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The Most Useful Cookware Christmas Gifts

Cookware Christmas gifts are well received and here is my Christmas gift giving guide. I do a good job of stress testing cookware. I’ve discovered cookware that is durable and useful in the kitchen. I only recommend cookware as gifts that are functional or something I would use. The Christmas Gifts listed below is cookware or related kitchen items I use or recommend giving as a gift and the reason why I recommend it. As a cook, I love to receive cookware and give it as gifts. With Christmas around the corner, this is my “Christmas Gift-Giving Guide.” The prices from Amazon.com are always up to date.

My Christmas Gift-Giving Guide

1) Serving Platters

Christmas gifts - Clay Art PlatterWe eat with our eyes first. Any dish can whet the appetite when served on a nice platter. Pfaltzgraff and Fiesta serving platters make beautiful Christmas gifts that can make any dish look fantastic. I use them when taking pictures of my work for my Home Cooking Academy. There are many beautiful ways to present your masterful, or even ordinary, creations. Find serving platters here.  Here is another example:

Fiesta 9-5/8-Inch Oval Platter, Cobalt Fiesta 9-5/8-Inch Oval Platter, Cobalt
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2) NonStick Frying Pan Combos

All-Clad ComboNonstick frying pans wear out. Quickly. It’s always better to replace them before they get too many cuts or peeling. I prefer the 10″ and 12″ combo’s as they are more useful. Here is a quick listing of NonStick Frying Pan Combos.  Here is an All-Clad combo I use myself and am VERY happy with. Comes in 10″ and 12″ nonstick. VERY good quality.

All-Clad 2100100269 HA1 10" 12" Fry Set, Black All-Clad 2100100269 HA1 10" 12" Fry Set, Black
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3) Combo – Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet & CIA Masters Collection Wire Cooling Rack

Christmas gifts - NordicWare Baking SheetThis is a 2-item combo. Each are great, but when given as a gift together, the possibilities are endless. The Nordic Ware baking sheet is very durable. When friends see this they think it’s commercial grade. It is. I love it. The CIA Masters Collection cooling rack is also commercial strength and very strong.

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet and Big Sheet Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet and Big Sheet
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4) Lodge Color 6qt Dutch Oven

Lodge Color Dutch OvenLodge makes terrific enameled cast iron cookware rivaling the French Le Creuset or Staub and at significantly less money. A 6qt Dutch Oven is a versatile piece of cookware that can be used on top of the stove or in the oven. Lodge enameled cookware makes excellent Christmas gifts! They come in a variety of attractive colors and are a steal at these prices. The price varies depending on color. Pick from a variety of colors. HIGHLY reviewed!

 


 

5) Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron CookwareCast Iron cookware has been a fan favorite for generations, and nothing has changed. Even with all the new styles and nonstick formulations, cast iron cookware remains a fan favorite and very inexpensive. Whether you go native or the enameled variations, cast iron is always a favorite. Here is the full selection of cast iron cookware. Here is one of my favorite pieces:

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set - Grill Pan with Tempered Glass Lid (10.25 Inch) Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set - Grill Pan with Tempered Glass Lid (10.25 Inch)
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6) Le Creuset 1.5 quart Enamel Cast Iron Oval Baker

Le Creuset Oval BakerLe Creuset enamel cast iron is beautiful and functional. The rich color and even heating characteristics makes this 1.5 quart oval baker a go-to piece of cookware. Baking potato au gratin, warming left-overs, or cooking a small roast is easy with this oven to table cast iron oval baker. A perfect Christmas gift.

Le Creuset Enamel Cast Iron Signature Oval Baker, 1.5 quart, Cerise (Cherry Red) Le Creuset Enamel Cast Iron Signature Oval Baker, 1.5 quart, Cerise (Cherry Red)
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7) All-Clad Brushed Stainless Steel D5 10-pc Cookware Set

All-Clad D5 Cookware SetAll-Clad is the absolute best American stainless steel cookware manufacturer. If you need to get a gift for someone you know who likes to cook and is adventurous, this is a fantastic gift! This is the new D5 brushed stainless steel outside. It has 5 layers to evenly distribute heat. You not only need but also can’t beat stainless steel skillets for saute and deglazing sauces. I recommend folks who want a nonstick cookware set to also get a stainless steel skillet for sauteeing. The 10-piece set gives you all the necessary pieces. No, it is not cheap. If you want the best quality, look no further.

 


 

8) Scanpan CTX 12 ¾” Nonstick Eco-Friendly PFOA-Free Skillet

Scanpan CTX SkilletWhen it comes to healthy or eco-friendly cookware, I love Scanpan. While the surface still uses PTFE in the manufacturing process it is PFOA free and uses an environmentally friendly cast aluminum core. It is a very good nonstick surface given it does not have the PFOA’s. Best of all, it is also dishwasher safe. Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch PFOA Free Fry Pan.

Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch Fry Pan Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch Fry Pan
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9) Emile Henry Flame Top Stewpot Dutch Oven

Emile Henry Dutch OvenI love Emile Henry Flame Top products. This is the only clay cookware that can be used on the stove top as well as in the stove since the old Cornflower Corningware cookware. It is pretty, useful, and the clay surrounds the food with a steady even heat that is great for braising or slow cooking. This Dutch Oven is very versatile and makes a great presentation from stove to table. Best of all, it looks like an enameled cast iron piece, but it doesn’t weigh a ton like cast iron! All Emile Henry products are wonderful. Here is the Emile Henry page.


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10) J.A. Henckels International Definition Knife Set

Henckels Knife SetEvery home cook needs a good knife set. Sharp knives are safer. This Definition knife set includes 3″ Paring Knife, 5″ Serrated Utility Knife, 8″ Bread Knife, 5″ Hollow Edge Santoku, 8″ Chef’s Knife, 4x 4.5″ Steak Knife, 9″ Sharpening Steel, Kitchen Shears, and Hardwood Knife Block. This machined knife set is beautiful and perfectly functional.


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11) Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12-Pc Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Cookware SetI love stainless steel for cooking. It is healthy, durable, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. As I’ve stated before the best brand is All-Clad. Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is next on this list. As you see, All-Clad is premium quality and premium priced. For a near performance equivalent, the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro is unbeatable for performance and price. I use Cuisinart MultiClad Pro and love it. To complete the set I recommend the All-Clad nonstick skillets above or the Scanpan skillet to provide a very complete and dishwasher safe cookware set.

Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
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12) Scanpan Classic 11-Piece Cookware Set

Scanpan ClassicFor the discerning cook who wants the best performance and style, Scanpan Classic is it. At around $500 it is not cheap, but it is a great value. The PFOA free nonstick interior is amazing. I use the Classic skillet myself and LOVE it. It works great on flat top stoves. The aluminum core surrounds the food with an even heat that makes cooking a joy. Check it out here:

Scanpan Classic 11-Piece Deluxe Cookware Set Scanpan Classic 11-Piece Deluxe Cookware Set
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5 Mother’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas

Here are 5 Mother’s Day cookware gift ideas sure to please the mom in your life. Mother’s Day is a great time to express your love and gratitude to your Mom. Show her how much you care by selecting the right Mother’s Day cookware gift for her. When it comes to cookware, or kitchen gadgets, here are some ideas that may be right for your Mom. Finding the right kitchen or cookware gift doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of jokes about getting the wrong Mother’s Day gifts. To avoid getting the wrong gift, here are some great Mother’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas

  • What would help your Mom in the kitchen?
  • What has she expressed an interest in?
  • What would save her time and effort?
  • What would she use?

With those questions in mind, I propose some ideas.

5 Mother’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas

1 – Scanpan Healthy and Eco-Friendly Cookware

Scanpan Classic SkilletPopular items include ScanPan and Cuisinart GreenGourmet. I use both and love each one. As a gift for mom, I’d recommend the Scanpan because it is also dishwasher safe where the GreenGourmet is not. Scanpan is considered healthy cookware because it is PFOA free. PFOA is a bad chemical found in most nonstick cookware surfaces, but not Scanpan. Scanpan is durable and will quickly become mom’s favorite nonstick skillet.

Scanpan Classic 2 Piece Fry Pan Set, Black Scanpan Classic 2 Piece Fry Pan Set, Black
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2 – A Great Stainless Steel Saute Pan (Skillet)

All-Clad Stainless Steel SkilletA 12-14″ stainless steel from All-Clad or Cuisinart is ideal. Ideal for searing or doing a saute of chicken, scallops, or even steaks, a quality stainless steel saute pan like the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro, All-Clad Stainless Steel D5 or Copper Core. The stainless steel will help make the fond, great for sauces and gravies. A quality skillet is necessary for good cooks because deglazing and other cooking techniques are very hard on normal quality cookware and will degrade performance. A 12″ to 14″ skillet is best for saute so the food is not crowded and steamed rather than sauteed. 


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 3 – Circulon Dishwasher Safe Nonstick Cookware

Circulon Infinite Cookware SetCirculon Infinite is my recommendation. I have several pieces and they are wonderful. Easy to clean, heat evenly, and survive the dishwasher. They make a chef pan with 2 side handles that is great for all kinds of cooking. The cookware set is a tremendous value. The inside bottom surface where the food lays on is ridged to minimize food contact with the surface. It helps the nonstick performance also. The cookware is very solid, lays perfectly flat on flat-top stoves, and heats evenly.

Infinite Circulon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Black Infinite Circulon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Black
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4 – Le Creuset Enamel Cast Iron French Oven or Casserole Dish

Le Creuset French OvenMother’s Day is a special event and a Le Creuset French Oven will surely put a smile on her face. Guys, Le Creuset is a bit more expensive than Lodge, but mom’s want that extra quality and to be able to show off that beautiful cookware. The colors are outstanding and the quality is top notch. Le Creuset is a bit of a status symbol. Also, why is this called a French Oven when others just like it are called a Dutch Oven? Le Creuset is a French company! This is a gift she will cherish for a lifetime.


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5 – An Emile Henry Clay Tagine

Emile Henry TagineThis is perfect for the Mom that loves to cook and experiment with different cuisines! A clay Tagine is the cookware to use for Moroccan, African, and Middle Eastern dishes, but can also be used for a variety of braises and Dutch oven recipes. Attractive and useful, an Emile Henry Tagine is a wonderful piece of cookware to have. Used for dishes with long cooking times, a clay tagine slowly cooks the food while the shape of the tagine makes the steam surround the food blending flavors and making tender and flavorful meals. A tagine is a beautiful piece of cookware that is also very practical. It will become one of mom’s favorite pieces of cookware.   

Emile Henry Flame Top 3.7 Quart Tagine, Red Emile Henry Flame Top 3.7 Quart Tagine, Red
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These are 5 great Mother’s Day Gift Ideas. Practical and useful, any of these would go over well as a Mother’s Day present.

 

Happy cooking, and Happy Mother’s Day!

 

5 Father’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas

When it comes to Father’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas, guys love kitchen gadgets and cookware. If something can make him look good in front of the family or friends, he’ll be for it. I know! If it’s sharp, shiny, or slick, we get excited. Here are several great Father’s Day cookware gift ideas that will make your guy happy!

5 Father’s Day Cookware Gift Ideas

1) Cast Iron Grill Pan

Staub Grill Pan WideAs summer approaches, grilling is his territory. How about grilling inside all year long with a Cast Iron Grill Pan! I love mine and there is something about grill marks that makes a meal special. Lodge or Staub offer excellent grill pans. Keep them seasoned, heat them up, and watch your guy put those restaurant quality grill marks on chicken, steak or veggies all year long. 


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2) Large Quality Stainless Steel Skillet

All-Clad Stainless Steel D5 SkilletA great saute means perfectly done meats and vegetables, and the fond for the beginning of a great sauce. How about a large Stainless Steel Skillet that won’t warp. Chefs know to make a good sauce one has to deglaze a pan. That means putting a cold liquid into a very hot skillet. Normal pans will warp under that temperature stress and cause uneven heating in the future. That’s why if your guy is a good cook, he’ll appreciate a quality stainless steel skillet from All-Clad or Cuisinart.  


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3) Grilling Tool Set

Cuisinart Grill Tool SetHow about a grilling tool set with all the tools he’ll need to flip, slice, and clean that grill? Do you call your guy in to do the grilling? Does he grab a cold beverage, put on the grilling apron and march outside to do his assigned duty? If so, give him the tools he’ll need to do it right. 


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4) Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Cookware SetIf what he’s cooking with now is getting old, discolored and warped, he’ll love a new cookware set. Stainless steel is attractive, easy to clean and healthy cookware. A great value is the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro. It’s fully clad with aluminum in between the stainless steel, not just on the bottom like many cookware sets, but also up the sides of the cookware. That gives more even heating especially when cooking foods like rice, soups and stews. It’s sturdy and able to withstand whatever he dishes out. For under $300 the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is a great value. 


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5) Chef Pan

Calphalon Tri-ply Stainless Steel Chef PanA chef pan is like the SUV piece of cookware. It can be used inside the stove, on top of the range, covered or open, and it’s large enough to cook just about anything in it. A chef pan will quickly become the go-to cookware for your guy. I use mine for braising short ribs on top of the stove, baking chicken casseroles inside the stove, rice pilaf and corn on the cob. It’s a handy piece of cookware. The recommended item below from Scanpan is considered healthy cookware and very easy to clean! 

Scanpan Classic 12-1/2-Inch Covered Chef Pan Scanpan Classic 12-1/2-Inch Covered Chef Pan
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To all the Fathers out there I know these Father’s Day cookware gift ideas-are sure to please.  Happy Father’s Day!

5 Cookware Birthday Gift Ideas

Here are 5 cookware birthday gift ideas. Cookware makes excellent birthday gifts, especially for pots or pans we don’t want to invest in ourselves. Birthdays happen all throughout the year, so the birthday gift does not have to be seasonal. The cookware does need to match the cook. The most important attributes I suggest to take into consideration is whether or not the cookware needs to be dishwasher safe or healthy. The last thing anyone wants to do is give a gift that will not be used or enjoyed. So, make the best selection from what you know about the birthday person. Here are my cookware birthday gift ideas that ALWAYS make excellent birthday gifts.

Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

5 Cookware Birthday Gift Ideas

1) Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

Lodge CasserolesBeautiful and functional, enameled cast iron cookware is easy to clean and healthy. Usually not recommended for the dishwasher, these pieces make up for the hand washing with their colors and functionality. Braisers, roasting dishes, Dutch ovens, or frying skillets, these pieces are always handy. Able to take them from stove to tabletop is a great feature. Lodge, Staub, and Le Creuset make excellent selections. Get the best prices on enameled cast iron cookware at Amazon.com!


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2) Quality Stainless Steel Skillets

All-Clad Stainless Steel D5 SkilletIf the birthday person is into cooking, they will enjoy a stainless steel skillet for sauteing. Nothing beats a quality stainless steel fry pan for the fond that makes great sauces. Healthy and dishwasher safe (this does not include the nonstick inside versions), these pans make excellent birthday gifts. All-Clad, Calphalon, and Cuisinart are my personal favorites. 


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3) A Large Dishwasher Safe Nonstick Skillet

Circulon Infinite SkilletsFragile foods like eggs and fish fillets on stainless steel skillets is an invitation to long clean-ups. So, a nonstick fry pan is needed. If the birthday person has worn out skillets where the nonstick surface is coming off, a new one will be a life saver. Today there are many choices for nonstick skillets that are also dishwasher safe. All-Clad, Anolon, Circulon, and Farberware all make excellent nonstick skillets. For the Dishwasher Safe variety, I think it’s hard to beat the quality of Scanpan, winner of my premier nonstick cookware award. 

Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch Fry Pan Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch Fry Pan
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4) Healthy Eco-Friendly Cookware

Scanpan Classic FrypanIf the birthday person is into healthy living, Non-PFOA cookware is required. Today ceramic substances are getting more nonstick all the time, and manufacturers are offering chemical free additions to their product lines. While stainless steel is always a good choice here, some new additions also offer nonstick varieties. In my opinion, none are quite up to the old Teflon standards for non-stickyness, but come very close. The Cuisinart GreenGourmet and Scanpan product lines are my choice. I’ve been testing them and find them durable and pretty good on the nonstick surface. 

Cuisinart GGT22-30HCR GreenGourmet Tri-Ply Stainless 12-Inch Covered Skillet Cuisinart GGT22-30HCR GreenGourmet Tri-Ply Stainless 12-Inch Covered Skillet
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5) Clay Cookware from Emile Henry

Emile Henry Flame Top Dutch OvenClay cookware offers excellent heating capabilities, nice colors, and a unique gift that can make memories for a lifetime. My choice here is Emile Henry French clay pottery. They offer the new Flame Top product line that can be used on top as well as in the stove. A fondue set, tagine, of Dutch oven make excellent choices. Or, a dazzling pie dish or seafood themed appetizer dishes make a great impression. Whatever the selection, Emile Henry clay cookware is always a welcomed birthday gift. 


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