Wednesday wishlist: kitchen cookware

Each Wednesday of the holiday season, I’ll be sharing neat gift ideas with you.

kitchen cookware

You’ve got to know beyond reasonable doubt that a recipient will enjoy and make use of a gift. This week, however, that rings especially true, since we’re looking at more heavy-duty kitchen items. Make sure you know your audience — not only are these objects more costly than the doodads in our previous installment, but they also require pre-existing user knowledge/enthusiasm. If the description checks out, however, I would think these babies would make your giftee pretty darn happy.

Clockwise from top-left:

 Lodge Color Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Yes, we all simultaneously lust after Le Creuset’s gorgeous wares and wince at its price tags. Why not consider Lodge’s offering, which is a mere fraction of the price and boasts over 1,000 glowing endorsements online? For the same amount of money, you can have a gorgeous dutch oven — and enough left over to buy even more pretty kitchenwares. This one’s a no-brainer, in my opinion.

Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender. The magic of immersion blenders lies in their portability; it’s much easier to whip out and clean a handy little tool than it is to lug out a full-sized blender. This model’s attachments, a whisk and processor, triples its functionality as well, vaulting it into the “destined-to-be-used-to-death” category of kitchen appliances.

Lodge Logic Combo Cooker. I don’t own any cast iron cookware, despite having used and adored my old roommates’ pans. Cast iron is truly special; it ages well; retains heat and sears unlike any other metal; will likely outlast your kitchen itself, given correct care; and is somehow, incredibly, inexpensive. This combination dutch oven & skillet looks like the perfect starter piece.

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer. If only I had a spare, cool $100 lying around! Because I don’t, however, I’m looking at Thermoworks’ lower-end Digital Pocket Thermometer, available for a quarter of the price. While these thermometers may seem pricey, their convenience, accuracy, and sturdiness make them a great investment for the serious home cook.

KitchenAid Mixer. I just had to include this lovely thing on principle. If you plan to give this as a gift, however, its inclusion on this list shouldn’t be the thing to sway you; you’d likely already know that your recipient wants one (and which color he or she desires!). This mixer is often the centerpiece of kitchens, and rightfully so; it’s the mark of someone who has embraced domestic living. I envy those who own one, if only so that I can buy the incredibly useful (and similarly jaw-droppingly expensive) attachments: ice cream maker, meat grinder, pasta press. One day, when my wallet isn’t so spare, I’ll know the joys of a fully tricked-out KitchenAid mixer.

Instant Pot 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker. This multitasking machine browns meat, steams, warms, and acts as rice cooker, crockpot and pressure cooker. While those first few functions aren’t game-changing, the last three make this seem like a pretty impressive workhorse! Do notice, however, that there does seem to be a newer version scheduled for release in December. Those who seek simplicity or savings have options, too; you can’t go wrong with a slow cooker.

Sansaire Sous-vide Circulator. Sous-vide is all the rage nowadays, and it’s easy to see why: the food is darn delicious. The method does, however, exclude a sizeable swath of home cooks who don’t have the means to buy a circulator or jerry-rig their own cooker. Serious Eats wrote a glowing review of this newly available appliance, which seems like the answer to all our problems. Cutting-edge, affordable, and fun: the perfect gift for the food geek in your life.

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