This is kind of like Oprah’s “Favorite Things”, but the Budget Bytes edition. These are all things that I have and love or things that I wish I had and am sure I would love. Some of these gifts were chosen because they’d be great for people who love to cook on a budget (oh, hai!) and some of these items are just plain cool or fun. They may not all be budget friendly, but sometimes that’s what gifts are—really cool stuff that you want, but would never buy for yourself because it’s just not practical or within budget.
So let’s just jump right in… Here are some really cool gifty things!
Okay, so first a little shameless self promotion. If you’re looking at this gift guide, then you probably like my style of cooking and kitchen-money management. If you want to share those techniques with someone you love, this book is a great way to do it! In addition to over 100 awesome recipes, there is a whole section of Kitchen Basics in the beginning of the book that will help kitchen newbies learn things like how to stock your kitchen, how to take advantage of your freezer, and the six basic principles for cooking and eating on a budget. Give the gift of learning how to cook real, delicious food to someone you love!
Cooks Illustrated is one of the most trusted names in the cooking world. They test and retest their techniques to come up with the most effective and efficient cooking methods. Basically, you’re not going to go wrong with this one. This is one of those cookbooks that can be passed down generations.
Mark Bittman is just plain cool and one of my favorite cooks. He has a simple, uncomplicated cooking style that I just adore. With this cookbook he gets back to the basics and shows you how to make simple, delicious food without the fuss. It’s an excellent book for those who are just learning how to cook as well as those who want to streamline the process without losing flavor or quality.
Flavored oils and vinegars are a really fun gift. They add so much excitement to food but are not something most people would go out and buy unless they have a ton of cash to burn. My parents got me a bottle of aged balsamic and garlic infused olive oil from Fustini’s, as specialty shop in my home town, and they are to die for. This shop is really cool because they have some incredible flavors of both balsamic vinegar and olive oil, plus they ship! If shipping isn’t practical, chances are you can find something comparable in your area.
Because sriracha is good on everything. Now you don’t have to lug a full sized bottle around in your purse *coughcough*, you can just bring one of these minis! Heads up, though, the bottle is empty and meant to be filled from your full size bottle at home.
I can’t get enough of sweet and spicy together. I want to try this spicy honey SO bad. *hint-hint* Imagine this on a toasty English muffin with butter… Oh my.
Salt is another one of those gourmet products that I’d probably never buy, but would LOVE to have. Flavored sea salts make food so much fun. From popcorn to roasted vegetables, a little sprinkle of one of these and you have a whole new meal.
Tools and Gadgets
Science is cool and so are these beaker inspired measuring cups. I wish they were glass, but I still love them just the same. If your giftee has a super technical mind and loves being accurate and precise, they’ll love measuring everything out in these awesome Oxo Measuring Beakers.
If there’s a wine lover on your list, consider an aerator. My friend bought me a version very much like this one last year and it’s awesome. It pops right into the top of an open bottle and aerates as you pour. The simple act of aerating your wine can make an $8 bottle taste like an $18 bottle.
Buying spices in bulk can be super economical, but you need your own containers to put them in. Instead of using mismatched bottles and reused containers, give someone a pretty matching set. These even come with some cool labels!
This might be the kitchen equivalent to giving socks or underwear for Christmas, but I still think they’re pretty cool. I feel guilty filling up my grocery cart with tons of plastic produce bags every week, so I’d love to have a set of these reusable cloth bags. I’ll probably get them as a gift to myself, actually!
I don’t have one of these cool vegetable spiralizers, but several of my readers have sung their praises. Take ordinary vegetables and turn them into pasta-like threads, perfect for salads, sautéing, or for use as a low-carb pasta alternative. Anything that makes vegetables more fun is a good thing, in my book.
A digital meat thermometer takes the guess work out of cooking meat. This one little (inexpensive) gadget keeps things safe and makes life so much easier, but a lot of people never bother to pick one up. The perfect little stocking stuffer.
I’m throwing this one in there for fun. If you haven’t read the reviews for this banana slicer yet, do yourself a favor and click over immediately. If the person you’re buying for is familiar with this product and it’s reviews, this would be the perfect gag gift.
Got any cool cooking/food inspired gift ideas? Share them in the comments below!