This is a guest post by Melissa Cameron, who lives in Texas with her husband Dave and their 2 young children. As a freelance writer she writes about most anything to do with helping the household; from parenting, to the latest Cuisinart toaster on sale. When she is not spending time with her family, or writing, she can be found searching for information and deals to help others.
For the aspiring chef on your Christmas list, ideas aren’t always easy to come by, especially if you don’t live with them to know what they have. However, even if you live with the chef, you might need a little help with ideas. I love to cook, so I appreciate getting the latest and greatest tools and products that are available on the market. So, I have come up with some ideas to help those who are looking for a little inspiration.
Better than Basic Kitchen Appliances
Most anyone who likes to cook and bake will already have the basic kitchen appliances such as hand mixers and blenders. The items they might be looking to get, if they are just starting to beef up their skills are things like food processors, pressure cookers, rotisserie ovens, or a vacuum sealer for marinating meats.
After deciding which product to give as a gift, the next step would be to find out which brand or style would be best for the recipient. You might be fortunate and have that information already, or you might need to do a little research.
I have found the best way to search is with online reviews. For example, reviewing food processors online will give you information on various processors, and you can then narrow it down from the list.
Serve It Up with Style
I know that when I spend time cooking or baking, I like to show off my hard work by serving it up in nice serve ware pieces to enhance what I have created.
Whether it’s a beautiful crystal bowl to serve color fruit in, or a contemporary ceramic platter to serve a carved beef tenderloin on, I always appreciate an attractive piece.
The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t have to have a high sticker price. I have found some great bargains online, or on clearance at the department stores. If you know their style, it’s a nice gift, without costing a fortune.
A Five Course Meal
Give them a course for Christmas, a cooking course that is. This is a wonderful gift for those who want to take their cooking up a notch. There are courses for beginner, as well as the advanced, so this could work for anyone.
To find cooking courses, check with the grocery market to see if they provide any, the local YMCA, or the community college.
Make the gift extra special by asking if it could be a chef that would come to the home for a one on one session.
Spice It Up
A great gift for the gourmet cook is a basket of exotic spices, yet are popular in higher end cooking. Of course this means that the cost is a little bit more than salt and pepper. Some spices that I recommend are:
- Saffron – It’s the most expensive spice, due to the time involved in harvesting. The flavor is slightly salty and bitter.
- Vanilla – Real vanilla is the second most expensive spice, due to the time and cost involved in harvesting. When the orchid’s pod is dried, it delivers a delicate, sweet flavor often added to sweet treats.
- Cardamom – This spice is the third costliest to produce. Its intense and pungent flavor is often used in curry dishes, coffee, and baked treats.
These are the most expensive spices around. But, you could also give flavorful spice blends and rubs as a gift as well. These are typically less expensive, yet welcomed by most chefs.
Basket of unique kitchen gadgets
There are some very unique and clever small kitchen gadgets that most gourmet chefs…even the amateur, would love to have in their collection.
A microplane grater/zester, similar to what a carpenter uses, makes grating cheeses, and zesting citrus so much easier. Or, an infrared thermometer uses laser technology when checking temperatures of boiling water, deep fryer oil, or other dishes when baking and cooking.
These are just a couple examples of what is out there now for the home chef. A quick search online will give you several ideas, which are low in cost (under $10), and could be added to a nice gift basket with a new cookbook.
Software to the Rescue
Gone are the days of saving recipes, or looking for recipes in old fashioned recipe boxes. There are wonderful software products available to help chefs produce, organize, and save their recipes.
If this is something you are going to consider, I would check with them, or their spouse, first to make sure their computer is compatible with the program you are considering.
To Sum it Up
Typically the people, who love to spend time cooking and baking, also love to add to their kitchen when they are able to do so. Don’t hesitate to help them in their ventures of honing their skills.
Hopefully I was able to help you with some ideas on what to get the chef in your life. Of course these are just some ideas, but maybe they can inspire you, and help you check one more off your Christmas list.
Happy Holidays, from our home to yours!