In having everyone ask me what I wanted for the holidays I thought it might be helpful to make a list. Since much of this list centers around the kitchen I figured I’d post some of them here, to share what I think makes a good choice. We have a tiny kitchen (about three fridges wide and barely twice that in length), so much of this would not be immediately useful. But a girl can dream and make sacrifices when she needs. Plus my birthday is coming up in March…
1. A Knife Set
We currently have the Forum set from Chicago Cutlery. Our bread knife has a loose piece in the handle (it rattles) and we snapped the paring knife a couple years into owning it. But its held up well to our crappy care and the only real complaint I have is how light it is. While browsing at Walmart I picked up a chef’s knife from the Fusion set…and fell in love. Its a blended design with metal surrounded by a poly textured handle to help with grip. Its stylish in design, has a real heft in the hand, and comes in santoku and partuko as well as the knives I am already used to. It comes in an 18 piece set, which includes 8 steak knives and 10 other knives. Plus its on clearance at our local Walmart.
2. Cutting Boards
I have the same thin cutting mats and plastic board I used in college. The board is warped, and although I’ve replaces the mats a couple times, they are pretty shabby quickly. I’ve been looking at a real wood board for some time now, and I find few meet my standards. The first one I’ve found in ages they sell at Reny’s for just about $50. It weighs as much as a large cast iron skillet and is real 100% hardwood made in Maine. They are striped in pretty patterns using the wood colors….
Target sells a beautiful endcut of blackened bamboo board….but its not on their website to feature here. At just under $30 its a nice choice and would fit with the colors of our plates. Its a bit big for current use though.
Also from Target are this proteak cutting board, which is a lovely type of wood (teak) with a beautiful background of sustainable and responsible agriculture. Its got a nice juice canal to keep all the juice from fruit from getting all over my counter and a hole to hang it out of the way when not in use.
I did see a similar shaped board at Home Goods, but it was simply hardwood and not as lovely of a piece.
3. Bulk Spice Storage
Since I tend to use different spices these days, and buy them loose when possible a new type of spice storage is warranted. A set of matching containers would be nicer than the reused bottles from other spices I have been using, since the plastic caps tend to keep the flavor and aroma of the old spice in them. This set by Libbey from Target looks like it would fit the bill nicely.
4. Rice Maker/Steamer
I could live on rice alone. I did for quite a bit of my time in college….at least for meals at the dorm. Of course that was reheated from the local Chinese restaurant, and thus amazing. Cooking on the stove isn’t nearly as easy but a nice rice maker would solve all that, as well as allow me to steam veggies to go with the rice.
5. A New Brita Pitcher
We’ve had our cheap white one forever, and we really don’t need the space saving design to stick it in the fridge…it sets on the counter and is used mostly for water for the dogs….so a pretty container would be preferable. I’d love the new Bobble pitcher but can’t say I want to spend the extra $2 per refill filter right now.
6. Pet Mats for the Dog Dishes
Not really a kitchen item, except for the fact that our dogs eat in the kitchen since it has tile floors and not carpet. They have kitchen mats under their dishes now so they don’t slide and keep water spills from traveling far, but this would probably work better. And its pink.
And while it doesn’t come in red, Boris would probably deal with the green color.
I really, really want one of these. I even managed to snag a $20 off coupon, but we ran out before I had a chance to buy one. We’re not so sure about the soda flavors, but as far as sparkling water and being able to carbonate syrups and such I make myself this will be tops.
8. A Kitchenaid Mixer that Helps Save the Boobies
Every good cook needs a Kitchenaid mixer. When I saw the raspberry ice color from their Susan G Komen collection, I knew this was the one for me. With a 5qt capacity and 325watts of power we could create beautiful things together….especially with all the lovely attachments from grinders to ice cream makers. Plus it is available from target so I could get my employee discount.
9. Lodge Dutch Oven
We don’t have one, everyone needs more cast iron….enough said. Although I am torn between the 5qt and 7qt, I love the new handle design which is meant to allow a hotpad covered hand into it better. The older style, an enameled version or even the one with a skillet instead of a lid would do just as well though. So long as its Lodge and not made in China.
10. Weck Canning Jars
Any size would be great. They seem like they would be splendid fun to have to use at home.
11. Hot Cocoa and Iced Tea Spoons
We have been using the same set from the dollar store for years and they are about done…I think we only have half of what we started with. I saw this cute hot cocoa spoon in the Crate&Barrel catalog but waited too long to think about getting a couple. No longer available online through the catalog, although people who live near stores may still find them in stock.
Not sure what I’d want in an iced tea spoon….I think the set of flatware we have made one…but I can’t recall.
12. Floating Spice Ball
I bought a baby solid food feeder to use for spices in my jams and pickles, but I worry about the safety of heating it up all the time. This would be way better and meant for the job.
13. Ginger Grater
I use ginger alot more in jams than I thought I would, and have definitely wondered about the fibery yucky things….this solves that problem for me. And apparently its been used by AB. What more can you say for a gadget than AB has one? That means its a multi-tasker.
14. Vintage Canning Items
I would love to have a glass funnel. Plastic is all well and good, but as a scientist you just can’t beat glass. I also have been scouring the local thrift stores for bale top jars, Ball jars that can be frozen in and Grolsch or swing top bottles.
15. Spices and Herbs for Cooking
Not everything I want grows close to home and some things would be better tasting from better sources.
Crystallized ginger from the Ginger People. I bought a jar of the baking chips awhile ago and they are way zestier than the stuff I buy elsewhere. Already in small bits I can just add them and enjoy. Any size would be awesome, as would the minced ginger.
Lavender is something I used this year, but the blend I bought from the orchard seemed to have lots of sticks and bits of non-flower in it. Getting it local (or close to) would be awesome.
Sour cherries, organic meyer lemons, organic cara cara oranges, or other organic citrus would be awesome. A trip to pick local peaches, berries or apples (along with help doing so) would be great.
Spices in bulk, especially organic. Cinnamon stick, whole cloves, whole allspice, whole star anise, whole nutmeg, whole cardamom. As well as fresh dill heads, dill seed, mustard seed, celery seed, whole peppercorns, garlic heads, tumeric and canning salt.
Vanilla beans would be great as well. I am down to my last two bottles of extract. And while they will be amazing, being five years old, I will need to get the next batch in the works so I have some ready when they are gone. I can’t go back to commercial extracts ever again. Arizona Vanilla Company is where I got my last batch from, but I would be willing to test other beans, so long as they are grade A or non-extract only level beans. A sampler would be splendid. I got bourbon beans last time.
16. Tattler Lids
While I am not sure I would replace all my lids with these (cause in all honesty then I would be relying on people to return both a lid and a jar) I would love to play with these and see how much I could replace my stock recipe batches with them. After all some things I remake to have enough on hand and these would be perfect to mark the “keeps” versus the “gives” when it comes time to sort.
17. Burr coffee grinder
Cause after I have all those wonderful whole spices I have to grind them somehow and a grinder is way safer than a grater for my fingers.
18. Empty Bottles for Extracts
Once you make the extract you have to give it away in a pretty bottle right? These come in a 1.4oz size which would be perfect.
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