Ten Food-Related Christmas Gifts for Beginner Cooks
We're almost to the point when shopping for presents becomes a mad, desperate scramble to find something for the people left on your list. But there's nothing lamer than giving (or getting) a pointless gift you'll never use. Remember the fruitcake gag? Gag us.
So to make your life a little easier, here's a list of ten food-related, easy-to-find gifts that people will find useful, particularly cooking newbies and those in need of a little extra assistance. Anyway, who couldn't use help in the kitchen?
Not many people have the cash to spring for a Vita-Mix. Seriously, $300+ for something that smushes your food? But at $99.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond, the Ninja is a steal in comparison, and it's almost just as good. God knows someone you know could stand to eat a few more green smoothies and a few fewer McDonald's breakfasts.
Slow cookers are a kitchen cure-all. Busy moms, broke students, and gourmet chefs alike are into these hot little meal makers. They're inexpensive (Target has one for $29.99), they're easy to use, and they're the ultimate in kitchen convenience. Always a gift win.
These little stone suckers come in handy for myriad purposes, from mashing herbs to pounding nuts. You can score one for $19.99 at Macy's.
Nobody is gonna say no to cookies in the mail. Especially when they come in flavors like peppermint schnapps, birthday cake, and salted caramel cream. At $95 for three months (shipping included), it'll be a monthly reminder to the recipient of how awesome you are. It'll also inspire your loved ones to bake their own.
There isn't a soul who won't appreciate a piece of this famous French cookware -- particularly one of the "French ovens," AKA epic casserole dishes. They're not cheap ($105 for the smallest), but they're worth every red penny.
If you know anyone with an affinity for whipping up baked goods, a mat like this one is a must-have. No more burnt edges, stuck brownies, or greasy cooking spray ever again. The awesomest news is that it's cheap. For only $13.49 at Overstock.com, you'll be a culinary hero by shelling out only some spare change.
Drying lettuce is one of those colossal time wasters you'll most certainly regret doing on your deathbed. You could have been eating instead -- or doing almost anything else. So a salad spinner is an amazing time-saver in any kitchen -- particularly one whose inhabitants are fond of veggies. It might seem slightly unromantic, but your giftee will thank you come diet season. Plus, IKEA has one for $3.99. Steal of the century.
3. KitchenAid mixer.
This is a staple in any kitchen. Who in hell uses a hand mixer these days? This genius invention will save any cook from an overly developed forearm. And trust us, anyone you gift this to will be forever grateful. It costs $350, so make sure you give it to someone you really, really like.
Mixing bowls are one of those often-overlooked kitchen essentials. They might not be as romantic as, say, Keurig or KitchenAid appliances, but damn if they don't get daily use. And once you go stainless steel, you'll never go back. Treat someone in your life to a set of five shiny receptacles they'll use on the regular. You can score some at Williams-Sonoma for $49.95.
How did we ever live without coffee pods? A single-cup coffeemaker is one of the finest First-World luxuries of the 21st Century, and all budding chefs need one. Plus, it'll help break any seemingly unsurmountable Starbucks addiction, particularly when it can make everything from iced mochas to pumpkin spice brews to (soon) chicken noodle soup. You can score a personal brewer for $99.99.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.