Alison's Holiday Gift Guide

Last week, I came up with a list of beneficial kitchen appliances to tease your senses with flashing lights and mechanical sounds. This time I am going to recommend a bunch of innovative utensils that might lack all of those fancy bells and whistles, but are just as efficient. Some of these inventions are tools that you never even knew existed, while others are enhanced versions of the originals. Either way, the recipient of these useful gifts will be eager to start cooking with them. If the lucky heir of your holiday present is as passionate about fresh ingredients as I am, they will appreciate your consideration for their healthy lifestyle when you reward them with one of these innovative utensils. They can throw together some lean party dip with the Chef'n Flexicado, which aides in the easy removal of the fleshy interior of the otherwise challenging avocado. The hostess with the mostess can keep the party going with a homemade onion blossom courtesy of the Paderno® Onion Blossom Cutter. The Italian-made Tomato Press offers a helpful hand when crafting custom sauces and salsas. A useful suction cup allows the chef to conveniently attach the tool to their countertop, and the included recipes provide additional guidance. Other low-calorie gear includes items to help remove pesky pits from your favorite fruits and vegetables. Williams-Sonoma's exclusive Pepper Corer will speed up your grilling process without shedding sticky seeds around the kitchen. Prepare for festive holiday fruit pies with the OXO® Cherry/Olive Pitter, the Cuisipro® Apple Corer, or the unique Chef'n Stem Gem which removes the leaves of strawberries.  Williams-Sonoma also sells a unique Pineapple Easy Slicer that will be the perfect tool for fresh tropical salads when the warmer seasons arrive.

There are also creative new instruments for chefs that are more interested in crafting heavier, more substantial meals. Pasta fanatics can create their own bundles of joy with Gracious Home's Dumpling Press or Crate and Barrel's Ravioli Stamp. Cooks can also toss out their heavy-handed potato masher in exchange for Williams-Sonoma's exclusive Deluxe Angled Potato Ricer, which grates cooked potatoes into easier to squash strips. Crafting seafood meals has never been more seamless than with some help from Lamson & Goodnow's© Shrimp Deveiner or Pfaltzgraff Farberware's® Tuna Squeeze. Large holiday birds cook more efficiently when the appendages are tied together with Paderno's® handy Poultry Lacer. Fresh spices and herbs can quickly be diced and used to enhance the seasoning of savory meals with items like the Chef'n GarlicZoom or an Asian-style Ginger Grater.

If your loved one enjoys baking, they will benefit from Paderno's® Stainless Steel Cake Lifter, which will ensure that their pastries stay intact and presentable during transport. They will also delight in the creation of homemade toppings courtesy of the Quick Cream Whipper, which forms fluffy peaks of cream more delicate than those dispensed from a canister. Children will get a kick out ofCuisipro's® Cupcake Corer Decorating Kit, which will let them insert oozing custom fillings into their baked treats. The youngsters will also get into the holiday spirit with the Roll and Cut Cookie Cutter, which forms cookies in seasonal shapes like a tree, bell, gingerbread boy, stocking, and snowman.

Other miscellaneous apparatuses include the ten-inch flat Best Whisk, which blends stocks and batters into smooth, lump-free liquids. The Joseph Joseph® Chop2PotPlus provides a sturdy board for cutting and chopping; its edges then fold up to form a slide allowing for the morsels to be neatly transferred into bowls, pans, and so on. There is also the Cuisipro® 3-in-1 Funnel made of sturdy, BPA-free plastic that assembles three different sized cones into one efficient transferring tool.

Though this is just an abbreviated list of the contemporary culinary apparatuses on the market, I hope that I have provided you with an attractive variety to satisfy your gift registry. You can creatively gather a bunch of these affordable instruments into a decorative bouquet or basket; but, no matter how you plan to gift wrap these items, delight in the knowledge that you are furnishing someone's utensil drawer.