Christmas is coming up pretty soon, so I was thinking it might be fun to share ideas about good stocking-stuffers for friends and family members who like to spend time in the kitchen.
Let’s set three basic rules:
Should be cooking related
Should be able to fit into a Christmas stocking
Should cost less than $20
To start off. I’d like to suggest the Joseph Joseph garlic rocker. When I first got this thing, I thought it might turn out to be a silly gimmick and wind up in the back of a drawer somewhere, but I actually use it more than my fancy Kuhn Rikon Epicurean garlic press. What I like about the garlic rocker is that it produces coarsely chopped garlic that is perfect for certain dishes. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store. Available at Amazon for less than $12.
Great first suggestion! I have something similar – the Kyocera ceramic ginger grater. Yours is way cuter (I’m a “cat person” too), but the Kyocera might be a bit more practical due to the deep juice gutter around the grating surface. It also has a nonslip rubber coating on the bottom rim to keep it from sliding around during use. Unfortunately, the 6.5-inch size costs about $25, which exceeds the price limit. The 3.5-inch version is only $15, but seems too small to be useful, IMO.
I have one after reading many good reviews… unfortunately, I don’t really like mine. It works and all, but I guess it just isn’t that revolutionary. I guess I will force myself to use it a few more times to see if I will fall in love later.
I think everyone secretly wants demitasse spoons. Either they once had some and have lost several (i swear! They’re like socks in the wash!) or have always wanted to feel a moment of frivolity and chic while stirring your morning coffee…
Prices range wildly but it’s easy to find a set of six under $20
Assuming we’re allowed ingredients as well as gadgets then I often give this home flavoured vinegar: After pouring out a splash from a 500ml/1 pint bottle of white wine vinegar push in three or four garlic cloves (don’t bother to peel them) and a sprig or two of tarragon (a heaped teaspoon of dried tarragon would be fine). Re-seal, and a month later you’ll have a fragrant vinegar which makes the best french dressing I’ve ever tasted. 1:6 ratio with EVOO + a little S&P is all you need.
The tool for breaking up ground meat reminded me of this… They say it can be used for that too, but what I love it for is mixing thick batters. It has wide blades that work like little spatulas to clean the sides of the bowl. I use this a lot!
Seeing all these interesting and handy-looking utensils that you guys have suggested reminds me to mention of one of my favorites – the WMF ball whisk.
For thin things (like eggs for omelets), the steel balls on the ends of the wires set up a nice whipping effect. For thicker things, the open end prevents the formation of a “gunk ball” that sometimes appears inside a balloon whisk. Also, the flared shape lets you reach right into the corners of vertical-walled saucepans or large Pyrex measuring cups. Easy to wash, easy to store.