The kitchen is the heart of many homes. It’s a gathering place for meal preparation, for spirited conversations, and, if you’re like me, the best place to find a decent cup of coffee. The kitchen brings people together, and also helps us gain the energy necessary to make it through the day.
The obvious high utility items in the kitchen are the oven, stove top, refrigerator, and sink. After these workhorses come pots and pans, plates, drinking vessels, and silverware. If someone in your life needs any of these items to be replaced, I recommend getting his opinion on the matter. People have such strong personal preferences on these items, not getting the gift recipient’s input can end up wasting time and money for both of you.
The next segment of high utility kitchen items includes knives. If someone on your list is using damaged knives, her safety is at risk every day. Replacing these knives can greatly improve the quality of her life.
In the November issue of (image 9) Cook’s Illustrated, the test kitchen staff reported on the best and worst knife sets available for purchase in the U.S. market. In the article, their “testing confirmed that you are much better off shopping for knives à la carte; that way, you get only what you need.” They reported these to be the “six essential knives that fit nicely inside our favorite universal knife block”:
- The Bodum Universal Knife Block
- A pair of Shun/Kershaw Kitchen Shears
- A Victorinox 6-inch Flex Boning Knife
- A Victorinox 12-inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife
- A Wusthof Classic 10-inch Bread Knife
- A Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch Chef’s Knife
- And finally, a Wusthof Trident Classic 3-1/2-inch Paring Knife
The knives, sheath, and block (pictured below) are mostly inexpensive and the whole set can be combined for under $315.00. And, since it’s à la carte, you would only need to purchase the knives your gift recipient needs.
If all your gift recipient needs are his knives sharpened, this might be a good present, too. Where I live, the average price to have a blade professionally sharpened is $1 per inch of blade. To sharpen a 10-inch chef’s knife would cost $10 for that knife. National chain kitchen stores like Sur La Table often provide this service, but it is also a good idea to check Angie’s List to see if there is a respected professional knife sharpener in your area. The daring individual on your list might be up for the AccuSharp Knife Sharpener (not pictured below), which is available on Amazon for less than $9, to sharpen her own knives.
If knives aren’t an issue, but getting food on the table every night is stressful, consider (image 8 ) Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes cookbook. He does a wonderful job in this book discussing ways to set up meal plans for healthful and easy meals. Our family relies on many of these types of cookbooks to help us get food on the table without anxiety or arguments.
As part of our 2011 Gift Giving Guide, we also will have a special offer for The Six O’Clock Scramble meal planning and recipe service. In December we’ll provide all the details for how to get an Unclutterer discount when you purchase for someone on your list or as a gift for yourself.
If the person on your list already seems to have everything useful in the kitchen and isn’t stressed out about what to get on the table, a coupon from you to help him unclutter his cabinets or deep-clean his refrigerator might be a welcome (and free) gift. Obviously, such an offer isn’t perfect for everyone and must be given delicately, so as not to be taken as an insult. I know that immediately after becoming a mother, an offer like this would have been highly treasured.
Please add your suggestions for daily use kitchen gifts in the comments. The more ideas we can collect the more we can help someone looking for an uncluttered gift.
View the complete 2011 Holiday Gift Giving Guide.