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Tips on what to get the foodie in your life

Writer Holly Ebel finds everything from coffee mugs to air fryers on the shelves.

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A cocktail shaker. Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

No more procrastinating -- it's time to get on with the holiday shopping.

The problem is where to start? So much to do, so little time.

Me being me, my first stop is usually where the cooking and kitchen supplies are.

Wouldn't you have thought that by now the pressure cookers, Instant Pots and air fryers would have gone the way of bread bakers? They haven't and are just as popular and in demand as they were a few years ago.

Kitchen departments at Macy's, Kohl's, Target, Ace Hardware, even Home Depot have all sorts on display in different sizes and price points. That they are still in demand does make a comment on our lifestyles.

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After checking out what was available locally, I decided to contact some of the specialty kitchen stores, starting with Williams Sonoma. Mary, the manager at the Galleria store in Edina, was especially enthusiastic. Of course Instant Pots, air fryers and pressure cookers are still popular, but she added that anything dealing with coffee is having a day -- especially the super espresso machines.

Items for the home bar also are hot, she said, including wine openers, bar ware, smaller-sized wine coolers, cocktail shakers and bar tool sets. Over-sized ice-cube molds are also big sellers.

Sonoma is known for its walls of kitchen gadgets as well as holiday decorated spatulas, whisks in all sizes, high-tech can openers and old-fashioned wooden spoons.

You'll find cookware of all kinds, makes and models, as well as linens, from tablecloths to basic kitchen towels.

Their varieties of olive oils and vinegars as well as boxed baking mixes also make welcome gifts.

Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul also is a popular, well-known kitchen shop.

Manager Caitlin Childe-Archulet agreed about the continuing popularity of the Instant Pot and pressure cookers, although she mentioned a multi-cooker that does everything those appliances but all in one appliance.

An especially good seller are the square, decorated, Swedish dish clothes.

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"These are so handy, can easily be washed with towels, and are much better and more sanitary than a sponge," she said.

There is also a demand for pizza stones and anything else to do with pizzas, like a pizza peel or cutter.

For bread bakers she suggested bread forms, a basket where dough is proofed but not meant for baking.

And, she added, coffee mugs are always good gifts with maybe some special coffees or teas included.

As I made my rounds, I kept seeing something kids would love: a s'mores maker. It looks like a version of a fondue pot. Some even come in kits with all the s'mores makings.

Something a little more unusual are re-usable beeswax food wraps. I've seen several for sale with Farmers Market vendors. I was a bit skeptical at first, but they are better than cling wrap because they stay in place.

Finally, a few more ideas from retailers: vintage tea kettles, instant read thermometers and ice cream scoops.

One of the more creative tools is something called a "spurtle," brought to my attention by news editor Randi Kallas. These are multi-purpose, curved wooden kitchen tools. You'll find them on-line or at WalMart.

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Food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to life@postbulletin.com .

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