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It's that gift giving time of year again, and many of us are wondering what to get the cooking enthusiasts in our lives. Well, whether they are just starting out, or looking to upgrade what they already have, I've put together my Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide to help you out!
The items in this Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide are all things that I have tested and use in my kitchen on a daily basis, and recommend to anyone who asks me. I know you are going to find it useful this holiday season and I promise that no one will be disappointed to receive any of these items.
Let's Get Started!
1. A Chef's Knife.
If I only recommended one item this holiday season, it would be a good chef's knife. This is the backbone of the kitchen and I use it everyday, so it is important to have a good one. In my kitchen I actually use the Wusthof Classic 8-inch Cook's Knife, but it is a $120.00 investment. For something a little more economical I HIGHLY recommend the Victorinox 8 inch Chef's Knife. It is what I started out with, and still use from time to time today.
2. A 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet.
Oh gosh, where to begin? There is NOTHING you can't cook with the Lodge 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet. EVERY home cook should have one. They are great for frying, roasting, baking, just about anything. I love that they can go from the stove top to the oven to the fire pit even. And you'll make some of the BEST cornbread of your life in this guy. I have this exact pan as well as MANY pieces that have been in my family since before the Civil War. You can never go wrong with cast iron.
3. A 12 inch Stainless Steel Pan.
I also use my Cuisinart Stainless Steel 12 inch Skillet quite a bit. It's a must to get one with a lid. These also can go from the stove top right to the oven and they are perfect for sauteing and making pan sauces. It's nice for browning something and then finishing it off in the oven as well.
4. A 6 quart Dutch Oven.
It has been said of me that I have an addiction to these. Why you ask? Could it possibly be because I have 6 of them!?! *lol* I know, I know. You're thinking WHY ON EARTH!?! It's because you can make pasta, boil potatoes, make soups, fry, roast, bake bread, casseroles, EVERYTHING! It's kind of like a Lay's potato chip. You can't have just one, but this Lodge Enamel Coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a great one to start out with!
5. A Cutting Board.
If you are going to invest in a good kitchen knife you MUST invest in a nice, wood, cutting board. The reason being that they protect the edge on your knife. I love this 24x18 Boo's Board because of all of the great work space you get with it!
6. A Rubber Spatula.
I know that there are a lot of cute rubber spatulas on the market right now, but if I only had one it would be this Rubbermaid Industrial one. I've had mine for ages and it's wonderful. Not only does it have a high heat resistance, but you can make a serious omelette with it as well.
7. A Spatula
I literally spent a year searching for the perfect spatula. I bought several, but when the smoke cleared I found this Silicone Spatula from OXO to be king! From turning eggs to taking cookies from a baking sheet this beauty never fails me!
8. A Whisk
I know this may seem like such a simple thing, but you use your whisk more than you think. From gravy, to salad dressings and pan sauces, my whisk is used daily in my kitchen and this OXO Good Grips Whisk is my weapon of choice.
9. Liquid Measuring Cups
I ADORE these OXO Good Grips Measuring Cups! I can't say enough good things about them. I love that not only can you see the measurement from the side, but you can see it from the top as well!
10. Dry Measuring Cups
When buying measuring cups ALWAYS start with metal and make sure the the measurements are a part of the cup and not just painted on. After a few washes you may find yourself wondering if it's a cup or 3/4 cup. (I've learned this from experience.) These OXO Good Grips Metallic Cups are so cool because they are magnetic and you are less likely to lose them in the drawer.
11. Measuring Spoons
I carry the same philosophy with measuring spoons that I carry with measuring cups. Go metal and make sure the increments are engraved in the handle. But along with that I like these rectangular shaped spoons for dipping into spice jars, etc.
A good ladle is a small thing, but when you don't have it, you wish you did. They are great for everything from the perfect scoop of soup to just the right amount of sauce. A good ladle in the kitchen is important. I like this one by Chefland because you can hook it over the side of the pot so you won't lose it. (I may have done that a time or two as well.)
13. Wooden Spoon
I love a good, sturdy, Wooden Spoon in my kitchen. These are what I use and they have never let me down.
14. Slotted Spoon
This is one of those things where you don't use it a lot, but you just can replace it. I mean, sometimes I want a little more soup, a little less broth. Sometimes you need to grab a little something out of some pan juices. That's why the OXO Stainless Steel Slotted Spoon is just a great tool to have on hand.
And just like with the slotted spoon, you need a good "spoon" in your kitchen. It's a rule really.
16. Potato Masher
I love, LOve, LOVE this potato masher! I've never had one that works as well as this one and I am now a life long user. It breaks up the potatoes so well and leaves them creamy and smooth.
Microplane is an essential in every kitchen!
18. Baking Sheet
I could go on, and on, and on, and ON about why these Baking Sheets are a must have in the kitchen, but bottom line...You MUST have one. Or two. Or four. I may or may not have four. *lol*
19. Basting Brush
From barbecuing to basting this is a must have tool in your kitchen. I love this basting brush by OXO because it does a great job and is super easy to clean up.
20. Slow Cooker
Last but not least, every home cook needs a Crock Pot. And where I don't think it's necessary to have all of the bells and whistles in one, I DO recommend having the locking lid. It makes transporting them so much easier.
So there you have it! My Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide. All practical things that any home cook needs in their kitchen, and any foodie would be thrilled to receive! I hope this makes your holiday shopping a little easier this year. And as always...
Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~