The holidays can bring hard decisions about what gifts to buy for your friends and family. With the economy going down the tubes in 2008, a lot of people have very little money to spend for holiday gifts. If someone on your holiday list has a zest for cooking, try some of these gifts for the cook for under $10 that will lend a helping hand in the kitchen. The gifts for the cook listed in this article can range anywhere from $1 to $10 at Walmart, Kmart, or grocery stores.
Spices and Herbs
Every great cook has an arsenal of spices and herbs in their cupboard to enhance the flavor of their foods. Give the gift of fresh spices to replace those that have been sitting in the cabinet for umpteen years and have lost their integrity. Dried spices should always be replaced at least once a year with fresh, fragrant ones. Since holiday baking calls for spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or allspice, think about replacing these spices with fresh ones for the cook on your holiday list. I like to write the year of purchase on the spice or herb container with a magic marker to help remind me when they need to be replaced. More herb and spice ideas are basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Keep the recipient in mind and give spices that will enhance their style of cooking. Arrange a couple of spices in a pretty basket with a bow to make an attractive gift. Some grocery stores have live plants available of herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano or thyme. If you have a pretty container, you could replant these herbs and present them, with maintenance instructions, to the cook on your list to brighten their kitchen this holiday season.
I don’t know about you, but when I cook a big meal, I go through a lot of kitchen washcloths and hand towels. In my opinion, a cook can never have enough linens in the kitchen and if they match the kitchen décor, that’s great! The cook on your list this holiday season may be, like me, using oven mitts that are riddled with burn holes and worn out. If you decide to give oven mitts, make sure they are sturdy and thick, otherwise they are useless for picking up hot pots and pans and will be thrown in the back of the drawer and never used. If you can find matching oven mitts and hand towels, it would be nice if they accentuate the cook’s kitchen. In my kitchen, rugs are almost disposable. Why is it that every time you wash these kitchen rugs, the backing peels away until there’s nothing left? I personally would treasure new decorative kitchen rugs that match the theme in my kitchen.
I always use timers when I bake and the cook on your holiday list may do the same, so think about giving a sturdy kitchen timer. Sometimes I use several timers at once for different dishes in the oven. Trivets are always needed to protect our tables and counters from hot food during holiday dinners, so think about giving those too. New slotted spoons, wooden spoons, spatulas and fry strainers called “spiders” are also good gift ideas. Giving a coffee mug that holds a special meaning, an attractive soup bowl for one with a big sturdy handle, holiday gravy boats or turkey platters, pepper grinders and other helpers like these will offer the cook on your list a gift that will bring back memories with each use.
Reusable storage containers are a bit hit any time of the year. Clear containers are time savers because you can see what’s inside each one when you have a lot of leftovers in the fridge. Choose different sizes and remember to include larger sized containers for foods like leftover soups, ham or turkey. Measuring cups, measuring spoons, graters and colanders are helpful gifts for the cook any time of the year.
I know these sound like idiotically simple ideas for the cook on your holiday list, but if the cook you have in mind is having a tough time financially, these items will be one less thing for them to have to go out and purchase.