So, you have a friend or relative who is a “foodie” but doesn’t want to be called a “foodie.”
“I hate that word!” they say. “Everyone likes food!”
But no, their love of food goes above and beyond the average human’s love of food. They live to eat, rather than eat to live. And when you think of that person, you probably think of a specific food, rather than trait, that defines them — Pickles! Pizza! Hot sauce!
Well, luckily for you, we found food gifts for every type of “don’t call me a foodie” foodie in your life — from the coffee snob to the reusable straw activist, and the knife collector to the cake stalker (you know, those people who only follow cake-icing accounts on Instagram). If you get it right, they’ll probably make you more meals — because, let’s be real, that’s what you’re really after, right?
The below list has deals by category, to quickly jump to the category you're looking for click on the links below:
- Bestselling gifts for foodies
- Best gifts for coffee and tea lovers
- Best cookbook gifts
- Best gifts for food lovers
- Best gifts for the serious chef
When we release our 2020 gift guides, we make sure all prices are current. But prices change frequently, so there’s a chance the prices are now different than they were the day of publication.
Bestselling gifts for foodies
It is technically a mug — but don’t call it a “muggle,” because it will make you say, “What is this sorcery?” when you drink from it.
Its “stainless steel vacuum insulation” will keep hot beverages hot for an almost alarmingly long time (by the EOD it’ll still be steaming) and cold beverages cold for an equally ridiculous amount of time (ice cubes refuse to melt). Plus, its sleek, matte exterior (we love black and smoky blue) makes it an accessory anyone would be proud to carry around.
If you know someone who can’t stop talking about the Netflix series “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” with Samin Nosrat (and who doesn’t?), now’s the time to get them the cookbook from which it originated. It’s a brilliant ode to the four pillars of good cooking that guides the home cook away from blindly following recipes to a T and leads them instead to confidently create delicious meals on instinct with the ingredients they already have.
3. Koffie Straw
Your friend who has already committed to not using single-use straws already has a reusable straw — probably a metal one — and those can burn your mouth and chip your teeth. So, since friends don’t let friends burn their mouth and chip their teeth, get them the Koffie Straw.
This one is made from soft silicone, is dishwasher-safe and will remain at room temperature regardless of the temperature of the drink you’re sipping. Plus, it’s much easier to carry around than a metal straw because it’s flexible and can be folded up to fit in your back pocket. And now for the wow factor: Silicone will last forever, but if you do want to get rid of it, all you have to do is burn it — it’ll turn into 100% biodegradable ash. Boom.
If you know someone who's more of a DIY heat seeker, get ‘em a hot-sauce-making kit. This version offers two options: “The Forager’s Blend,” which contains earthy, smoky flavors like guajillo, chipotle and pequin peppers, and “The Grove Blend,” which has bright, citrusy flavors like piri piri, anaheim and habanero peppers. All they have to do is add vinegar and salt, follow the easy instructions and come up with their own witty names for the sauces, like “Heaters Gonna Heat” or “Sick Burn.”
This is the pepper mill to end all pepper mills — which, to some, may not sound so exciting, but to the home cook, it’s a real game-changer. There are six (six!) grinding settings — from super fine to super coarse. So, for example, you’ll be grinding some coarse pepper on your Caesar salad, then with a couple of easy clicks, you’re topping your soup with a finer grind. And, while you’re at it, to really round out the gift and get the seasoning just right, grab the matching adjustable salt mill, too.
Best gifts for coffee and tea lovers
The best part of waking up is the smell (and sound!) of freshly ground coffee beans whizzing away in a coffee grinder. There are great manual grinders, too, but if your friend is in a rush to get to their morning cup of joe, this baby will grind their beans in under 10 seconds. And it’s not just limited to coffee beans: the blades can handle spices, herbs, nuts, grains and more.
Now, where to put those freshly ground beans? In a French press, of course! The coffee that comes out is strong and flavorful — even better than your favorite barista’s. It also keeps the coffee hot for a solid amount of time. It's no surprise that it has 4.8 stars from over 9,200 reviews.
3. Rainbow Mugs
Brighten up anyone's morning with these retro-style, multicolored mugs. They can be used for hot and cold beverages, are dishwasher- and microwave-safe and will transport their drinker right back to the '70s.
Editor's Note: For a less expensive version, check out this one.
“How? How do you not drink coffee?” you ask. You’ll never understand it, but you love them anyway, so you get them this super chic pour-over tea kettle which has variable temperature control since different teas require different temps. (You knew that.) If they eventually decide to change their minds and switch to coffee, it works for that, too.
Best cookbook gifts
Known for viral recipes such as "The Cookies" and "The Stew," Alison Roman is back with her second cookbook, which is all about how to "have people over" rather than "entertain" — i.e. keep it casual, don't go overboard trying to impress your guests, just make what you like and never apologize. She's got never-fail chicken recipes (like the one on the cover) but it's a mostly vegetarian-friendly cookbook, heavy on the vegetables and grains.
In Hebrew (borrowed from Arabic slang), "sababa" means "everything is awesome," and yes, everything in this cookbook is, indeed, awesome. Israel-based, California-born Adeena Sussman’s newest cookbook "Sababa" is an ode to her adopted homeland and the ingredients found at the open-air shuk right outside her apartment. Notable recipes include sour lime and pomegranate chicken wings and a creamy green shakshuka best enjoyed with crispy latkes.
Priya Krishna’s first cookbook begins with a PSA from Padma Lakshmi: “This is not a cookbook of traditional Indian food." Instead, it's a cookbook of recipes inspired by Krishna's bicultural upbringing in Dallas, Texas — think roti pizza, cardamom bread pudding, "Indian Gatorade," a tangy, yogurt-filled take on grilled cheese and the super popular saag feta.
4. "Women on Food: Charlotte Druckman and 115 Writers, Chefs, Critics, Television Stars, and Eaters"
So, this isn't technically a cookbook, but it is a book on food — a collection of essays, profiles and interviews from some of the food world's most distinctive female voices — like Charlotte Druckman, Carla Hall, Nigella Lawson, Jessica B. Harris, Rachael Ray, Tejal Rao, Dorie Greenspan and more — covering cultural topics from the #MeToo movement to the intersection of food and fashion.
Best gifts for food lovers
Because this is a bandwagon worth jumping on. Not that it really needs any explanation at this point, but it’s one pot with eight functions — including a non-scary pressure cooker, a slow-cooker, a saute pan, a rice cooker, a steamer, you name it. And if the contraption still seems intimidating, there’s no better guide than The New York Times’ Melissa Clark and her cookbook, “Comfort in an Instant,” which includes a recipe for Instant Pot risotto carbonara ... so there’s that.
Mosser’s jadeite cake stand will, without exception, elevate the appearance of any dessert that’s placed atop it. Its soft green glossiness will garner constant compliments, even if the cake it’s holding up looks less than appetizing.
Since one can never have too many condiments, we present Brooklyn Delhi’s Tomato Achaar, a spicy, savory, tangy Indian relish which belongs on literally everything: eggs, tacos, toast, pizza, you name it (like honestly probably ice cream, too). Once you run out of things to dip into it, we promise you will take a spoon to it. And while you’re at it, grab yourself some Curry Mustard and Curry Ketchup, too — your hamburgers, hot dogs and fries will never be the same.
Forget the boxed stuff and just imagine the pasta-bilities with this beautiful machine. There is nothing better in this world than fresh pasta, and there’s something meditative about the whole process of mixing the egg with the flour, kneading the dough and hand-cranking your own sheets — like, for a brief period of time, you’re actually the chef of a little trattoria in Italy ... and this machine is the best assistant you could possibly ask for. But, you know, that whole hands-on thing isn’t for everyone, so the next best thing would be Sfoglini’s Seasonal Pasta Subscription — boxes on boxes of Brooklyn-made pasta made with locally-sourced ingredients like beet, sriracha and mint.
No doubt you know someone who always pays extra for guac, is always buying avocadosat the grocery store (maybe bread, too, because #avocadotoast), and never stops talking about “healthy fats.” This person should not be making their guac in a bowl. It’s time they upgraded to the mighty molcajete: the Mexican version of a mortar, made out of volcanic rock. Some places will try to sell you “molcajetes” made of cement. Those are not real molcajetes. Volcanic rock makes volcanic guac.
If you know anyone trying to spice up their pantry, look no further than NY Shuk, an artisanal food company focused on bringing true North African flavors to your kitchen.
We turned to Anthony Falco, pizza consultant of Roberta’s fame (he has a pizza named after him there: “The Millenium Falco”), for his advice in this category, and he said that he prefers baking steel to baking stones: “I like [steel] because it’s indestructible, versatile and acts as a fantastic thermal battery with great heat regeneration for making pizza on. The pro move is to put the baking steel on a lower rack and then line the top with cheap unglazed quarry tiles from any home improvement store. So you make a little oven within an oven. With radiant heat coming from the top and a super hot steel for cooking the pizza on.” Sold.
Jerky: Either you love it or you hate it. But those who love it are head-over-heels for it — in car rides, smuggled into the movies, as protein pick-me-ups at work, really anywhere. But as true jerky aficionados know, all dried meat products are not created equal — and JoJo’s is the real deal, using all-natural ingredients and no preservatives, with in-your-face flavors ranging from spicy Thai chili to spicy carne asada.
A super crunchy granola for an equally crunchy friend. This stuff is addicting. But not guiltily addicting, since it’s made from things that sound healthy like quinoa, millet and chia, sweetened with coconut sugar and baked with coconut oil. All around, it's a super satisfying stocking stuffer.
As any true turophile knows, one knife does not fit all when it comes to cheese. So, the best thing you can do is to equip them with the trifecta of cheese knives: a cheese plane for shaving even slices of semi-hard or hard cheese; a thin blade for clean-cutting into soft cheese, and a cheese spade for hacking into hard, crumbly cheese.
For any rosé wine lover, there is nothing worse than room temperature wine and nothing better than a perfectly chilled glass of rosé. So, take their day from zero to 100 with this white marble wine cooler that will not only chill the wine quickly but keep it chilled for as long as you need to finish it — and look incredibly chic while doing so. And, while you’re at it, throw in a Drop Stop so no drop of wine goes wasted.
If you’ve ever been on Instagram, you’ve undoubtedly seen Brittany Wright’s (aka @wrightkitchen's) bright, eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing photographs of food gradients — think citrus, toast, tomatoes, eggs and all of the lovely produce you can imagine, organized in an incredibly satisfying ombre manner. It would be a dream come true for any farmers market frequenter to own one of Wright’s works, so their Instagram feed can become their real-life wall art.
We all know someone who’s a bit of an experimenter in the kitchen, who doesn’t repeat recipes, who loves foam and molecular gastronomy and who is constantly eager to try the latest and greatest culinary gadget. Their next gadget, then, should be this sous vide. By pairing with your phone and gently heating up any vacuum-sealed protein in water, this device will consistently deliver any user perfectly cooked steak, chicken, pork, fish, and whatever their heart — well, stomach — desires. Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to grab them a lab coat to wear while they use it.
Best gifts for the serious chef
Razor-sharp and super lightweight, the Global chef’s knife will feel like an extension of your arm as soon as you start using it. It was also a favorite of late chef Anthony Bourdain, who wrote in his memoir “Kitchen Confidential” that instead of buying knife sets, home cooks should just purchase one high-quality knife. He described the Global as “a very good Japanese product which has — in addition to its many other fine qualities — the added attraction of looking really cool."
If you have a pal who likes to grill — like, nothing in the world is more satisfying to them than perfect char marks — but maybe doesn’t have the space for a grill or would prefer not to go outside when it’s freezing out, this grill-meets-griddle pan combo is the perfect solution. Make pancakes for the fam on the flat side in the morning, then flip it over to the ridged side to sear steaks perfectly at night.
“Dress for the job you want,” they said. So, have your friend slip on this durable, handmade apron you got them, and here’s what they'll look like: a chef who knows what the hell they're doing and also looks super cool doing it. It also comes with lots of convenient pockets for all of the super cool tools they'll be getting from this list.
4. The Dutchess
No one should have to wait ‘til their wedding registry (which may or may not ever come) to get some solid, stylish cookware. Great Jones aims to outfit your kitchen with high-quality cooking staples, like frying, sauce and saute pans at accessible prices. Our personal favorite item, “The Dutchess,” is a Dutch oven that's so eye-catching you’ll never want to put it away.
Finding the perfect present can be a challenge, but Shop TODAY's up to the task. Try our interactive gift finder to sort gifts by price, person and interest. And no matter who you're looking for, we've got gift guides for everyone on your list, including:
- 22 gifts for your co-workers and boss 2020
- 39 best hostess gifts for less than $25 in 2020
- 41 unique cooking gift ideas for home chefs
This gift guide was originally published on Nov. 13, 2018.