Tag Archives: gifts

Gifts for Grads

This list can be for both high school or college graduates; things that they will need in a future dorm or apartment, especially good for cooking for one person. My brother also mentioned these would all make good gifts for someone going into the military. After they graduate from boot camp, they move into barracks that have small kitchen setups with nothing in them!
Electric Water Kettle – A great item for heating water safely in a small space. Good for making ramen noodles or tea/cocoa/coffee.
My favorite, the Bodum cordless
electric kettle. Comes in 2 sizes!
Ways to Make Coffee – Read my Coffee Maker Basics blog to learn more about what type of coffee brewing system works best for your graduate!
Aeropress – This little guy is consistently hailed as making the best cup of coffee using regular coffee grounds. A lot of people used it at my last office with the grounds the office provided to make a slightly stronger cup. Brews right into the mug by adding hot water, and the filters come in packs of 350 so they last a really long time!
French Press – There are other brands, but Bodum is the most well-known. They make a variety of presses, from the classic glass, to stainless steel, thermal, and travel. Can also be used to brew hot tea, but you cannot brew both in the same vessel as the coffee taste will remain in the mesh filter. These can also be utilized to make cold press coffee.
Bodum glass French press
Single Cup Brewer – The most popular single cup brewer is Keurig, but there are many other brands by the usual suspects. Make coffee one mug at a time, sometimes taking special pods and other times allowing you to use your own coffee grounds, or both!
Keurig single-cup brew system
Electric Espresso – These can get tricky because the inexpensive ones usually don’t produce an authentic cup of espresso. Luckily, most American coffee drinkers don’t know the difference, so base your purchase off of whether you’re buying for a connoisseur or not! Nespresso makes the smallest footprint models at a lower price than larger household models that produce as good a cup, but it’s still a tad spendy, so this might be more for the college grad and a cheaper one for your high school grad!
Nespresso electric espresso machine
Travel Mug – Most coffee shops take a few cents off the price of your drink if you bring your own cup. Or just to bring their homemade coffee to class with them. Either way, save them some cash and keep their coffee warm!
Contigo travel mugs have become one of the
most popular brands – easy to sip from and seal tight!
Inexpensive Dinnerware and Flatware – A couple of plates, bowls, forks and spoons will be very helpful to have in a dorm room. I recommend cheap and plastic or melamine! Walmart, Target, dollar stores, etc. to find these for low prices.
Plastic dinnerware!
For someone graduating college, getting them their first real set of dinnerware would be a great next step. Read my ceramic dinnerware blog for ideas on what brands to consider!
Small pot and frypan – If this is going to be their first time cooking, I would recommend something really inexpensive and nonstick. Nonstick for at least the frypan – it’s a little harder to burn/stick things in a pot than a frypan based on what is normally cooked in both.
A small frypan and a small saucepan are all you need!
Shopping for someone who knows their way around the kitchen a little? Consider Cuisinart or Calphalon’s less expensive lines. Feel free to check my Buying Cookware blog for more in-depth information on how to choose what’s best for your cook!
For someone graduating college, it might be time for their first nice set of cookware! Consider the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro as a very solid set that will last them forever.
Round it out with a set of cooking utensils. Cheap plastic ones from the dollar store should work well for our college-bound and military group; maybe spend a little more on some nicer ones for our college grads.
Plastic cooking utensils
Don’t overlook the importance of a can opener!
Microwave – An essential tool for the single person!
Microwave Cooking Acoutrements – Nordic Ware is made in America and they produce the best microwave-safe dishes and cooking items! Your will have a hard time NOT finding something useful for dorm/single-person microwave cooking, and I find their products in every type of store as they are a very popular brand name.
Nordic Ware microwave egg cooker
Electric Countertop Grill – These may or may not be allowed in dorms. Another essential cooking tool for the single person! Can make grilled sandwiches or use as a small grill to cook meat, fish and veggies.
Cuisinart Griddler
Soda Stream – Not a necessity, but a fun gift that will save them a little money.
Soda Stream home soda maker

Gifts for Dads

Shopping for your father or partner? Of course there are always going to be something new and gimmicky out depending on the season, but I have compiled a list of tried-and-true ideas for gifts for the special guy in your life that you should be able to find at a regular kitchen store. Shop locally, if you can!! 😉
BBQ Tools
Who doesn’t love to grill? And giving more grill utensils equals more delicious summer BBQs for you, right?! 😉 Check out whatever is new for the season! Brands tend to change at even the big-name stores season-to-season, so keep that in mind.
Probe Thermometers – CDN, Polder, and Maverick Redi-Chek are all good brand names in probe thermometers and there’s quite a variety, so pay attention to what he grumbles about when cooking! The Maverick Redi-Chek probes are actually remote so you can take the receiver piece with you as you walk around the party and not have to stand by the grill to keep checking the temperatures. There are some that have multiple probes so you can measure different types of meat at the same time.

Maverick Redi-Chek dual-probe remote thermometer
Usually you can use probe thermometers in smokers, but they also make specific thermometers for smoking, too, like this Redi-Chek remote smoker thermometer.
Grill Lights – Make evening grilling easier! A huge seller is this kind of cool, little light that is attached to a magnet that you can attach to your metal spatula to get an even closer look at your burgers! (**Be careful – the ones I have utilized had a little plastic tube around the batteries that most people assumed was to ensure no battery power was wasted prior to purchase, but it actually required the plastic in order to work!)

Magnetic mini LED grill light attaches to any metal utensil!

Smoker Box – A smoker box is something you put pre-soaked wood chips into to infuse flavor into the meat you are grilling. Some are large enough and have a liquid compartment to pour water, beer, wine or whatever you want to infuse them with. There are now even “platform” smoker boxes that are large enough for the meat to sit directly on top of them.

Weber cast iron smoker box

Himalayan Salt Block – Another cool thing to infuse flavor into your meats or veggies when you grill. You can cook on these multiple times, and some people use them to serve on, as well. And how about a Salt Block Cooking cookbook to go with it?

Himalayan sea salt block
Grilling Planks – Yet another way to infuse flavor into your meat or veggies on the grill. Put them right on top of the plank to get the wood flavor directly in. These are single-use only, but you can add it to the fire afterwards to infuse a little flavor into whatever else you are grilling. You can usually find them in the same ‘flavors’ as other wood chips, like cedar, alder, and hickory.
Cedar grilling planks
Grill Gloves – High heat resistant gloves are a must-have if your guy owns a smoker or uses a really large charcoal grill. They are long to protect your arms, as well.
A variety of different grill gloves
BBQ Apron – Find a fun apron that says “Kiss the Cook” or “King of the Grill” or something else fun and cheeky. There are a lot of websites that will personalize an apron for you, too. Keep in mind most standard aprons are about $25-35 unless you are getting really serious about fabric and design, which obviously ups the price. You can also go the other way if your guy is more of an indoor chef and find him a nice chef’s coat.
Fun apron for dad!
Great Grilling Cookbooks
Steven Raichlen – www.barbequebible.comSteven has several books now since his first, the Barbecue Bible, as well as hosting TV shows on PBS and teaching his Barbecue University classes.

Steven Raichlen’s ‘The Barbecue! Bible’
**Personal favorite!!** Elizabeth Karmel’s Soaked, Slathered, & Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill. She has two other books, as well, but I am partial to this one because it’s smaller than Steven Raichlen’s book for one, and it is seriously a complete compendium for how to put meat on the grill, even with just oil, pepper and salt!
Elizabeth is the Executive Chef at Hill Country Barbecue in central Texas and has also leant her grilling prowess into a line of grilling tools under the name Grill Friends that can be found in a lot of kitchen stores.

Elizabeth Karmel’s ‘Soaked Slathered & Seasoned’
Bar Accouterments
Riedel Single-Malt Whisky/Whiskey Glass – For the serious whiskey drinker in your life, grab a set of these beautiful glasses, which bring out the full flavor of that expensive bottle of liquor he enjoys. Approved by a panel of Scotch whisky experts and master distillers in Scotland!

Riedel Single-Malt Whiskey Glass
…or just find some really fun cocktail glasses like these ones that look like ice from Bormioli Rocco or these ones that look like they are toppling over!
Sagaform wobbly whiskey glasses
Whiskey Stones – milled from a particular type of soapstone found in Vermont, this is a centuries-old Scandinavian way of keeping your liquor cool while avoiding watering down your beverage as normal ice would.
Whiskey Stones

Other Kitchen Goodies

My dad loves to make soups and stews in the winter, so another personal favorite is the cookbookThe Big Book of Soups and Stews. Pretty much any recipe you can think of is in this book, and I ended up buying it for myself, too, and use it very regularly!
Bacon/Grill Press – A heavy cast iron grill press will help eliminate the curl from back or ham when cooking on the stovetop or grilling. Works great as a sandwich press, too!

Lodge cast iron grill press
Food Dehydrator – Know someone who hunts and likes to make their own jerky? Or just loves appliances that are fun to play with. 😉 For the serious, I recommend L’Equip’s 6-tray dehydrator. For the less serious (read: less expensive) you can probably find one starting at around $40-$50 price range, like this Ronco model.

Ronco food dehydrator

I will try to think of more goodies, but this is a solid list of staples to think about year-to-year. The more tools you arm him with, the more delicious food you might receive in return!! What are your favorite gifts for Dads? I would love to add more to this list to help people out!