Looking for gift ideas for you or your favorite foodie? Here are my picks for the best culinary items for everyone on your list.
Old Agency Reserve Grass Fed Beef. For the meat-eater who loves beef and wants it to come with a side of ethical treatment and small business love this is the gift for them. This family-run farm in South Georgia sells grass-fed and grass-finished Red Devon beef and the quality speaks for itself. They recommend buying a whole carcass and splitting between family and friends which sounds like a delicious way to make everyone on your Christmas gift list very happy.
Kuhn Rikon Y-Peeler. At $4 this is one of the best gifts for the money and an ideal stocking stuffer. I keep three in my kitchen and use them for everything from peeling carrots to making Parmesan and chocolate shavings. Cons? It claims to be dishwasher safe, but I hand-wash mine as a I’ve found that washing in the dishwasher causes the blade to rust.
Classic Cookbooks. Beautiful cookbooks with mouth-watering recipes seem to be released on a daily basis, but I’m partial to the classics. Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is one of my all time favorites and along with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking mandatory reading for all passionate cooks. For those who prefer to do their creating with flour, butter and egg, The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum will provide plenty of inspiration and tips. For the cook who always wonders “why,” it doesn’t get any better than Harold McGee’s On Food & Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.
10- or 12-inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. What’s the one thing I would take to a deserted island? This skillet. It’s the most-used pan in my kitchen pulled out regularly to fry chicken, sear beef, and bake cornbread among other things. Retailing at $25.00 for a 10-inch skillet, it’s good quality cookware that doesn’t break the bank. People tend to get a little nervous about the idea of keeping seasoned cast iron looking good so be sure to print out Use & Care Information for the lucky recipient.
Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven (5 1/2 quart) is not inexpensive, but for anyone who loves to cook it’s a pot they’ll cherish for years to come. And with lots of colors to choose from, Le Creuset pots are like throw pillows for your stovetop. The 5 1/2 quart size is good for everyday cooking, but if the chef on your list often cooks for a crowd or likes making things in big batches to freeze consider the Oval Dutch oven in the 6 3/4 quart or 9 1/2 quart size.
A FOOD LOVE cooking class. For those who live in the Charlotte area, consider a gift certificate for a hands-on cooking class this holiday season. Classes take place in the comfort of your own home with menus customized to fit your interests, tastes, and skill level. Pricing begins at $225.00 for a 1 or 2-person class with wine pairing. Classes last approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours and include time for you to enjoy what you cooked while I do the dishes.