Our Favorite Kitchen Things for People Who Love to Eat & Cook

by | Jun 3, 2021

awesome gifts for people who like to cook

We wanted to share some of our favorite cooking tools, appliances, kitchen accessories ~ really everything in our kitchen that we just love.

We’re not paid to say any of this – these are all things we use in our home kitchen – but we may earn a small commission if you purchase something. These make great gifts for people who love to eat and cook.

Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan ($89)

carbon steel frying pan 12 inch madein

There’s a lot of hype out there about frying pans, but this one lives up to it. Not going to lie, my interest was first piqued  because Chef Grant Achatz backed this company (the insanely brilliant chef of Michelin-Starred Alinea, Next Restaurant and The Aviary).

I’ll pick up pretty much anything Achatz is throwing down, so I got a 12-inch blue carbon steel frying pan as a gift for Thomas (you can have names engraved on the handle, so it’s a fun gift to give). At $89 for quality made cookware, it’s a great deal, and it’s only $20 more for engraving.

We’ve been loving it and mostly use it for sautéing veggies and giving them a bit of a char. Thomas swears by it for searing steak. Like cast iron, it’s a little bit of a seasoning project, but it in a fun, personal way. Once seasoned, it’s non stick (no icky non stick chemicals, thank you) and cleans up easy. It’s also oven safe (up to 1200F!) so it’s super versatile. The upward-angled handle also makes it easy to maneuver and it doesn’t get hot. We’ve also given this as a gift and they loved it!

Shop Made In Frying Pan

All-Clad Kitchen Towel 3-Pack ($21)

our favorite kitchen towels for cooking

We keep a ton of towels in the kitchen because one of us likes to cook a bit “loose” (sloppy) and we’re trying to reduce our paper towel use.

These thick towels are also great for grabbing something hot when you just can’t find the dang pot holders. They’re also great for drying dishes, and I love the classic strip look.

Buy 3-Pack of All-Clad Towels

Sabatier 8-inch Carbon Steel Cook’s Knife ($67)

pantina carbon steel knife on pretty napkin

Thomas adores this French knife. It’s well weighted, perfectly balanced and slices very finely. It holds an edge for a long time and is easy to sharpen.

Because it requires a little bit of maintenance (sharpening and being specific about cleaning it right/keeping it dry) you end up feeling connected to it, and it pays you back by developing a nice patina over time. It’s also reasonably priced, unlike other carbon knifes that are marked way up.

Browse Sabatier Knives

The Horizon SF-550 Kitchen Scale ($21)

best food scale

This little thing is one of the big workhorses in our kitchen. It’s so much faster using this to measure food/spice/liquid weights than using measuring cups, and its more accurate. In fact, it says it registers weights within 1 gram of accuracy.

Bonus – you don’t have to clean a bunch of measuring cups after making a meal. I’ve been using this a lot too to measure portion sizes for calorie counting.

Check Out the Scale Here

Inkbird Wifi BBQ Meat Thermometer ($99)

best meat thermometer wifi app

Thomas doesn’t do BBQ without this thing. He uses it to monitor the temperature of the grill and smoker and to obviously stick it in meat and gauge its temp.

It operates on wifi, which is great, because he can go in and watch the Bears game while still keeping an eye on the grill in the back.

See the WIFI BBQ Thermometer

M.B.O.O. Olive Oil ($12.50)

our favorite olive oil decent price

Our friends brought this over to us and we have been loving it ever since. It’s silky smooth, slippery in that good way that you don’t want olive oil coating your mouth and a bit fruity. It’s not a million bucks but it feels and tastes like it.

We love using this for salad dressings, drizzled over veggies and for bread dipping. Note: Our beloved ceramic “Quigley” was created by Louisville artist, Bob Lockhart.

Shop M.B.O.O. Olive Oil

Le Creuset Set of 4 8.5-inchPasta Bowls ($59+)

four blue wide pasta bowls on counter

When it comes to cooking, I’ve got more Hulk Hogan moves than a Fred Astaire vibe. I beat the heck out of anything I use. I’ve tried to be more gentle when I work in the kitchen, but it doesn’t work. It’s just the way I roll, and I embrace it.

That said, I need plates and bowls that will put up with my banging around and accidentally whacking cabinets when I put them away. These large pasta bowls take the cake. They’re beautiful and tough. I love how you can just fill them up and the brim keeps everything from slopping around.

View Le Creuset Pasta Bowls

Krups Coffee and Spice Grinder ($27)

our favorite coffee grinder for beans and spices

This is our favorite home grinder for coffee and whole spices. While we work with big fancy grinders back at the spice shop, we like the little profile this KRUPS F203 Grinder keeps at home. We just pop it in and out of the cabinet when needed.

It’s a mighty little thing – we’ve had ours for at least 5 years now and she still works like a charm.

Check Out the Spice and Coffee Grinder

The Always Ceramic Pan ($145+)

we love this ceramic pot with steamer

So we got served this ad on Instagram and boy are we glad we “fell for it”. This and our Made In frying pan are used virtually daily in our house. We might as well just keep them on the stove.

This is a serious non-stick pan, no seasoning required and none of the gross stuff (it’s coating is made without PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals and nanoparticles). It’s light as a feather for people with arthritis or other hand/arm pain, and is truly is a pan for anything you need to cook.

It comes with an adorable wooden spatula and holder on the handle that is way more useful than I thought it would be. It cooks your main dish and can steam veggie sides or dumplings with the add-on basket sitting above. Plus, the lid can lock closed or you can adjust it to let steam out. It’s also adorable.

See Our Place’s Always Pan

The Grace Effect Candles ($20+)

  shop Grace Effect candles

We don’t have a hood/exterior vent in our kitchen (yet!), which means lots of lingering smells going on after we cook. We like to light up these beautiful, clean-burning candles after our meals. They’re made with soy and use phthalate-free essential oils, so they’re not toxic and they also smell delicious.

The Grace Effect is a family-run candle shop, dedicated to their daughter Grace, a bright young lady who happens to have Down Syndrome. Grace is creating these beautiful candles as a way to secure an independent future for herself. They’re seriously luxurious candles filled with lots of positive energy!

See All Grace Effect Candles

Iconites Large 7-Quart Air Fryer ($89)

air fryer we use all the time

You know how you’ve thought how convenient it would be to have a second oven in the basement for when you’re cooking a ton and you just need some more space? Well forget that and just get this air fryer, which is basically a smaller convection oven.

I wasn’t in the “I must get an air fryer” group when they first started getting popular, but my curiosity kept getting to me and I kept “almost buying one”. Then my lovely mind-reader brother and sister-in-law gifted me this and I can’t believe how much I love it. We use it all the time.

View the Air Fryer

Littlefoot Coffee ($12.75+)

our favorite coffee roasters

our favorite coffee from Michigan

We first met this delicious coffee with its adorable mascot in Chicago when our favorite coffee shop started sourcing and roasting their own beans.

They have since left Chicago and moved to Grandville, Michigan but they ship nationwide. And their shipping is lightning fast. I’m pretty sure we just got our last order the next day.

We get the whole beans and grind them fresh. Give them a try if you want truly great coffee made by people with big hearts.

Shop Littlefoot Coffee

Wand Frother for Turmeric Lattes and Coffee Drinks ($9)

frother wand for lattes coffee

Now that we have one, I don’t know how we lived with out it. It gives turmeric lattes and coffee that extra special oomph when you add frothed milk on top.

This is another thing we’ve had forever and it just keeps humming along.

View Electric Frother Wand

Yeti Mugs ($25)

yeti coffee cups with lids

Speaking of coffee, we love our Yeti mugs. I’m a slow coffee drinker. It’ll take me over an hour, sometimes two, to drink a cup. This is the only mug I’ve ever had that keeps the coffee hot that long without it being some huge camping kind of mug.

It also just fits well in your hand and doesn’t make you drip coffee all over yourself like some mugs with lids do.

See Yeti Mugs

Sonos Speakers ($249+)

sonos speakers are worth it

Someone very generous gifted us with Sonos speakers a few years ago and I love having one in the kitchen. Perfect for podcast listening or tunes when cooking or entertaining and the sound quality is legit on point.

I’m not even someone who understands what “sound quality” really means, but I notice how sharp and distinct everything sounds when played through these puppies. I love that it’s small and portable but it fills the whole room with music. A splurge for sure, but worth it.

View Sonos Speakers

Co-Op Hot Unicorn Tears Hot Sauce ($7)

Co op Unicorn tears hot sauce

A hot, balanced hot sauce full of flavor and fun. Serrano peppers with chocolate habanero jam and wasabi – I mean, come on that sounds insanely delicious. It’s a collaboration with Pipeworks Brewery in Chicago, some of our favorite beer. Highly, highly recommend.

Shop Co-Op Hot Sauces Here

Pet Memorial Sun Catchers by ShadowsAglow ($29+)

 our pet memorial crystals

These memorial sun catchers for our dogs and cats who have passed hang in one of our kitchen windows. They send sparkles of light dancing through the kitchen a few hours a day.

They’re the sweetest gifts we’ve received, and now we often send them to friends when their beloved pets pass. Just a beautiful way to celebrate your pets.

Shop Personalized Memorial Suncatchers

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by Kenji López-Alt ($30+)

The Food Lab Cookbook on Shelf

Kenji López-Alt is the Chief Culinary Consultant behind Serious Eats where he authors The Food Lab. He also writes columns for The New York Times and Cooking Light. He’s a walking food encyclopedia and approachable wizard of a chef. This is his first book (2015) and it was a New York Times Best Seller and won a James Beard Award, among other awards.

This book, along with Serious Eats website, has been a go-to reference for us for years. We really like that the recipes are highly technical and well thought-out and still approachable for a typical home cook. Following López-Alt’s instructions can help you develop skills that extend into all your cooking.

Shop The Food Lab

Tiffin by Sonal Ved ($31+)

This is a beautiful, comprehensive exploration of Indian food. A true masterpiece. It would take us a decade to fully absorb the entire book, there’s just so much to learn. It’s not overwhelming though, it’s just breathtaking. There’s 500 recipes, and they’re organized by region, which helps you gain a better understanding of Indian food in general.

When people come to our house, they’re often drawn to the book and flip through it with wide eyes, oohing and ahhing. And we do the same. We keep it out for inspiration, recipes and just to flip through when we have some spare time to learn more about the tastes of India.

Buy Tiffin Online Here


Are we missing out on something cool? Let us know by posting your favorite kitchen stuff in the comments. We want to know what you love!


  • Prices are accurate as of June 2, 2021.
  • For some qualifying products we may earn a small commission as an Amazon associate or from other qualifying referral programs. But we are never paid for reviews. These are products we use in our every day lives and adore.


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