Through the holiday season, we'll be running a series of Gift Guides to help you choose presents for the people you care about. Here are some suggestions for friends and family members who love cooking and fine dining.
You’ve probably got a friend who obsesses over Mario Batali’s every clog-clad move, studies restaurant wine lists with the intensity of a monk poring over scripture, and can whip up a chocolate meringue cake that takes your breath away. So what to get for this culinary superstar? Here are a few holiday gifts any foodie will adore. (And if you feel compelled to pick up a few items for yourself, don’t feel guilty. They’re well worth it.)
Jim Lahey’s My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. Since New York Times columnist Mark Bittman (who authored the fantastic comprehensive cookbook, How To Cook Everything) published Lahey’s recipe in the paper three years ago, this no-knead, super-crusty bread recipe has been an Internet sensation. Speaking from personal experience (we make it all the time), it’s the best bread you’ll find outside a Parisian bakery, and so easy a 6-year-old can make it (though we’d let the adults handle anything oven-related). Lahey’s long-awaited cookbook expands on the original, with recipes for ciabatta, rye bread, pizza, and much more, as well as plenty of great sandwiches and other uses for the delicious loaf. New and experienced bakers alike will also love Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Peter Reinhart’s comprehensive The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
A KitchenAid stand mixer. In our kitchen, our KitchenAid stand mixer is the trusty workhorse we couldn’t do without. It provides a powerful, hands-free way to stir all that Christmas cookie dough, whip up cream or egg whites, mix bread dough, or handle any other mixing task imaginable, and comes in a wide array of fashionable colors to match any kitchen décor. The stand mixer is available in 4.5, 5, and 6-quart sizes. If your foodie friend’s already got one, pick up one of the optional attachments to turn the mixer into an ice cream-maker, pasta-maker, or meat grinder.
A Penzey’s Spices gift set. Any cook worth her salt (pardon the pun) should be familiar with Penzey’s, America’s best online retailer for spices and seasonings of all sorts. Help add a little zing to her next dinner with a gift set like the Pepper Lover’s Gift Set, which features three different varieties of peppercorn and a pepper mill to grind them with.
A Le Creuset French oven. These gorgeous enamel-coated cast iron pots are the ideal cookware for slow-cooking, braising, roasting, and just about anything else you can think of. The pots conduct heat incredibly efficiently, and make it nearly impossible to scorch your food. The pot may seem on the pricey side, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you’ll never need to worry about picking up a replacement.
A Citizen Bean membership. Is someone you care about a coffee snob? Then a gift subscription to Citizen Bean’s coffee club could perk him right up. The company sends a new batch of fresh-roasted coffee beans from a different artisan producer each month, along with a complimentary French Press to help prepare a delectable brew.
Disclaimer: We received no monetary compensation or free samples for listing any of the products featured here. They are simply items that we genuinely enjoy, and think that you will too.