 11:10 AM

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

                                                                                1. re: jujuthomas
                                                                                  fldhkybnva Oct 31, 2013 04:16 PM

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

                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    foiegras Nov 3, 2013 08:59 AM

                                                                                    How is it different from waxed paper?

                                                                                2. re: Pwmfan
                                                                                  greygarious Dec 9, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                  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. tcamp Oct 24, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                                                  These wine stoppers:

                                                                                  http://shop.walkerart.org/collections...

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    JavaBean Oct 24, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                                    Silicone oven mitts, veggie pealers, wood spoons.

                                                                                    1. HillJ Oct 24, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        sandiasingh Oct 24, 2013 09:11 AM

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

                                                                                        1. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                          HillJ Oct 24, 2013 10:26 AM

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

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                                            g
                                                                                            Gloriaa Oct 31, 2013 02:59 PM

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

                                                                                            1. re: Gloriaa
                                                                                              HillJ Oct 31, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                                                              Ha! What style do you prefer :)

                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                g
                                                                                                Gloriaa Nov 1, 2013 05:19 AM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  HillJ Nov 5, 2013 02:59 PM

                                                                                                  Gloriaa, that's a wonderful endorsement :)

                                                                                        2. re: HillJ
                                                                                          rmarisco Dec 2, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                                                          LOVE this idea! thanks!

                                                                                          1. re: rmarisco
                                                                                            HillJ Dec 2, 2013 06:10 PM

                                                                                            My pleasure!

                                                                                        3. m
                                                                                          masha Oct 24, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                                          Small whisk
                                                                                          Microplane
                                                                                          Measuring spoons

                                                                                          1. i
                                                                                            INDIANRIVERFL Oct 24, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                                            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.

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