Kitchen madness
July 29, 2009 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Two left feet and some bright kitchen gift ideas....

My best friend loves to cook. We lived together for a year with a shared kitchen. I am a terrific klutz, and on more than one occasion, broke stuff. Nothing big -- a few chipped glasses, a salt shaker -- and on one occasion, a French Press (which I promptly replaced, and apologized profusely for). I KNOW -- it sucks. I KNOW -- I should be more careful. I KNOW -- this is why we don't have nice stuff! But I still feel bad about it, and want to make amends. Anyway, she's now living in an apartment with her significant other, and I'd like to get her something (small, not very expensive, but thoughtful), to add to the kitchen --- partly as an apology for the damage I wreaked upon it, but also as a "hey! welcome to your new space!" kind of thing. But....what? A glassware set would be nice -- or maybe a few wine glasses? I'd like it to be personal -- and potentially sturdy -- and something cool that she'll actually use every now and then.

Anyway -- I'm stuck on glassware, but that seems potentially lame. She's already got a million gadgets (including glassware, flatware, etc), so I'm kind of at a loss a to what she would "need." Any ideas? What says, "Break me, I love you!" to you?
posted by puckish to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Deep bowls you eat out of. buy a set of four or so.

Cannot express how a person cannot have enough bowls.
posted by royalsong at 2:24 PM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Crate and Barrel gift card? Spices she doesn't normally have around?
posted by cestmoi15 at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2009

How about a selection of fresh herbs for on the windowsill?
posted by lioness at 2:40 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

What about getting some stainless steel condiment/ prep cups. People I know who love to cook think it's useful to put their measured ingredients in these cups for instant access when needed -- and since they're stainless steel, you don't have to worry about breaking them! You could also get a few stainless steel charger plates, so they could use the prep cups for condiments during a meal.
posted by parilous at 2:44 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I bought hand painted wine goblets (etsy) for a friend for her housewarming. In your case I think delicate stemware is entirely appropriate: it says, "Now that you no longer live with me you can finally have nice things!"
posted by philotes at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2009

You could give a mortar and pestle (although I have no idea what those things cost). They tend to be virtually indestructable, so it'd be kind of a "sorry for breaking stuff, but this certainly won't get broken by anyone, ever" sort of gift.

Something cast iron (a skillet for instance) would also be sturdy and useful.
posted by bjrn at 2:48 PM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Fiesta Ware can be really sturdy. Any of these serving pieces could be nice. Personally, I really like the "Large Disk Pitcher."
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:52 PM on July 29, 2009

My favorite kitchen gift (especially for someone who has recently moved, or otherwise has a limited set of pantry staples) is a spice set. Not the ones that you buy prefab (they're usually ugly and/or expensive and/or inefficient, and the spices always taste weird and old). Get yourself down to your local ethnic market or hippy-dippy natural food co-op and get a few tablespoons of every spice you can think of that might be useful.

Your total cost for the spices will be well under $20 (I spent about $8). You can either just cram the little bags into a larger container (I used a wide mouth mason jar; it's a bit of work to dump them all out and figure out which spice you need, but it's easy to store), or you can get some little containers and make your own storage system.

To me, this is the perfect gift. I don't cook with spices very often, but when I do, it's for something where the spice can't be omitted (Indian food, for example). My friend appreciated the gift as she's a novice cook doing a lot of cookbook cooking, and she doesn't like to make substitutions or omissions (so when it calls for a half teaspoon of dried thyme, she's not going to make the recipe unless she has dried thyme)
posted by rossination at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2009

A really nice cutting board. People always need more cutting boards, and they rarely spring for the high-quality ones themselves.
posted by ethorson at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

i've always thought these pitchers are beautiful, especially filled with sangria.
posted by cranberryskies at 3:56 PM on July 29, 2009

Gifting knives is bad luck, supposedly severing the friendship but nice knives are very useful and something people don't always buy fir themselves. I'd not worry about the superstition if she's short a nice knife. Get something from a restauraunt place as department store stuff is overpriced.

A different angle would be a fire extinguisher for the kitchen which is meaningful ("At least I never burned the house down!") and is important for a kitchen.
posted by deanj at 6:47 AM on July 30, 2009

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