Gifts For The Cook

December 17, 2003|By Adrienne Saunders | Adrienne Saunders,Sun Staff

Finding the right holiday gift is typically the most stressful part of the season. Luckily, people who love to cook will appreciate almost any present related to their hobby. These gift ideas will inspire home chefs for another year ... and they may thank you with a homemade treat.

$20 AND UNDER

Smaller items for office gift exchanges or stocking stuffers present a particular problem: how to get something useful but inexpensive. These items require only a small investment but get a big return on appreciation.

* Christmas Whiskie ($2.99, Bed Bath & Beyond) -- Functional for smaller kitchen tasks, this miniature whisk features a handle with a cartoon-faced egg dressed in holiday garb. Decked out in a Santa hat and big red shoes, this little character guarantees a chuckle.

* Odd size measuring spoons ($7.99, amazon.com) -- Take the guesswork out of measurements with a set from Cuisipro. The stainless-steel spoons measure "pinch," 1/8 , ,, 1 1/2 and 2 teaspoons.

* Mini magnetic salt and pepper balls ($9.95 each, Linens-n-Things and Bed Bath & Beyond) -- Keep salt and pepper out of the way in these handy miniature mills by Chef'n. This version is one-third the size of its big brother, the original pepper ball with a squeeze-to-grind handle, but features tiny magnets that stick to the oven or refrigerator, making more room on the counter. Get the full-size versions for $14.99 each.

$50 AND UNDER

On a budget with an adventuresome cook to buy for? Here are some ideas to help that cook explore a variety of ethnic cuisines.

* Penzey's Spices Grill and Broil gift box ($33.95, penzeys.com) -- Grillmeisters can flavor their steaks and burgers with seasonings of the bayou and flavors of the islands.

* Pasta machine ($34.95, kitchen emporium.com) -- For the carb lover in every home chef, this hand-crank Imperia pasta maker clamps to the counter for stability. Press fresh-dough spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine and more.

* Sushi-making set ($35.95, cooking.com) -- Sushi fanatics who want to try rolling at home will appreciate this guide to home sushi. Set includes wasabi, pickled ginger, nori, rice, cookbook, bamboo mat and sauces.

$100 AND UNDER

Have a little more money to spend, but still don't want to break the bank? Here are some ideas that any cook will enjoy.

* Emerilware tailgate gift set ($99, foodtv.com) -- Just in time for postseason football, get the dedicated tailgater in your life a tailgating basics set from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse's new line of cookware. Includes basting sauces, tongs, stockpot, cooler and cookbook full of parking-lot recipes.

* Henckels carving set with board ($69.99, cooking.com) -- Holidays are a stressful time for dinner hosts. Make it easier on them with a quality carving set for use during their first or 15th turkey dinner.

* Kitchen Essentials Set ($65, Williams-Sonoma) -- Keep any cook's kitchen bright and cheery with this gift set scented with Meyer lemon. Set includes dish soap, hand soap, hand lotion, window spray, dish towel and scrub brush for regular kitchen cleaning. Also perfect as a hostess gift for an extended holiday stay.

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