Food-Related Gifts Recommended by Experts (2014)

giftsRunning out of gift ideas for your friend, relative, or spouse (who may fit into all 3 of these categories)?  Money is sometimes a fine gift unless you have none or the recipient has endless quantities. In any case, an item you can charge and the recipient can use for cooking will work well. Below you'll find suggestions from 2 of our site's Advisory Board members and from other sources in the know about things culinary.  Remember, Amazon prices (given on many products listed below) can fluctuate from one day to the next.


If you don't find an appropriate item to give listed below, consult our 2013 holiday gift list (which is much longer than this one) or even the 2012 list. There is good stuff on both these lists, but don't count on today's prices being the same. If you find some repetitions on our lists, just assume that means we really, really like that item.


Note: Even If you've already purchased all your holiday gifts, look over these lists of food-related items.  You'll probably find at least one that your kitchen could use.  (No, we're not getting paid to mention any of them.)


Suggestions from food scientist and Shelf Life Advice Board member Dr. Catherine Cutter: 


The super-chill insulated serving collection keeps foods cold! Note: This collection is more “upscale” and elegant than years past. No plastic!  $99.50


These types of buffet servers keep three different containers of foods nice and hot!!  $54.99


This sponger-holder is clever! According to the website, there's a slot for your "good sponge" (used for counter top and dishes) and "evil sponge" (sink and drain). It helps you keep track of your scrubbers without sacrificing space or style. $28.||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-


It’s a small meat marination system with a vacuum.  $39.95||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-


According to the website: It’s a small, versatile electric pressure cooker. Use the fast pressure setting to cook tender meats and veggies quickly or use the slow-cook setting to layer on complex flavors. The fully programmable cooker automatically switches to "keep warm," so you can simply set it and forget it. $179.95


I like the aluminum slow-cooker. I can braise/cook meat or veggies in the pot and transfer it directly to the cooker. I also would venture to guess that a metal pan would conduct heat better than a ceramic one (old style crock pot).  $149.95


Suggestions from food process engineer Dr. Timothy Bowser:


The spiral slicer “spiralizer” vegetable cutter is a great tool for making vegetables more interesting.  Click on the above link to see what it can do.  About $14 on Amazon.||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-


This reversible meat tenderizer is a simple gift that will last a lifetime and never need fixing. Williams-Sonoma.  About $30.


The sensor soap pump is a step in the right direction for food safety. Hands-free action dispenses soap or lotion with volume control. About $40 on Amazon.


Some items listed as "must-haves" in ShopSmart (a Consumer Reports publication):


garlic press: The testers liked the Oxo Good Grips model for $16.


nonstick pan: The top-rated skillet is the Swiss Diamond Classic for $90. ShopSmart also recommends the Calphalon Simply Non-Stick 10-piece set for $200.


salad spinner: This device will help you avoid soggy salads.  The recommended model is Oxo Good Grips for about $30


immersion blender: "It whips in air and blends starchy vegetables (such as potatoes and carrots) into a creamy consistency so that it's not necessary to add butter or cream, which also adds calories. The recommended Breville Control Grip BSB510XL sells for $100.


Some funny items from a Chicago Tribune article:


surprising old-fashioned glasses:  Even before you've drunk too many, you'll see  deer's head, complete antlers, inside the glass. The Stag Coin Double Old-Fashioned glasses cost $33 for two.  See this item on


pig cooking lid: When the pot starts to give off steam, it comes out of the pig's snout! This conversation piece is sold by the Museum of Contemporary Art.  To buy it, go to  The price: $23.95. 





Timothy J. Bowser, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering


Catherine N. Cutter, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Dept. of Food Science


Joe Regenstein, Ph.D., Cornell University, Dept. of Food Science


Chicago Tribune, Section 6, "For the foodies on your list," November 23, 2014.


ShopSmart, "Healthy-cooking must-haves: Gadgets that make meal prep taster and easier,"

April 2014.



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