A Gift Guide for the Cook in Your Life: Kitchen Gadgets & Prep Tools

gift guide gadgets and prep tools | sunsets on the side

gift guide gadgets and prep tools | sunsets on the side

The Christmas countdown is officially on.  Only two weeks left!  In case you still have some gift purchasing to do (please say you do because I am so not finished yet), and you need some ideas, I have a few gift guides coming your way for the special cooks in your life.  This first installment includes some of my very favorite gadget and food prep tools from my own kitchen.

{1} Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender (Cooking.com).  This is one of those tools that I never knew I needed until I got one, and now I can’t imagine what I ever did without it.  This hand-held blender is key for making smooth soups.  Before I had it, I was transferring hot soups over to the food processor and then back to the pot.  It was an annoying process.  Plus, after it was all over, I had a food processor to clean.  With this immersion blender, you can puree the soup right in the pot, and then the bottom comes apart and goes into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.  Love that.

{2} Peugeot 12″ Pepper Mill (Amazon).  The only time this leaves the side of my stove is when I use it to dress up my table.  It’s a beautiful piece to use for serving, but I love it because you can adjust the size of the grind, and it’s tall enough that it doesn’t require frequent refilling.

{3} Spoonula (Crate & Barrel).  You can never have too many of these.  I always find that mine are in the dishwasher, so the more the merrier!

{4} Cookie Scoops (Bed Bath & Beyond).  These are great for scooping out cookies and muffins so that they’re uniform in size, but they also make great ice cream scoops and melon ballers.

{5} Salt Box (Sur La Table).  This isn’t technically a gadget, I guess, but salting is such an important step in prepping food that I’m throwing it into this category.  I got this as a gift from a terrific friend, and I’ve had it for years.  So long, actually, that I can’t find the exact one that I have.  The one I’m linking to is almost identical; it’s just a little smaller than mine.  Sur La Table has a lot of coordinating products (olive oil bottles, utensil crocksgarlic cellars, etc.) in this collection, too, if you want to build a whole gift around this theme.

{6} Messermeister Swivel Peeler (Amazon).  You may be thinking, “um, peeler…BORING.”  But, I can assure you this is no ordinary peeler.  It’s the best peeler ever.  My mom got this for me, and it took me awhile to start using it.  I just assumed because it was new that it would be sharp (it was), and I’m usually hopeless with a peeler (read: I usually peel myself instead of the vegetable).  I don’t know if it’s because of the design or just because I was careful, but I’ve never peeled myself with this peeler.  It has a sort of loop design on the end that stops the peels from getting lodged.  In addition to using it for peeling the skin off of carrots and potatoes, I use it to make pretty ribbons and strips out of anything: zucchini, parmesan or romano cheese, and even chocolate.

{7} Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor (Overstock.com).  Everyone needs a food processor, I believe this to be true.  The one I’m linking to here is the one I’d buy if mine ever gives out.  Mine is the old-school Cuisinart 7-cup which, don’t get me wrong, I certainly recommend whole-heartedly.  It’s not very modern looking, which is why I’m leading you towards the former as a gift suggestion, but it’s a rock star, and it’s one of my most treasured kitchen tools.  I inherited it from Gram when she passed away, and I think of her every time I use it.  I’m banking on it making it through the next few decades, but if it doesn’t, I’m upgrading to the 9-cup!

{8} Flat spatula (Williams-Sonoma).  My reasoning is the same as #3.  You can’t have too many of these.  But, sometimes I need the spoon shape  and sometimes I need the flat!