The Little Sister Gift Guide: 5 Essentials for Every Kitchen

When it comes to the kitchen, I rely most on the simplest tools. I’ve rounded up a list of my five favorites. Ranging from $10 to decadent splurge, I depend on each with faithful adoration. I hope there’s something here that inspires you! I read somewhere that this lemon press is Ottolenghi’s favorite gadget. Simple and affordable, it’s fully worthy of the poetic lemon.

Cooking is a balancing act. How to keep an eye on the many pans on the stove while chopping vegetables and minding the rising dough? This kitchen timer is the secret to your success. Not only is it a clock (this is a big deal for millenials—we don’t own clocks or watches), but it has THREE different timers for simultaneous cooking. Cake in the oven? Garlic browning? Dough rising? Check check check. No more frantically wiping the grease off your thumb to unlock your iPhone.

I wish I could tell you that my boyfriend and I cook romantic dinners together all the time. You know, like those scenes in Mostly Martha where the cold, headstrong Martha is seduced by the passionate Mario one steaming spoonful at a time. I’m more of the Martha in the equation, to the point where Sam sometimes retreats in defeat. But when Sam told me last Christmas to close my eyes and placed in my hand not a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates, but the sleek, air-light handle of a razor sharp Global G Series 16 cm stainless steel chef’s knife, that, if you ask me, was romance. This one is definitely a splurge, but if you know someone just starting their knife collection, it’s a must. When it really comes down to it, all you need is a good chef’s knife. OK, and a pairing knife and something serrated. But start with this one, trust me!

Food looks better in jars. This year I’ve embarked on a mission to convert my pantry from plastic bags and tupperware containers to a melange of mismatched glass jars. There’s something endlessly satisfying about unscrewing the top and pouring out of glass. Last holiday season I worked at the Eat Boutique Holiday market (a wonderland off all things edible and gorgeous) and founder extraordinaire Maggie Battista introduced me to Le Parfait jars, which are as fun to fill as they are to say. I recommend the 645 ML Jam Jar, but all of them are sublime.

I am unfamiliar with salt shakers. We grew up pinching salt out of the little ceramic dish we passed around the table at every meal. It was part of the act of sharing a meal, and “pass the salt” was an ingrained part of our daily vernacular. I’d be remiss not to disclose that my love of salt borders on the unhealthy, but fanatic or not, large-flake sea salt makes a great gift. Especially if you’ve only ever used table salt. My favorites are Maldon, beloved by chefs for its huge pure crystals, and No. 6 Depot, whose selection ranges from pink Himalayan to black Hawaiian.

Happy holidays, everyone! ♥

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