This blog features news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.

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What to get the cooks on your list

Are you shopping for someone who puts good food in your belly all year long? Are you finding yourself lost in the cookbook aisles and kitchen gadget display areas?

Here are a few targeted gift ideas for the wielder of the wooden spoon in your life.

Basic ingredients – A nice bottle of olive oil (try Taste in downtown Fredericksburg) can be put to use in any kitchen. Does your cook have a favorite spice blend? One of my favorite birthday presents this year was a small jar of herbes de Provence, which I find myself dipping into for all kinds of recipes. A really good bar of baking chocolate, a hunk of good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or–if your cook is a baker–a specially milled flour are also great ideas. Good cooks always appreciate good building blocks for their meals.

Nice-looking potholders and kitchen linens – A kitchen that gets a lot of use doesn’t stay clean for long. My potholders are full of burn holes and batter stains. Nobody ever actually goes shopping for their own potholders–or if they do, they’re going to buy the cheap ones on sale that don’t provide much dexterity and won’t last very long. Shell out for some nice ones with fun patterns that can brighten up a dingy kitchen. If you’re shopping early enough, get them monogrammed. Throw in a few fresh dish towels or fun table linens for good measure.

Kitchen scents – From dish soap to lotion to spray cleaners, there are all manner of products that can bring a fresh scent to any kitchen–because there is such a thing as too much bacon grease smell. A personal favorite is Williams-Sonoma’s line of home fragrances.

A manicure - OK, maybe the male cooks won’t go for this, but if you do a lot of cooking, you do a lot of dishes, and it does a number on your nails. Book your cook a seat at your favorite nail salon.

Local market dollars – Did you know you can buy gift certificates to the Spotsylvania Farmers Market in $10 increments? This market will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Gordon Road commuter lot through Dec. 22 if you’d like to grab a few of these.

A CSA share – This is a seriously generous gift. But if your cook has a favorite local farm for produce or other products, ask if that farm has any kind of CSA or other membership program that could provide a steady supply of raw materials for months to come.

A good bottle of wine – It really is that simple. The perfect complement to the products of a busy kitchen.

What are your favorite gifts for the kitchen?



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