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2020 Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers

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Let’s cook up some great holiday gift ideas.

It’s Unpeeled Journal’s second annual Holiday Gift Guide for Home Cooks, Lovers of Food, and Baking Enthusiasts! Basically, if there’s someone in your life who loves to cook, bake, or eat, then I have some creative holiday gift ideas for you. Read on.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies
Photo by Kira auf der Heide, via Unsplash

The Best Gift Ideas for Home Cooks, Bakers, and Food Lovers

Holiday shopping can be tricky. But thankfully, great gift ideas abound for the food and cooking lover in your life. Whether you want to gift someone a practical, high-quality kitchen equipment upgrade, or just some fun food-themed socks and PJs to put a smile on your loved one’s face, this food-lovers gift guide has you covered in every price range.

Ed. Note: Each of these items is a personal, independent selection. No paid promotions, benefits, or profits. 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies
Photo by freestock for Unsplash

2021 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers

Category 1: Holiday Gifts Under $30

1. A Bucket of Maldon Salt

The finishing salt of finishing salts, this large flakey sea salt has a lovely, not-too-salty flavor and adds that little special touch to everything from pastas to avocado toast. An essential for every chef ever.

bucket of maldon salt holiday 2020 gift guide for home cooks

2. Herb Shears

I am not usually a fan of single-use kitchen gear, but these 10-blade herb shears make quick, neat work of mincing fresh herbs, especially chives.

2020 holiday cooking gift guide herb shears

3. Parchment Sheets

I constantly use parchment for baking, sheet pan dinners, and even gift wrapping, But I always find parchment a little tough to eyeball for size, and tend to rip it. Pre-cut half-sheets of parchment make life much simpler.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies parchment sheets

4. A Good Cookbook

Always a good call for cooks. There are always essential classics any home cook deserves to own, and this year had some fantastic new cookbooks to add to an existing collection.

My favorite cookbooks of 2021 include:

  • Don Angie restaurant’s Italian-American: upscale Italian-American food from an N.Y.C. “it” restaurant
  • Baking With Dorrie, by Dorrie Greenspan: accessible, French-leaning desserts from the beloved cook and baker
  • Once Upon a Chef: Weeknight/Weekend is Jenn Segal’s second cookbook, once again featuring a collection of trusted recipes you’ll want to make, from easy weeknight dinners to special-occasion feasts
  • To Asia With Love, by Hetty McKinnon: I’m cooking my way through this entire collection of wholesome, delicious Asian home-cooking recipes (all of which happen to be vegetarian). You should, too.
  • Cook This Book, by Molly Baz: Any cooking Millennial in your life would love to get this collection of fun, modern, can-do recipes.
  • The Arabesque Table, by Reem Kassis: Reem’s collection of 130 Arabic home cooking recipes (organized by main ingredient) will certainly enliven your home-cooking repertoire — and offer fascinating look at history and culture, too.

My all-time essential cookbooks are listed in this roundup, including Alice Waters, Maida Heatter, and Jacques Pépin.

cookbooks in stack with tulips and eggs

5. A Gift Certificate to Burlap & Barrel Spices

Need some purple peppercorns? Ground cinnamon that is actually cinnamon? Savvy home cooks will seriously geek out on this sustainable, fair-trade online spice shop, favored by many pro chefs for their wide selection and intelligently-sourced spices. This ain’t the McCormick’s display at the supermarket.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies spices

6. Deluxe Pasta

Heaven looks like the pasta department of Eataly, the brick-and-mortar wonderland of all things Italian food. They also have a full online shop. Who wouldn’t get heart emoji eyes over some two-foot long fusilli, or rainbow striped lasagna noodles sticking out of their stocking?

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies pasta shapes

7. A Banneton

Bread baking got huge in 2020. For those still into making artisanal loaves at home, this bread proofing basket is essential. It also makes an attractive serving bowl for sliced bread.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies banneton

8. Socks

Baby, it’s cold outside. And also really dark. These food-inspired socks will warm up spirits and feet alike.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies food socks

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies sushi socks

9. Tomato Knife

A small, serrated knife does not come standard in knife sets. But once you start using one, you will wonder why not. Perfectly sized for tomatoes, fruit, small loaves of bread, with great control because of its size. Here is a slightly pricier option from Henckels.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies tomato knife

10. A Chic Puzzle

I love this puzzle from Piecework, with it’s chic, retro-style photography and food-themed design. The indie company has several good ones to choose from, but I like this “Rise & Shine” best.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies puzzle

11. A Blow Torch

Think mile-high meringue, crême brulée, and under-broiled roasts. Julia Child is (falsely) attributed as saying, “Every woman should own a blowtorch.” She may not have actually said it, but I completely agree. This one from the Web Restaurant Store is a best buy. Amazon has some good options, too.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies blow torch

Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers: $31 to $100

1. A Champagne Saber

If there was ever a New Year’s Eve to pop a cork, this is it. Goodbye, 2020! A French champagne saber is surprisingly easy to master (don’t tell your guests) but makes a celebratory and fun occasion even more memorable. This is one of the best-quality-for-the-price options I’ve found. Great for wine enthusiasts, people who love hosting, and cooks who have everything.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies champagne saber

2. Aged Balsamic Syrup

A 15-year balsamic, sweetly acidic and syrupy, is an indulgent finish to everything from caprese to sandwiches. A worthy investment that lands for a long time.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies balsamic syrup

3. A Professional’s Apron

Hedley & Bennett is the woman-owned apron company making huge inroads in professional and home kitchens alike. They are beautifully made in the U.S.A., and come in a variety of sizes and designs. I’m currently in love with their smock pinafore style, but the Essential style is a no-fail way to go. H&B is also carrying masks, canvas totes, and other accessories.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies hedley bennett apron

4. Proper Cheese Knives

A nice cheese platter deserves the right knives, each designed for a particular type of  cheese.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies cheese knives set

5. A Set of Serving Utensils

Serving utensils always make a beautiful gift, and are practical, too. Crate & Barrel has a wide selection in comfortable price ranges.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies serving utensils

6. A Gorgeous Bundt Pan

Anyone who loves to bake cakes deserves to have something beautiful to bake them in. Nordic Ware makes a large variety of beautiful, sturdy bundt cake molds, many of which are currently on sale.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies bundt pan

7. A “You’ll Have It Forever” Cutting Board (Boos)

A John Boos cutting block is the thick, high-quality cutting board preferred by many chefs and talented home cooks. The shop offers multiple sizes, but I love this rather large, solid workhorse in maple. You can also upgrade to walnut.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies Boos cutting block

Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers: $100 and Up

1. Joule Sous-Vide

This culinary “it” gift makes sous-vide cooking seamless and low-fuss, with its sleek design and immersion-style ease of use. (Williams-Sonoma currently has them on sale for 45% off!)

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies breville sous-vide

2. A Pasta Extruder

A KitchenAid mixer is a gift that keeps on giving. Not everyone knows that KitchenAid mixers can be outfitted with front attachments, like this extruder for fresh ziti, spaghetti, bucatini, rigatoni, and fusilli. Currently offered at a nice discount.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies kitchenaid pasta

3. A Santoku Knife

I like Global knives. They are well-balanced, stainless steel knives that are not obscure or hard to find. Their santoku is easy to handle, works for almost everything, and feels great to handle.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies santoku knife global

4. Bedhead Pajamas in Les Macarons or Sushi Prints

Los Angeles-based Bedhead makes fabulous pjs. Several styles come in adorable food prints, which also come in short-sleeve and kid versions.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies bedhead sushi pajamas

Have other gift ideas for cooking enthusiasts or food lovers? Share below!

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