Part of the fun in any cook's life is the moment when you get a new tool, use it, love it, and then wonder — how did I ever live without this?! Sometimes the awesomeness of those items isn't apparent upfront, like the budget-friendly wok that turned out to be super versatile, or the pretty little pot that you just started keeping on your stove because you used it so much.
So, with that in mind, here are 10 of our favorite must-have (but not necessarily obvious) items for the kitchen — all classic, wise and worthwhile gifts for the serious cook.
- 1 All-Clad 3 Quart Saucier Pan, $169.95 from Amazon: Everyone always has skillets or straight-sided pots, but we've found the saucier is a terrific go-to for everything from making pasta sauces to making caramel.
- 2 OXO Good Grips Food Mill, $49.95 from Amazon: A food mill is the old-fashioned food processor, making the creamiest mashed potatoes and silkiest pureed vegetables.
- 3 Carbon Steel Wok, $29.95 from The Wok Shop: This cheap, easy piece is our new must-have for quick, healthy cooking. (Read Faith's review of it here.)
- 4 Tik Tak Apron, $85 from Hedley & Bennett: A favorite of restaurant chefs for its durability and good looks.
- 5 Fissler Vitaquick 8.5 Quart Pressure Cooker, $279.95 from Amazon: We admit we were wary of pressure cookers, until this one completely won us over. (Read Dana's review of it here.)
- 6 Splash-Proof, Super-Fast Thermapen, $96 from ThermoWorks: We've sung the praises of the Thermapen for years, and we're not stopping anytime soon. No more guesswork when roasting meat or making candies or jams. (Read Faith's review of it here.)
- 7 Magnus Lundstrom White Marble Mortar & Pestle, $80 from Area: This luscious white mortar and pestle is a very stylish version of an essential tool. Large enough for pesto, sturdy enough for spices, beautiful enough for the windowsill.
- 8 Dansk Kobenstyle Butter Warmer, $40 from Amazon: Once you have one of these tiny pots you'll think of so many ways to use it: melting chocolate, warming milk for a latte. The pour spout is both neat and charming.
- 9 Spoon Rest in Cream Stoneware, $16.75 from lofficina: We discovered a few years ago that spoon rests are something many of our readers feel very passionate about. Chances are your favorite cook wouldn't mind a pretty one like this.
- 10 J.A. Henckels 9-Inch Poly Sharpening Steel, $17.95 from Amazon: This steel is an everyday method for keeping your knife blades aligned and sharp. An essential for any cook who loves her knives.
This year, The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy aren't just sharing great ideas in our gift guides, we're giving away $1,000 to help one lucky reader purchase presents for their friends and family! Through Friday, December 13th, we'll publish new gift guides each day on both sites while collecting entries in the sweepstakes. (See Official Rules for details. One entry per reader, please.) Enter below for a chance to receive a bit of extra help from us this holiday season — we want it to be your best and brightest yet!
And we're not done. Starting on Monday, December 16, The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy editors have lined up ten absolutely unbelievable items (really, you won't believe how great they are!) for our big, blowout week-long Holiday Giveaway 2013. To be notified on when and how to enter to win these super-special gifts, sign up for our giveaway email today, and you won't miss a single one.