Last Updated on February 19, 2021
2020 has been a big year for home cooking. For some people, it’s been a time to level up skills in the kitchen and master new techniques and recipes. For others? The burnout is real.
But cooking is not going away—especially if you’re feeding a family at home. Coping with the challenges of 2020 is about finding pleasure and peace in the minutia of the daily grind. Thoughtful offerings that bring form and function together can help with this!
So whether you’re looking for gifts for the still-eager cook or the cook who’s seriously over it right now, take a spin through this guide for some inspiration. And then get shopping—the volume of packages in the mail this year is breaking records and delaying ship times.
Give Your Home Cook a Break
Sometimes the best way to get back into a groove with cooking is to let someone else do it for a bit. If your favorite cook is low on inspiration, give them a few nights off.
- Hire a local personal chef to provide a week’s worth of meals.
- Give them a new meal kit to try, and enlist a member of their household to do the cooking.
- Give a gift certificate to their favorite indie takeout joint—support a local restaurant while you’re at it.
Sharpen and Hone
Carve out some joy with a nice sharp new knife or pair of shears. Bonus points if it’s easy on the eyes:
Shears are an often-overlooked essential, especially for newer cooks. Snip anything from chicken backs to chives and mint. This sturdy set of two will look lovely hanging on a knife magnet.
Knives are often described as an extension of your hand, so imagine how nice someone’s hand would look holding this gorgeous “petty knife” from New West Knife Works – slightly bigger than a paring knife with a 5.5-inch blade and a handle that is almost distractingly cute.
Upgrade the Kitchen Standards
High-quality kitchen equipment is important, especially when it’s in heavy rotation. Even better? High-quality kitchen equipment that gives your stove and table an aesthetic upgrade.
This good-for-everything sheet pan is made from aluminized steel (so it can withstand super-high heat) with a jewel-toned ceramic coating. The colors alone (blueberry, broccoli) bring a glam factor not previously associated with this workhorse item.
The Dansk Kobenstyle is in the same family of pieces that make the trip from stove to table with grace and in this case, a gorgeous Mid-century vibe.
Even if your favorite cook is roasting a chicken for what feels like the 7,000th time this year, the Kobenstyle’s sleek lines will make it feel new again. (No guarantees, but still.)
For cooks who want to go deeper on their zero-waste game, a few upgrades in food storage might be in order:
Printed beeswax-dipped canvas sheets to replace plastic wrap. Begging to be stuffed into a stocking.
Nested lidded mixing bowls that may or may not remind you of summer camping trips as a kid. Regardless, they’ll bring a retro style to the most basic equipment in the room.
Whether it’s workwear-style or a version to conjure a 19th-century French farmhouse, a new apron is like opening a new notebook – the fresh stories they’ll tell!
Get them to channel their inner badass New York chef with this sharp, lightly waxed number from husband-and-wife-owned apron and apparel company TilitNYC.
Made of linen and inspired by vintage textiles, cinch this one on for instant duck confit and cassoulet inspiration from Farmhouse Pottery.
A new batch of spices is a must for curious cooks. And well-sourced spices are having a moment—so there are choices. Good choices:
In Cambridge, Mass., Curio Spice is known for its unique spice blends and pretty packaging begging to be stuffed in a stocking. (psst, they’re a fellow B-Corp!)
Woah, Oaktown Spice Shop—while we’d love to wander through their gorgeous-looking space in Oakland, we’d settle for a selection from the dazzling array of infused salts, to start.
Another spice purveyor we love is Oregon-based Ava Jane’s Kitchen.
For real though, it’s an excellent year for showering love and gifts on the cooks in your life. Whether it’s a great new cookbook, a specialty ingredient they wouldn’t splurge on themselves, or a fun hand tool, let them know you see how hard they’ve worked turning out the meals in 2020.