We all have one (or more). Someone in your family fancies themself a foodie. These people used to be easy to buy for. Grab a copy of the latest, hottest cookbook or a new knife and you are letting this person know you’re paying attention. With almost everyone I know trying to be the next Julia or Emeril, it’s getting a little more difficult to find the perfect gift for the guy or gal with the well-stocked kitchen.
With a little research, you can get that thoughtful present, even today with little time to spare. If you do this right, the recipient will never forget you. And that’s what Christmas is all about.
For the young cook new to the game, it’s important to start them off with decent cookware. A single piece will point them in the right direction. It can get expensive, so think of this as leading by example. I remember the first piece of Calphalon I opened one Christmas. I loved the look, weight, feel and was hooked. It now takes up 80 percent of my cabinet space. All-Clad is another line that has stood the test of time.
We all need cast iron, but enameled cast iron is just as important. It boils down to two: Le Creuset and Staub. The French have the market cornered, but of the pair, we are a Staub family. I love the self-basting lids and the overall look. Le Creuset fans are equally as rabid about their products. You cannot go wrong, either way.
With “Good Eats: The Return” back on Food Network, Alton Brown imitators will be searching for gadgets. This James Bond of the studio kitchen must have his very own version of Q on his payroll. Check out goodeatsfanpage.com for Alton’s “Essential Elements” and where to get them.
Smart thermometers are certainly a useful gadget. A decent one should cost less than $100 and should have telemetry via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so you can keep up with the temperature of the meat as well as the ambient temp of your grill, smoker or oven.
For the less tech-savvy, a simple pepper or salt mill is an excellent gift. The sky is the limit as far as elegance and price go, but the safest bet is a classic shape, free from batteries and electricity. Don’t skimp too much or the recipient will remember you as the cause of a trip to the dentist when one half of a peppercorn lodged itself in an awful spot.
Many of our locally owned restaurants offer gift cards. Avoid the chains, please. Some of our hometown guys are offering incentives. For example, Heroes/The Royal Scam have a $50 gift card with a free $10 card. Most places offer gift cards. Just ask. But remember, a foodie eats local!
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
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