Last year, I published "Lesley's Favorite Things," a list of (for lack of a better term) "foodie gifts." Y'know, gifts that food lovers would like, with an emphasis on local and locally-available products. A nice guide for anyone (and by that, I mean "everyone") who likes food. This year, I've published a list of Nashville-related food gifts over on the Bites blog. It’s a rather extensive list of candies and other tasty items made right here in Nashville plus a list of cookbooks and food-inspired books published by local authors this year. It's a nice list of resources to send a little of Nashville to a friend and support local companies (large and small).
So, in this space, I decided to focus on more of the nifty culinary gadgets that make great gifts for people who like to cook (and eat). I already have some of these items and some are on my own wish list.
The Beater Blade. If someone on your gift list has a stand mixer, the Beater Blade is a must. I have one myself (for my KitchenAid Pro Line Stand Mixer) and never use the attachment that came with the mixer. The Beater Blade is fantastic.
Reusable Parchment Paper. I really love my reusable parchment paper. It helps to have two on hand. But the wish list item for most bakers is The Silpat Baking Sheet Liner. It’s considerably more expensive, but lasts forever. All those beautiful cookies you see on food blogs? Probably cooked on a Silpat.
The Flavor Bible. A few months ago, I was chatting with Robert Spinelli of Perl Catering and I asked him how he came up with such unique and wonderful flavor combinations in his food. I simply don’t have a good understanding of how tastes complement each other. He recommended The Flavor Bible to help me get inspired.
Veggie Noodle Maker. If you have a friend who is GF (gluten-free) or a follower of the paleo diet or even just someone who’s looking to cut back on pasta, this gadget is a sure bet. I’ve tried to make noodles of squashes before and have failed miserably. This thing is a great idea. Cooking.com has this
spiral slicer, but this GEFU spiral slicer is what first piqued my (P)interest.
Stacking Oven Rack. Those of you who have double ovens know how lucky you are. For those of us in a single oven household, this looks like a great addition to the gadget collection. And this version from Sur La Table is only $5.99!
Gnome Cookie Cutter. Yes, please. A great stocking stuffer at only $1.50 each (from King Arthur Flours, which also has a number of other gift ideas on their site).
Good Ice. Get good ice pellets at home with this Lekue C'Rush silicone ice stick tray.
Pizza Accessories. Want to make great pizza at home (recipe)? Be sure you have a pizza stone and a pizza peel. The reusable parchment paper helps, too. Just don’t cut your pizza on it. I have a plain (and stained) pizza stone, so this Emile Henry 14.5-in. Glazed Flame Top Pizza Stone looks like a fantastic idea to me. Can be used in the oven or on the grill! And I have a metal peel that I hide in a cabinet; this Totally Bamboo pizza peel is pretty enough to have hanging on the wall, though.
Squeeze Bottles. Not just for condiments; these squeeze bottles are the key to beautiful decorative drizzles and icings on cakes, cookies, truffles, etc.
Sugar and Flour Storage Containers. I love this idea. Buddeez storage containers with dispensers. No messes! I’ll still keep the child locks on the cabinet, though.
Healthy Surprise. So good.
Stretch-Tite Plastic Wrap. Okay, I wouldn’t give this as a gift, but it drives me crazy that they don’t sell plastic wrap in the grocery that’s as good as what the restaurants have.
Aluminum Lefse Grill. A lefse is a Norwegian tortilla, but this electric grill pan is just a nice alternative (albeit pricey one) to a non-stick electric skillet/grill. Make lefse, dosas, tortillas, crepes and pancakes!
Immersion Blender. I simply cannot live without mine, the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender. It's a lot easier and more versatile for some blending, such as when your ice cream custard base is a little too separated, when you're making squash soup, or just about anything else that needs a smooth texture.
So that's it for this year's list. Before you start shopping, though, I recommend signing up for Ebates, if you haven't already. If you're not familiar with it, it is essentially a rebate program for online purchases. But you don't have to do anything to get the cash back except start your shopping from the Ebates site. And it's a good idea to do that anyway because a lot of the stores (and there are thousands to choose from, including Amazon, eBay, and Toys R Us) offer special incentives. Follow my Ebates referral link and I get a $5 bonus (and a sign-up bonus for yourself, which--right now--is a $10 Target gift card). I wish I'd signed up years ago!
So, did I miss anything? What's your favorite food gadget gift?