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Cooking nerds are gearheads. If there’s a device that makes meal prep easier — and that cleans up easily — home cooks want to hear about it.
Even the best bread makers and most patient beef braisers love to save a little time where they can. Check out this short list of gifts, big and small, for the busy chef in your life. They may even make you a nice meal as thanks!
A perfect gift for the cook who loves to entertain. This cute little guy can hold anything from a cool bowl of fresh hummus to a piping-hot casserole. Its overall rating at Amazon is essentially perfect (4.8 stars out of 5), so it seems like a can’t-miss gift.
Don’t be fooled by this simple tool. It’s not just for cutting dough, though it does that well. The ruler along the edge is a great help when working with pastry, and it’s handy for cooking, too — you can scoop up a heap of chopped veggies with one swoop.
Stop boiling water in the microwave! It tastes weird and upsets British people. Instead, treat the tea lover in your life to this electric kettle. It boils water lightning-quick with just the flip of a switch, and the adorable retro styling makes it a countertop conversation piece.
In the spirit of the electric kettle, here’s another cool tool. When you’re cooking a big meal, the last thing you want to worry about is scorched rice on the stovetop. A rice cooker makes it easy — you set it and forget it, for real. And Zojirushi rice cookers are known for the cute little tunes they play when the rice is finished.
When you’re a garlic fiend, mincing sufficient cloves of the stuff can be arduous. This nifty device uses spinning blades to chop up three peeled cloves at once. Roll the chopper back and forth to chop, then open the little doors on the hopper to remove finely diced, fresh garlic. And — hooray! — it’s dishwasher safe.
Another one for the lovers of homemade Italian food. Peeling garlic is a pain when you’re in a rush, and this squishy peeler is an easy fix. Stick garlic cloves in one end, roll the peeler a few times on the counter and peeled cloves come out the other end. It comes with a handy case for storage, and both can go in the dishwasher.
Homemade bread is a labor of love. Remove some of the labor, but keep the love, with a bread machine. This Cuisinart bread maker is small enough to fit on the kitchen counter, but can make up to 2-pound loaves. It also lets users select their preferred level of crust color, and has a timer to make fresh bread right when you need it.
All cooking enthusiasts have that one horror story about peeling veggies, where the peeler inexplicably slips and ends up slicing off part of a finger. The Gorilla Grip peeler comes with an extra-comfortable, extra-grippy handle to prevent such accidents. It’s also got a little nubbin at one end to remove eyes from potatoes, and a dual blade to let you peel in two directions.
An all-purpose tool for the busy home chef, kitchen shears get a lot of use: snip delicate herbs, chop up salad greens, cut through chicken skin, trim off some scallion rings or whatever else comes to mind. These shears come apart for thorough washing, too.