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I just love the holidays. I like giving gifts and I try to find that exactly right present for the right person each year. This doesn't have to be expensive and over the next few weeks I am going to write about some ideas for those cooks on your list. Some of these are luxury items, some are the must haves in a kitchen, and nearer Christmas I'll have a few ideas for stocking stuffers or that last minute gift you forgot you needed to buy.
A knife sharpener. There's a lot to choose from and getting your favorite cook one can be inexpensive or a little more pricy. I have always used Chef'sChoice sharpeners. What made me think of this column is that once someone made me a gift of the Chef'sChoice Pro Sharpening Station 130. I use this over and over and over. It's a fantastic product and will keep your knives well cared for and sharp, sharp, sharp.
Before owning the deluxe model I had their manual sharpener, and it also worked great. I don't have that one any longer, but here's today's equivalent product: Chef'sChoice MultiEdge Manual Knife Sharpener 460. It's really simple to use and will put a good hone on your knives (you did say that these gifts were for you, right?).
Duralex glassware. You may never have seen these glasses, but they are basically indestructible. I have had a set of three sizes for years and have never broken a single one. They are fashionable French Bistro glasses and a must for any household. They may not seem to be all that sexy a gift for a friend — they're just glasses after all. They are, however, the gift that will keep giving and giving.
I give at least one stick blender each year. If I have a friend who is a cook and I find they don't have one, this is a must on my holiday list. Every single person I have given this to raves about having it, and you would too. They are so versatile and easy to use, it comes out of the cupboard almost every day.
A copper pan. Now, this is luxury to some and essential to others. Copper conducts heat really well and the pans that are out today that are coated with copper and have a copper core are great. If you look around you'll find they are often on sale. AllClad makes a great product.
For the true, hardcore cook on your list, the big gift of the season could be the type of copper pan that has been used in Europe for centuries. A pan like this Mauviel is enough to get that chef of yours' heart racing. Of course, at that price this is an heirloom pan — one that will survive generations of good cooks.
A bag of true wild rice is the perfect gift for that chef on your list. It's not something that a lot of folks think about keeping in their pantry, so it's likely that you'll be giving something unique. Sweet, savory and full of protein, this makes a great accompaniment to so many recipes.
True wild rice
Happy holidays! Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
November 26, 2007