Every year the holidays roll around, and I get at least three emails, two texts, a phone call and a handful of Facebook messages from various friends and neighbors asking what kitchen gadget they must acquire for their loved one. While I appreciate their trust in my ability to accessorize my own kitchen, most are really surprised (and maybe a little disappointed!) when my response isn’t for a new sous vide machine or high-tech — and hard to use — wine opener. Ethan and I have always kept things pretty simple in the kitchen, but it is especially important now that we have two small children. You really only need a few things to create a well-stocked, functional kitchen: a set of good knives (I like Global, Ethan likes Shun), an assortment of basic All-Clad pots and pans, and a good cutting board. That said, there are a few other “must haves” we love.
The ultimate blender for soups, smoothies and baby food. My youngest isn’t a huge fan of green vegetables, so I offer a fruit smoothie with spinach or kale. The Vita-Prep also handles hot food, which is perfect for winter soup purées.
It seems so simple, but a good vegetable peeler makes a big difference when trying to get dinner prepped quickly.
An essential in my kitchen in the winter months for soups, stews and braised meat. Also great for steel-cut oats, which take 20–30 minutes on the stove top. Before going to bed, I put the oats in the cooker and a little more water than the recipe calls for, along with half of a cinnamon stick or a few cardamom pods and turn the cooker to “warm.” Hot cereal awaits the next morning. The great thing about gifting a slow cooker is you can spend a relatively small amount of money and get a good product or you can go for the higher-end All-Clad version.
I don’t get fancy here. All I want is a basic rice cooker that allows me to walk away and know that at least one part of our meal is going to cook itself.
Superhigh-quality nonstick pan, which I did not think was important until I had kids and became a short-order egg cook every morning.
Because everyone loves pancakes!
Ethan and I both love these cutting boards! We actually had the entire kitchen pass at Anchovies & Olives made from a Boos Block. The boards are made of high-quality wood and they don’t slip around. Hands down, the most used item in our kitchen.
Another great stocking stuffer. I got one as a gift a few years ago and thought I would never use it, but it’s so much easier to put unused avocado in the saver and toss it in the fridge.
Being from Seattle, I realize this might be a controversial recommendation. We have amazing coffee in our city, but I actually like this espresso and I love that I get a no-mess almond milk latte every morning. And now you can recycle the pods, which was a sticking point for me for awhile.
Whatever awaits you under your tree or in your stocking, we hope it will make life a little easier in the kitchen and help your family connect over good food!