Kitchen Gifts :

Kitchen Gadgets & Essentials

All of these products have been vigorously tested at Fork & Bottle. These are items that we have, use regularly and can unqualifyingly recommend. - Joanne

Thermapen Mk4 Digital Thermometer

The Best Kitchen Thermometer

Thermapen Mk4

This is an incredibly accurate and easy to use digital thermometer. I use it for everything from water temperature to oil temperature to roast temperature to BBQing. It folds up for easy storage - and the point is very sharp. It's fantastic and an essential in my kitchen. I use it everyday, multiple times. I've still have the old model which I use as backup (I frequently need 2 thermometers). Over the years I've broken the tip and had it replaced - that's easy and possible with Thermoworks. Thermapen thermometers are extremely good quality, well made and well designed. Comes in 10 colors.

Highly Recommended!

An excellent Housewarming or Wedding Gift - and a great stocking stuffer!

Zojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel Lined Lunch Jar

Zojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel Lined Lunch Jar

Our son and myself have been using these for lunches for years and I really love the design. They are the most commented on lunchbox I've ever had. I warn you that you will likely have to rethink your lunch. Filling all the jar containers is daunting and you will become clever. The reviews complain about the heating cooling and the seals. We haven't had any spills and we often use them for soup - but we are careful not to tip them over- however sometimes it's hard for littler hands to get the top off the rice container is it has soup in it without spilling - an older child would have no trouble. The big rice container is what we've been using for soup and it keeps it warm - not as warm as a thermos but pleasantly warm. Cold things are pleasantly cool. The only thing that could be addressed is the lack of a place to put a drink. We still love them for elegance, whimsy and design.

ZOJIRUSHI Thermos Lunch box Bento Jar Thermal SZ-LA02-BZ Pink

Zojirushi is a great company and their products last. We also have a second smaller version of this set and there are other Zojirushi Bento configurations available at Amazon.

We eat better and less, allowing lots of little courses in a meal and more menu variety.

Amazon: A petite version of the Bento Lunch Jar

Kyocera Adjustable Ceramic Slicer

A hand-held mandoline-like device with a ceramic blade. I use it for quick slicing of potatoes for gratins or anywhere I need quick thin slices. It's amazing on apples. Washes well. I was dubious too - but now that I have it I never drag out the big mandoline and I use it regularly. On the back is a way to change the opening size - you have a choice of four thicknesses. A great kitchen gadget.Comes in black and red.

Amazon: Black Kyocera Adjustable Ceramic Slicer

Sur La Table: Red Kyocera Mandoline

Zojirushi NH-VBC18 10-Cup Rice Cooker

and Warmer with Induction Heating System

I was skeptical that this expensive gadget would be gathering dust. I used to be rotten at making rice. Now I make perfect rice everytime. This rice cooker is simple to use and easy to clean. It has a lovely chime song to start and finish. It's a pleasure to use and it gets used. Leftover rice I turn into rice pudding.

Le Creuset 13-Quart Round French Oven

I use this pot for stew or braising – it holds enough to feed an army of ranch hands. Because of it’s size the surface area for sautéing and browning is wide. I’ve made fantastic braised lamb in it and wonderful beef stews and soups. It takes a beefy lass or laddie to heft it from the pantry to the stove but that just indicates the comfort level of that nice stew you’ll produce. Do you need it – no! But it is awesome – it comes in blue, cherry red, dune, white, green or flame. I have the flame.

Sur La Table: Le Creuset French Ovens

Amazon: Le Creuset French Ovens

Duncan Industries

Kitchen Grips Oven Mitts

These are the best oven mitts I've found. They do what Orka mitts don’t – they make it possible to actually pick something up wearing them – and they aren’t slippery. If you’ve ever tried to wrestle a heavy roasting pan with Okra mitts or tried to pick up a casserole dish with them you’ll know what I mean. These mitts you can bend - they are foam rubber-like and you can actually get a grip on something with them.

I highly recommend them. I have 3 pairs.

You need a pair or two in your kitchen.

Amazon: Red (Extra Long Set - best)

Amazon: Red (Reg. length Set)

Epicurean Grooved Cutting Surfaces

Great Cutting Boards!

We have 4 - and I give them as gifts. It's US made and approved by both Greenpeace and NSF. It's made of a wood fiber composite and it's safe for dishwashers and even ovens up to 350F. They make a kitchen series – ¼ inch thick, a thicker ½ inch “chef’s version” and a 3/8 inch “gourmet” version which has a black core. The kitchen series board seems to waterlog a bit in the dishwasher so we let it air dry before putting it away - but it hasn’t warped at all. They seem to “heal” cuts well and they are tremendously better than any of the plastic boards I’ve used. I love the large gourmet board with the Juice Groove - it's been working great for me. Makes a great Hostess gift!

Sur la Table: Epicurean Cutting Boards

Amazon: 20" x 15" with Juice Groove

Zyliss Lobster/Seafood Crackers

Buy a set of 4 and you won’t look back. We’ve tried most of what’s out there and these bright red crackers are the ones to have. They are amazingly strong and comfortable to use.

Sur La Table: Zyliss crackers

Amazon: Zyliss crackers

Glass Fat Separator

All fat separators are not created equal. This one is the biggest one I could find. It holds 4 cups and is great for gravy and stocks – even soups! I love it because it cleans so well in the dishwasher. The previous separator I used was plastic/Acrylic and after using it for awhile, it became crazed and cloudy. This one I’ve had for years. My only dislike is that it just doesn’t pour that well – it’s passable but needs a redesign. I see Oxo is making a 4c one now - perhaps it will stand up better to heat and pour better.

Amazon: Glass Fat Separator 2-Cup

Cucina Detergent

Jack loves 'Cucina Detergent for Dishes: Fruits and Passion'. He's been using it happily for more than three years - and he's very picky. It smells good, it’s biodegradeable, vegetable-based (coconut oil and cornstarch) and easy on the hands. The scent of choice is Ginger & Sicilian Lemon, but there is also Fig & Fresh Herb, Corianader & Olive Tree and Zucchini Flower & Truffle. It works great on dishes and pots.

My Favorite Kitchen Pan:

All-Clad Ltd 13" Braiser

I've had it for over 20 years and other than the frying pan it gets the most use of all the pans in the kitchen. (The runner up would be the All-Clad Stock Pot.) I roast chickens, rack of lamb, any kind of roasts, duck breasts, Turkey breast, fry potatoes, Vegetables. It's shallow so it makes a great roasting pan (much better than one with high sides) and I always get a crispy skin on my roasts and chickens. Plus it cleans wonderfully and despite the hells I've put it through continues to look near-new. After years of use in our kitchen, I can honestly say that All-Clad stands up to the test of time and was well worth our investment.

A must for

Gas Stoves!

It heats MUCH FASTER than other kettles on a gas stove top. Really!

Simplex Coil Bottom Kettle –

For Gas Stoves

We’ve had this kettle for years and given them as presents (makes a great wedding present as well!). Made of tin-lined copper it heats quickly and is really durable. For the number of years you are likely to have it – this a no-brainer. Copper lovers can find the same version here in copper! If you need a flat bottom kettle – they make both finishes in that version as well. (Note from Jack: Regular flat-bottomed kettles take forever to heat up on a gas stovetop. This coiled-one is clearly superior.)

Amazon: Simplex Chrome Kettle

Amazon: Simplex Copper Kettle

Sur La Table: Simplex Kettles

KitchenAid Pro Line Burr Coffee Grinder

What makes great coffee? The right coffee beans, the right water temperature (and water!), the right pot? Here’s another element you can control - the right grinder. There may be others, but this one is great.

Amazon: KitchenAid Pro Coffee Grinder

Bodum Thermal Stainless Coffee French Press

(8 or 12 cups)

I love it. It’s shiny, doesn’t break, keeps the coffee warm and is dishwasher safe. Plus it’s a French press and makes great coffee – and a lot of it – 12 cups. I’ve come back 3 hours after making coffee and still had warm coffee. If you really can’t see the 12-cup doing you much use you can splurge less and get the 8-cup version. This pot gets daily use at our house, and it still looks like new. It's an essential if you like French Press.

Amazon: 12-cup version

Amazon: 8-cup version

Chef'n Silicone Switchit Spatula

I have two of these in rotation in the kitchen and love them. I chose two colors so I could tell them apart - they come in a myriad of colors. The sharp edge seems to clean bowls out better than any regular spatula that I've ever tried.

Amazon: Chefn Switchit Spatula - Cherry

Rösle Flat Whisk

I probably have about 10 whisks of varying shapes and sizes in the kitchen gathering dust. This is the one I actually use. You must own one. It's perfect anywhere you'd use a fork, a spoon or in a non-egg-white situation. The really important feature is that whatever you're whisking doesn't get caught in the center of the whisk rendering it useless. It's also easy to clean. I've had the 8.6" one for over 10 years and it looks like it's brand new. Rösle equipment is beautfully made.

Highly Recommended!

Amazon: Rösle 8.6-Inch Flat Whisk

Amazon: Rösle 10.5-Inch Flat Whisk

Microplane Graters

I have a fine and a medium ribbon grater that I use all the time in the kitchen. The fine I often also use for zesting. I recently got the slider attachment so Trent could grate cheese. It's a bit challenging for cheese as you need to cut it up before fitting it in - but it works great for small things like ginger. Amazon have a holiday gift set with my 2 favorite graters and the silding attachment. It makes a great hostess gift too.

Amazon: Microplane Fine Ribbon Grater

Amazon: Microplane Fine Grater

Amazon: Microplane Slider Attachment