Gift Ideas for the Cook in Your Life: $25 or Less

4 Dec

Lemon Squeezer and/or Lime Squeezer

Price: $13

 

This is another frequently used item in my kitchen. I technically have the smaller “lime” version of the one shown. If I were to do it again I’d get the lemon squeezer because it could fit both lemons and limes. Anyway, this squeezer works so effortlessly and is fast and simple to use. Be careful though because these types of citrus juicers aren’t all built equal. Some of them are made of plastic and are not of very high quality. Stick with the one shown here, or at least make sure the one you buy is a solidly built metal model.

 

Adjust-A-Cup Measuring Cup

Price: $16

I have been coveting one of these babies ever since the day I saw Alton Brown using one on Good Eats. They especially excel at measuring sticky ingredients such as peanut butter, corn syrup, and honey. I believe this 2-cup measure is the largest available, but they do make models for small measurements (i.e. tablespoons, etc.) which are under $10.

 

Pyrex 1 Quart Measuring Cup

Price: $12

You can never go wrong buying anything Pyrex, especially a liquid measuring cup. This is another one of the frequently used items in my kitchen. I have both a 4 cup (quart) size and 2 cup size and use both of them frequently. If your favorite cook makes a lot of soups and stews, this one will come in very handy. The 2 cup size is great for smaller measurements and goes down to 1/4 cup and is less than $10.

 

Wustof Come-Apart Kitchen Shears

Price: $18

 

I’ve had a pair of these babies for several years now and absolutely love them. They are incredibly sharp and durable. The best part is, the blades easily separate for cleaning! Everybody needs a pair of good quality kitchen shears.

 

Mircoplane Zester/Grater

Price: $15

 There is nothing better for zesting citrus fruits than a microplaner. These things are super sharp and stay that way. They are also wonderful for grating hard cheeses such as parmesan and romano. Oh, and this particular model comes in several colors. Don’t get black. It’s boring and is much harder to find in a drawer.

 

Bamboo In-Drawer Knife Block

Price: $22

 

If you don’t have a whole lot of counter space, this in-drawer knife block is your best friend. This block is very low profile and fits into small drawers. I personally have several knives that I bought separately and thus came with no block at all. This block is great because it keeps the knives separated in the drawer and fits all different sizes and varieties of knives. Finally my knives are organized!

 

 Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar

Price: $20

 

Another great option for organizing knives is a magnetic knife strip. This is so convenient especially for knives that are used frequently. This particular strip is capable of holding knives that are quite heavy with no problem. They are traditionally mounted horizontally on the wall, but I have mounted this strip vertically on the side of a cabinet and it worked great too! This model is 15 inches long, but there are longer ones available for a few extra bucks.

 

Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

Price: $24

This is my most favorite pan hands-down. So much so, that it lives on top of my stove.  I use it for EVERYTHING and is one of the best culinary gifts I’ve ever received. If you want to splurge, get the matching lid.

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9 Responses to “Gift Ideas for the Cook in Your Life: $25 or Less”

  1. junie December 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    MOST FAVORITE PAN EVER! HANDS-DOWN! That’s AWESOME. We’re awesome, aren’t we–me and paul the bestest gift-givers–eh?

    I’m also now coveting the lemon squeezer and the zester. Don’t have anything like those and I’m always wondering why juice squeezing with the old fashioned kind takes so long and why zesting with the grater-thingy is so completely non-worky. (By non-worky I mean, ineffectual.)

    And I like the glass measuring cup and Paul is an enthusiast of the adjust-a-cup. I still haven’t quite figured that one out. Oh, hey, someone else is an AWESOME GIFT-GIVER, too! I can’t take all the glory; when your gifted grinder arrived, Paul spent quite awhile raving over it and showing me all its splendiferous qualities. And, I have to admit, I could never go back to our old (quite decent) grinder–you’ve ruined me for anything less than perfection. (On a related, but non-cooking note: recently Paul got a NEW BIKE. HUGE DEAL. TOOK EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF CONTEMPLATION BEFOREHAND. So, of course, it arrived dismantled and Paul had to mantle it. And guess where he turned when he needed a tool not in his everyday assembly? To the handy-dandy Kareny biketoolset, of course!)

    I should hire you as my personal gift consultant from now on. What do you think my Dad would like for Christmas? (Maybe I should make him your chicken soup. He just got the flu, poor daddy! :()

    I’ve got to bring this to an end, I think. But I wanted to say I so so like this pretty new foody blog! And it’s making me so hungry (THAT”S why I need to end this, actually, suddenly I’m starved!) AND I so adore your cute & beatiful profile photo! Just like you.

    • Karen @ Gravy Training December 19, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

      Junie, you and Paul are the bestest ever, period! And your “non-worky” comment totally cracked me up. I’m using that term from now on.

      Also, I’m so glad Paulie loved his pepper grinder. I waited so long to send it because I thought maybe he’d think it was weird to get a pepper grinder. And yeah for a new bike! That husband of yours is so modest. Not only did he neglect to mention his new bike, but he didn’t even tell me he’d gotten a new knife too! Doesn’t he know people like me find those sorts of things exciting and wonderful!?

      Glad to have you back Junie, I’ve missed you!

  2. junie December 23, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Ohhhhh! (I mean for that to sound like, “Awwww….” but with an ‘o’ and an ‘h.’) Ohh! You missed me! Ohh!

    Well, you know… ditto. I’ve missed me, too. 🙂

    Naw, I’ve missed YOU.

    And we (paul and me) do truly love our grinder. But how could it be weird to send us one? Your longtime readers might remember that we (you guys and us guys) have practically established a TRADITION of grinder exchanging, dating back to last Christmas! Plus it’s imperative that our kitchens look near identical; we’ve got the pan and the grinder in common; now I just need spice tins and Kitchen Aid (our neighbor’s one is a glorious rosy RED!) and you need the BEST FREAKING TEA KETTLE EVER!

    XO, Gotta go. Just wanted to see if my comment met the moderator’s standards before I started packing. I’ve got my priorites straight! And they do not involve procrastination.

    Not at all.

    Merry Christmas-O!

    Loves to EVERYBODY! Enjoy your foods and libations! And loot!

    junie

    p.s. I’ll be watching to see if you live up to your “non-worky” promise. 😀

  3. junie December 23, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    Hey. How come the computer didn’t scold me about moderation this time?

    • Karen @ Gravy Training December 23, 2010 at 9:17 am #

      I’ve got it set up so that it only moderates the first comment from each person… after the first time they’re approved I figure they probably don’t suck. 😀

  4. junie December 23, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    Oh, hey, one last thing. I don’t wanna procrastinate my packing by sitting here leaving endless comments or anything but I’m thinking that maybe… your riveted readers… might be enlightened by a discussion… about knives? Especially those readers whose households only have one exceptionally good knife? And whose husbands might secretly be wanting one for Valentine’s Day? Only he/they might not know it?

    And knifing boards–cutting boards, whatEVER–and storage thingys. Like more about the wooden put-away thingy you featured and similar stuffs. Also… hmm. I might have to let you know ALL the things your riveted readers are Needing to Know in future comments. Ones not left at 1 am the night before flying out for the holidays.

    • Karen @ Gravy Training December 23, 2010 at 9:50 am #

      I actually have a couple other knives that I really like. The Shun santoku knife is good for onions and such, but it’s not substantial enough for cutting larger, harder things like cheese and squash. For that I have a J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 8″ Chef’s Knife.

      I also have a Kyocera ceramic 5.5″ santoku knife that works really well. I use it for basically the same things as the Shun santoku knife. It’s extremely sharp and doesn’t dull as easily as stainless steel knives, but it’s also not as durable. I accidentally broke the tip off of mine when I tapped it on the edge of the kitchen sink.

      Also, if I had to choose between the knife drawer insert and the magnetic knife strip, I would totally choose the magnetic strip. I really loved mine. I just can’t mount one to the wall here in my apartment.

  5. junie December 23, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    Hmm. Am I supposed to make it so these comments are indented, by clicking on the REPLY button? Because it’s all the same conversation? Or does it make more sense to do it like this–as separate and therefore Highly Important lines of thought–so it doesn’t seem like I’m just having a really long conversation with myself? And are you required to reply to each one or the whole bunch? Or do you not take your blogmistress duties as seriously as all that?

    I said duties.

    I’m really going to need to stop now. Happy Hannukah!

    • Karen @ Gravy Training December 23, 2010 at 9:20 am #

      Have you been drinking again Junie? And you have been having a long conversation with yourself so you’re basically doing it right.

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