When it comes to the holidays and exchanging gifts there are two kinds of people. The list people and the non-list people.
My family, non-listers. The husband's family, definitely list people, very detailed list people in fact. Let's be real, both have their pros and cons. I enjoy trying to figure out just what the non-list people in my life would like to receive, it feels a bit more personal to me, but it is also pretty nice (and easy) to pick something from a list and know the person will be pleased to receive it.
So whether you are trying to make your own list or looking for the perfect gift for someone who likes to cook, I've put together a few of my favorite kitchen staples. These aren't the big fancy kitchen gadgets that we all love (I'm looking at you, food processor), but they are things that I use daily. I also happened to receive all of them as gifts at one point or another. And bonus, all but one are under $15.
Lodge Striped Hot Handle Holders After absent-mindedly reaching for our cast iron handle one too many times while it was still hot the husband gifted me a pair of these. They are great. They slip on and off the handle of any pan easily and protect against any nasty burns.
2. Pan Scraper If I'm honest these little things were the complete catalyst for making this list. Each time I use one I wonder if people know these exist. I didn't until I received them as a gift a couple of years ago. They are perfect for scraping all the extra bits of food off of pots and pans without having to get a sponge/brush/whatever you use all gunky. I love these!
3. Whisk After having poorly made, cheap whisks that felt like they were always on the brink of falling apart for many years I was so happy to find this one made by OXO. It feels sturdy and has a nice handle grip, plus it is America's Test Kitchen's top pick so you know it has to be good!
4. Bench Scraper These are great for dividing dough, scraping up messes on the counter, or transferring chopped vegetables from a cutting board to the pan.
5. Wooden Spoons I think it is nearly impossible to have too many wooden spoons. I use them for everything. I love how these are a little more beefy than some.
6. Kitchen Towels I've come to realize in the last couple of years that I am very picky when it comes to kitchen towels. These towels are the best I've had yet. They look nice, they're super absorbent, and after six months of use they are still stain free. The only downside I've found is that the color fades slightly after many washes, but so far it hasn't been a deal breaker for me.
7. Kitchen Shears I think everyone needs a good pair of kitchen shears. And if you have small kids you probably need two or three pair as they are perfect for cutting food quickly into bite sized pieces. The big advantage of these over regular scissors is that they are dishwasher safe. Ours are constantly in use.
8. Bread Proofing Baskets Ok, so I don't actually use my proofing baskets everyday, but multiple times a week. When I first started making our bread I tried to proof it in ceramic bowls, these work a million, give or take a few thousand, times better. I've had mine for two years now and they look and function as good now as when they were new.
9. Cast Iron Skillet Come on, after numbers one and two up there you knew I had to throw this in. With the very rare exception, we exclusively use our cast iron skillet. A brand new one can be a little harder to clean, but once it gets good and seasoned it's a snap. I love that it heats evenly, gets super hot (great for searing meat), and I don't have to worry about any chemicals leaching into our food.