Monday, May 21, 2018
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Ten gifts to brighten cook's holiday

It's a week from Christmas Day. If you are not done with your holiday shopping, think about a piece of kitchenware for any last-minute gifts you need to buy.

Last year, we gave our twentysomething daughter a quiche pan because she loves quiche; a roasting pan so she could make roasts, and an electric frying pan so she could fry chicken. This year, she said, “Enough of this. I want clothes.”

Still, I couldn't help roaming stores' aisles of dishes and admiring the shelves of kitchen utensils. I came up with all kinds of items that she could use. So I'll share my list of 10 gifts worth considering:

1. An authentic Butter Bell crock. This is a modern version of the original French butter storage crock that safely keeps butter fresh and spreadable without refrigeration, odors, or spoilage. For authenticity the French butter crock or “beurrier“ (pronounced bur-e-ay) may be decorated with the French spelling. This is a perfect little gift.

2. An instant-reading thermometer. CDN Digital TempFork is fast, accurate, and reduces the time it takes to check the temperature on the turkey in the oven. Since opening the oven door brings the temperature down and extends the roasting time, this thermometer reduces cooking time.

3. Barbecue tools, a grill pad to protect your patio, or a starter kit for any grill lover, beginner to expert, are appreciated year-round.

4. A cheese knife and cheese board accompanied by a specialty cheese is always a favorite.

5. It is never too late in the season to give a cookie press, a pizzelle maker, a madeliene baking pan, or a collection of cookie cutters.

6. A large serving platter big enough for a turkey or a big ham is very welcome at the holiday table.

7. Compose a collection of spices in a festive basket. For Indian cooking, sweet curry powder, hot curry powder, tandoori spice, rogan josh, garam masala, and vindaloo seasoning. For Asian cooking, five spice powder, lemongrass, sate, and bottles of rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. For a taste of Mexico, select a chipotle pepper, adobo, cinnamon, or ancho chili. Supermarkets and specialty shops carry plenty of spices and seasonings to select from.

8. A colander with a bag or box of pasta and a pasta fork to help serve the slippery strands. Throw in a matching apron, hand towel, and oven mitt.

9. A garlic press is a great stocking-stuffer. Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press made with cast aluminum has a non-stick coating and a stainless steel sieve that flips out for easy cleaning — a major frustration of using a garlic press.

10. Food products from Toledo such as Frogtown fudge, Packo pickles, and Betty's dressing are fun gifts. Judy Bastian of Taste of Toledo and Best of Ohio Gift Baskets at 6833 Angola Rd. in Holland specializes in packaging these products in gift baskets.

As for those perennially popular Tony Packo products, Thomas Luettke reports that Comedian Bill Cosby's manager called the corporate office for the location of the nearest Tony Packo's in Columbus. There is no store there, so Mr. Luettke said he offered to deliver the hot dogs to Mr. Cosby for his appearance at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 5.

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor. E-mail her at

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