It's Birthday Week, and we're rounding up some of our favorite gifts for food-lovers and cooks. Our earlier roundups were on the economical end, but now is the time to look at that handful of covetable, forever-useful kitchen tools that cost a little more (and rightly so), but will last a lifetime. There are the usual suspects — Dutch oven, stand mixer — plus a few other special splurges for a loved cook or for yourself! TOP ROW
• 1 Le Creuset Signature Oval Dutch Oven, $225.00 - $370.00 at Williams-Sonoma. - A weighty, beautiful Dutch oven — perhaps the most-coveted high ticket kitchen tool?
• 2 Vitamix CIA Professional Series Blender, $498.95 at Amazon. - Another expensive yet totally solid tool we love.
• 3 Splash-Proof Thermapen, $89 at ThermoWorks - At just shy of $100, the Thermapen is a splurgey sort of thermometer. But its speed and accuracy make it one of the most-used tools in my kitchen (review here).
• 4 All-Clad® Stainless Steel Multi-Cooker, 12 qt., $169.95 at Sur La Table - A really, really big pot, that comes with multiple inserts to make steaming and pasta-cooking easier. A super price for an endlessly useful pot.
• 5 KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, $279.99 at Amazon - Surely another of the most-coveted expensive kitchen tools. And a stand mixer is truly useful: It speeds up so many kitchen tasks!
• 6 Sodastream Crystal Soda Maker, $179.95 at Amazon - If you like seltzer water, then a Sodastream is a great investment, cutting down on wasted bottles. Just make your seltzer yourself. Also a great semi-luxury gift that people don't think to buy themselves.
• 7 Shun Premier Chef's Knife, 8-Inch, $119.95 at Amazon - Knives are considered unlucky gifts, but you can circumvent this old tradition by giving a knife with a penny, which the recipient returns to you to "buy" the knife. A technical way around giving a very welcome, very useful lifetime gift!
• 8 DeLonghi Gelato Maker , $248 at Amazon - Have an ice-cream-crazed friend or relative? There are cheaper ice cream machines, but I love the luxury of this compressor model, which lets you make batch after batch without the hassle of keeping a big bowl in your freezer. See my review here.
• 9 Staub Baker, 3 1/4-Qt., $100 at Williams-Sonoma - When it comes to enameled cast iron, Dutch ovens get all the love, but don't overlook the cast iron baking pan. It's fantastic for roasting, and beautiful on the table.
• 10 Fuego Element Portable Gas Grill, 149.99 at Amazon - A little gas grill that even apartment-dwellers can use! See our review here.
Have you ever given (or received) a more splurgey yet forever useful kitchen gift?
(Images: Williams-Sonoma; Amazon; ThermoWorks; Sur La Table; Amazon; Williams-Sonoma; Amazon; Amazon; Williams-Sonoma; Emma Christensen)