Cooking up a few ideas for the food lover on your list

By Holly Ebel

Still need a few last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers for the food lovers on your list?

There are plenty of items around that are sure to make any foodie happy, this year more than ever. Why? Because of our obsession with food and all things related to it, from fancy vegetable peelers to $300 frying pans. The good news is there is something for every taste and every budget. Take a look:   

• People who cook can always use an extra pot or pan, and every year the choices get fancier and more expensive, so it is interesting that one of the best sellers this year are the pre-seasoned cast-iron skillets from Lodge. Just like grandma used to use. For the cook on the go, slow-cookers with ceramic inserts are a must. The beauty of these is that you can start a soup or a meal in the morning, walk away, and it will be ready by dinnertime. Again, they range in price from the basic to the more expensive.


• Food folks are always looking for cookbooks and this year there are some good new ones. Look for "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters, a best seller this season. Then there is "Just In Time" by Rachel Ray, "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld and "Christmas With Paula Deen."

• Good Knives. Anyone who spends time in the kitchen welcomes a new sharp knife. Some, like paring knives, even come with colorful handles. It’s not a bad idea to add a stainless steel finger guard.

• Anything made from bamboo is very big this year, especially cheese boards and cutting boards. Aside from being attractive, bamboo is easy to keep up, durable and will not hurt your knives.

• Kitchen gadgets are great stocking stuffers, like a garlic press, heat-proof rubber spatula, a whisk, meat thermometer or a good pair of kitchen shears. Don’t forget essentials like new kitchen towels and hot pads.

• Sopra Sotto, the Italian specialty store in the Galleria, has imported dried pastas as well as pasta sauces. A few of those in a basket makes a great gift. There are also some interesting olive oils, vinegars and other food items that might tempt you into a gift for yourself. While you are there go upstairs to Counterpoint and look at their kitchen items. They carry an imaginative array of kitchen tools, timers, corkscrews and dishes as well as food items. As you are driving around, head over to Rochester Produce on Second Street which has added several lines of gourmet products, including jams, chutneys, oils and vinegars as well as honeys, including our own local Johnson honey.

• Put together some coffee from Starbucks, Dunn Brothers or Caribou. Add a coffee grinder or a special mug. Or give a gift certificate for a number of coffees to go.

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