The trick to these types of gifts is that the woman in your life has to have expressed a clear desire or need for them, or you just think it would make her life that much easier to own. Otherwise, you risk looking like a character on Mad Men with your postwar-era mentality. So here are some great options for the Julia Child in your life this holiday season.
The Food Network makes it look so easy to prepare a dish. And it is, when you’ve got a prep chef doing all of the grunt work first! So, if she hates chopping, peeling or dicing, getting her a slicer is a great idea.
Sounds weird, I know, but I love to cook and this type of labor is the biggest impediment to my kitchen wizardry. This Williams-Sonoma Professional Multi-Chopper ($40) is a huge help, or you can help her slice/julienne better with a handy dandy mandoline like this one, albeit a pricier option ($200).
If she enjoys making homemade pizza – my specialty, though my mother holds the title for best pie – consider getting her a baking stone like this one from Crate & Barrel ($45). It’s the perfect way to get the crisp bottom crust she’s been aiming for every time.
Or, if she’s more of a beverage girl, you can opt for some beautiful stemless wine glasses like these monogrammed ones from Williams-Sonoma ($90 for set of 6, also available in stemmed options and white wine versions as well).
They also offer a ton of other standout options, like a stainless-steel monogrammed bar tools set for the woman who likes to drink her dinner instead, as well as personalized carafes and pilsner glasses.
There are two things I’m obsessed with in my apartment, and my Keurig is one of them (my dude-sized TV is the other). If she enjoys coffee at all, or even if she just needs it to prop herself up in the morning, Keurig has pretty much perfected the art of no clean up, ease of use and has a variety of fun coffee flavor options – Hawaiian Hazelnut and Gingerbread are top notch. This personal-sized $100 brewing option is perfect for small spaces, and it comes in three colors. If she doesn’t already own one, trust me – it’s a winner.
Finally, if she likes being in the kitchen but could use some help on her skills, buying her some cooking classes is also a thoughtful option.
DISCLAIMER: Do not, I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances, purchase cooking classes unless she has said she’d like to learn some new techniques, wishes she knew more dishes or generally has expressed an interest in this. Otherwise, you’re indirectly telling her that her cooking is sub par, in which case you better hope you didn’t get her a new set of chopping knives this year, too.
Sur La Table offers both in person and virtual cooking instruction, in areas like knife skills, the Ultimate Bacon Menu (every guy’s ears just perked up), Thai cooking, fast French food, and even pastry making. Seriously, these classes are phenomenal. They’ll run you anywhere from $25 to $215 for multi-part instructional series, but are worth every penny.
All of these options are perfect for: the woman who feels at home in the kitchen. Dating timeline appropriateness: Several months into your relationship, at least. Getting her a domestic gift if you don’t know her really well or she hasn’t cooked you dinner yet is a gamble, FYI. What it says about you: I recognize that cooking is your hobby, and I support it (and want to reap the benefits of it, too).
So there you have it, some ideal tools for whipping up a little extra fun in the kitchen (though you men would prefer she be a wiz in the bedroom instead, but still…) If Santa comes down the chimney wearing an apron this year it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Have ideas for my Fail-Safe Girl Gift Guide? Send to: email@example.com. And don’t forget to stay creative – and hungry, boys.