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It’s that time of year: the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift-giving corridor. The time of year when we scratch our heads and try to think of meaningful yet useful presents worthy of the people who have given us everything. No matter what parental figure you’re shopping for, be it a mom, dad, stepparent, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, partner or spouse, we hope you’ll find some inspiration for food- and drink-inspired gifts. You may even find a thing or two for yourself.
We all know the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And with the right tools, we’d look forward to breakfast every morning. If your loved one loves eggs but can’t figure out how to poach or hard boil them correctly, give them this handy electric egg cooker, which can make perfect hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs or omelets. If they’re more of a smoothie person, well, you can’t beat abrand new high-speed blender that can crush ice and frozen fruit. If they like to keep breakfast classic, you really can’t go wrong with a simple countertop waffle maker. You can even break it in for them and serve breakfast in bed.
Surprise that loved one who claims they don’t need fancy kitchen equipment with a hands-free stand mixer, which will make everything from baking cookies to kneading bread to shredding chicken a breeze. If they love to make soups and stews or braise tender meat for chilly weeknights, a Le Creuset Dutch oven will make their lives complete. And a chef is nobody without great knives, so get them a full 19-piece set from Zwilling J.A. Henckles for all of their slicing and dicing needs. If presentation matters for your loved one, they will want to welcome every spring by baking a cake or bread using this wildflower loaf pan.
For the cooking enthusiast who is trying to broaden their kitchen skill set, some wonderful cookbooks can help expand their knowledge of creating everyday meals. If you know someone who is trying to incorporate more global dishes into their lives, help them learn how to make Thai-American fusion dishes like Thai Glazed Ribs from “The Pepper Thai Cookbook” by Pepper Teigen. Perhaps they want to learn how to make easy and healthy dishes like One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff from “Liv B’s Easy Everyday” by Olivia Biermann.
Gardening is a wonderful hobby, whether you have a backyard oasis or a few plants in a windowsill. For the person who’d like to incorporate freshly grown produce into their cooking but lacks a ton of space, an AeroGarden is a popular, foolproof solution that uses a grow light and hydroponics (i.e. water) to grow up to six plants at a time. For the more seasoned gardener, consider a nice set with tools and a foldable stool, which makes a lovely gift.
For the person in your life who treats every day like Earth Day, the gift that keeps on giving is the one that’s reusable. Luckily, there’s a plethora of sustainable kitchen products to choose from. An affordable option is Swedish dishcloths, which serve as a replacement to paper towels. Use the product to clean up around the kitchen. Once it’s dirty, pop it into the washer for a quick clean. If your gift recipient is a seltzer lover, consider getting them a Sodastream. The handy product adds carbonation to your water without piling up your kitchen with cans and bottles. If they’re into saving their food scraps, a dehydrator is the perfect present. Add fruits, veggies or herbs to it and use them in cocktails, salads and more.
Help your parents avoid those annoying long grocery store lines by shipping them meal-preparation kits or full meals from one of these convenient meal kit delivery services. As we’re all still trying to navigate life during a pandemic, your loved one may appreciate receiving delicious ingredients for different meals throughout the week, delivered right to their front door. Certain services offer meals that support specific dietary needs like diabetes-friendly, pescatarian or even vegetarian. You can read our review of some of the most popular meal kits, such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and more to see which service best meets your needs regarding pricing and meal plan.
As any good cook knows, there are some ingredients that are worth the splurge. While grocery store balsamic and olive oil are fine for cooking and marinades, show your love with the gift of fancy oil and aged vinegar. High quality spices, in which a small upgrade can make a big difference, are also excellent gifts. In our experience, Penzey’s has an excellent selection.
If there’s one thing that gets people pumped up at holidays, game-day watch parties, picnics and more, it’s a good cheese board. And for the friend or family member who’s a cheese fanatic year-round, what could be better than some cheese-related gifts? If they enjoy entertaining, gift them a cheeseboard and knife set to display a smattering of meats, cheeses and crackers. For the adventurous cheese lover, a subscription to cheese of the month club or a make-your-own cheese kit are no brainers.
If you have someone in your life who won’t interact until they’ve had their first cup of Joe, then a coffee-related gift is sure to go over well. If they’re ready to upgrade from a standard coffee maker but don’t want to go full coffeehouse, a pod espresso machine is a great happy medium. Round out the gift with an electric milk frother and your parental figure will be able to seriously cut down on their trips to the coffee shop. If they skew low tech, then consider a classic pour-over carafe set or perhaps a reusable pour-over cone and filter-in-one to eliminate the need for paper filters. Whichever way you go, a subscription to some high quality beans, preferably local to the recipient, is a much-appreciated way to maintain their buzz.
As nice as it is to linger over a simmering pot, that feels like a luxury most days as the clock is ticking to get dinner on the table. Cooking for the whole family takes time, but an air fryer can cut that time in half. During breakfast, take the pain out of being splashed with oil by tossing your bacon in the air fryer. Get crispy, tender chicken wings or succulent shrimp to add with your pasta. If they are short on counter space, then consider a multipurpose toaster oven-style air fryer. Or, if they haven’t hopped on the Instant Pot bandwagon just yet, it’s never too late to give them a multicooker (there are even some that double as an air fryer if they want the best of both worlds).
Does the loved one in your life enjoy a nice cold one? Whether they prefer a national brand, craft brew, a hoppy yet non-alcoholic drink or a double IPA, beer snobs can be fun to shop for. Aficionados of all levels may get a kick out of the entertaining yet informative Scratch and Sniff Guide to Beer. If they want to discover new beers, a Beer of the Month club is the gift that keeps on giving. For the person who likes to get in on the action, consider a homebrew starter kit; consider a one-gallon option to start so they can try it out before turning their home into a full-blown brewery. And, to give them the full breadth of beer enjoyment, consider a gift of specialty glassware, each designed to highlight the features of a specific beer type.
Whether your parent enjoys a glass of bourbon at the end of the day or fancies themselves a bartender, this is a fun category for gift giving. A spherical ice cube tray will make ice cubes that melt far more slowly than your average cube, thus leading to less dilution; plus they make drinks look extra fancy. Fresh citrus juice is a must for many cocktails, and a citrus press is a simple yet useful gadget. Another easy way to uplevel a home bar is by adding a gift set of flavored bitters that will add the perfect finishing touch to any cocktail.
For the glass-of-wine-a-day drinker, consider a gift that will enhance their wine-and-dine experience. If they don’t have a bar cart or a designated spot to display wines, a wine rack or holder will help minimize the clutter and neatly arrange not only the bottles but also the glasses. For those hot summer days, don’t fret over bringing a large cooler in order to keep the wine chilled. This wine chiller bucket is perfect for outdoor parties or picnics. It keeps bottles cool and provides a durable container to keep them safe. Have a problem with bugs wanting a sip of wine? A cover should keep those buggers or any other debris away.
There is something satisfying about cooking outside on a grill, so it’s no wonder it’s a common Father’s Day theme. But whether the grillmaster in your life is mom, dad or someone else, there are a few tools that can take their grill game from charred hot dogs to perfectly cooked food every time. No matter how they like to cook, an instant read thermometer should have a place in every kitchen so there’s no guesswork involved for the cook. In addition to the usual grill tools, a simple but useful gift is a grill smoker box which can be added to any grill to mimic a smoker — but one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg or take up the entire deck.
You know those folks who have had that same scratched frying pan since the '70s and are still baking in the cupcake tin you used as a kid? It’s time to upgrade those worn pieces of cookware to something timeless and durable. A new, well-made baking sheet is so versatile — necessary for everything from cookies to sheet pan meals — that it’s a must in any kitchen. And a nonstick skillet that cooks evenly and can be easily wiped clean is a real workhorse that can make mealtime feel easier. However, if you’re uneasy about nonstick, we are serious fans of a good, seasoned cast iron skillet too.
During the early days of the pandemic, baking your own bread was basically a requirement. Whether the parental figure in your life hopped on the trend or has been baking for years, a professional style proofing basket can seriously up their boule game. If they’ve moved past the basic no-knead loaf and are ready to create an at-home boulangerie, then a baguette pan can help them achieve that goal. If they prefer multi-purpose kitchen items, then a bread pan that doubles as a cast iron roaster may be more up their alley.
It may be a challenge to shop for the experienced home chef who already has all the necessities, but if they’re ready to branch out, there are some fun gadgets and gizmos that can take their cooking experience to the next level. An immersion circulator, for example, used to be found only in restaurant kitchens but today, anyone can cook sous vide at home for the most evenly cooked food imaginable. A Smoking gun is another fun gift for the person who might enjoy imparting smoky flavor to everything from cheese to cocktails. It also provides a great party trick for anyone who enjoys entertaining. You also can splurge for a portable yet professional quality pizza oven that’ll cook up a pizza in 60 seconds flat.
For the person in your life who truly doesn’t want any more STUFF, consider giving them an experience instead, maybe even one you can do together. Cooking classes are great fun and can be done online or in-person. Last Bite offers virtual, family-friendly “bite sized” one-hour cooking classes each Sunday, while professional culinary schools like the Institute for Culinary Education offer a host of virtual options for all skills and interests.
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