For new cooks, the world is their oyster. (They might not know how to shuck it yet, but they'll get there.) To do that, they need the right tools, so we've compiled a list of classic yet inexpensive items for new cooks that we think will have a big impact on their cooking life. You won't find a KitchenAid mixer or All-Clad pans on this list (great as they are), but you will find an affordable chef's knife, a use-it-forever set of measuring cups, and an olive oil that'll blow their mind — all tools to get a new cook going in the kitchen.
Read on for our first gift guide of the season, and see our holiday sweepstakes — your chance to win a little help for buying your holiday gifts this year.
- 1 Cuisinart CSB-76 SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, $34.95 from Amazon: Voted by our readers as the #1 multi-tasking gadget for small kitchens, this easy-to-use-and-store tool is a must-have for soups and sauces.
- 2 Victorinox 8-Inch Chef's Knife with Rosewood Handle, $49.95 from Amazon: We've long been a fan of Victorinox knives. At $30-$40 for the basic model, they're affordable, sharp, and long-lasting. If you can spend just a little more, the rosewood handle version is a lovely upgrade for a gift.
- 3 Olive Wood Mixing Spoon, $12 from Brook Farm General Store: The spoon they'll reach for again and again.
- 4 Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet, $19 from Amazon: Multi-purpose and practically indestructible. Good for everything from bacon to steak to apple pancake.
- 5 Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 8, $39.95 from CHEFS: Heavy-duty and with additional measures of 1/16, 1/8, 2/3, and 3/4-cup, this is a buy-it-once-have-it-forever set.
- 6 Recipe Journal, $19.95 from Moleskine: The sleek good looks of a Moleskine with features to keep your handwritten recipes well-organized.
- 7 2013 Frescobaldi Laudemio First Pressing Olive Oil, $26 from Market Hall Foods: This might seem expensive but is actually a very good deal for something that will change how a new cooks looks at olive oil, and it will last a long time. This is a finishing oil to be savored with bread or drizzled over a salad.
- 8 Spanish Wine or Beer Glasses, $9 from The Picket Fence: Sexy casual wine glasses that double as ramekins for food prep and serving little dishes of olives.
- 9 Wusthof 5558-1 Come-Apart Kitchen Shears, $19.95 from Amazon: Shears are good for a million things — chopping herbs, cutting chicken joints, or opening packages. A good pair will be well-loved in the kitchen.
- 10 Cuisinart Chef's 1 1/2 Quart Sauce Pan, $20 from Amazon: Cheap and practical – they'll use this all the time.
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.