Holiday gifts for cooks

A few ideas to delight the foodie on your list.

Do you need last minute gift ideas? Here are a few that are not only practical, but once they’re given your recipients will wonder how they ever lived without them!

One item I can’t do without is a food thermometer. A food thermometer is a must when cooking meats and even when heating up leftovers. It will tell you whether your food has reached a safe temperature. It will also keep you from over-cooking your dish. If a food thermometer doesn’t seem like much of a gift, how about teaming it up with a refrigerator thermometer and an oven thermometer? Add a good set of hot pads and you’ll have a practical gift that will be appreciated by any serious cook.

Another useful item is a kitchen scale. Kitchen scales are used by bakers as a more precise and quick way to measure ingredients such as flour and sugar. They are also used by folks who are concerned about losing or maintaining their weight, or by those who simply want a good way to measure portions. Pair a kitchen scale with a classic cookbook and you’ll have a gift that any foodie will appreciate.

A good quality knife is also a vital tool that makes a great gift. A sharp, well balanced knife can help a cook maintain safety in the kitchen. Although it may sound counterintuitive, a cook is less likely to cut him or herself with a sharp knife than with one that is dull. A sharp knife can make food prep a joy! Add a cutting board and steel or a file for sharpening the knife and you’ll be giving a useful gift that will last for years.

Do you have a friend who is interested in food preservation? The list of potential gift items can be quite long. A starter set of jars and a pressure canner is a thoughtful gift. Or perhaps a set of tools like a jar lifter, hot pads, and a canning funnel. How about a DVD that teaches the basics of safe food preservation? Educators from Michigan State University Extension produced just such a tool, called “Preserving Food Safely.” The DVD covers topics such as water bath canning, pressure canning and freezing. There are six 15 minute segments that are fun to watch as well as informative. The DVD can be purchased through the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore for $25, shipping included.

These are just a few gift ideas with food, convenience and safety in mind. They’re relatively easy to find in stores or online, and prices cover a wide range. Happy shopping and happy holidays!

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