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Gourmet Inspired Gifts - Cookware Gifting Guide

Holidays, bridal season, birthdays, whatever the occasion — if the person you are buying a gift for cooks, or wants to learn, a kitchen focused gift is always welcome.

A decent set of pots and pans can make the difference between tasty meals and burnt food — the secret to any top chef's success.

For couples, the popularity of online bridal registries and the growing availability of professional-quality products takes the guess work out of wedding and shower gift giving, but if you need a present for Christmas, another holiday or a special occasion, you'll have to do a bit of prep work before selecting the cookware to give.

You may be surprised to find that basic kitchenware — pots, pans and baking sheets — can be found at the top of many wish lists. Whether you're dealing with a gourmet, professional level chef or someone just starting out learning to boil water, cooks in the kitchen need "stuff" to cook in. 

Before you buy, learn about the differences in types of cookware

  • aluminum pot

    Aluminum provides excellent heat transfer, is lightweight, easy to clean and non-stick coatings are available. Aluminum is good for everyday cooking and is great for low-oil or low-butter recipes. The thickness of the metal varies. Less expensive pans tend to be thinner which can cause uneven cooking. Acidic foods can react if they come in contact with the bare aluminum, so make sure to get a non-stick coating if you opt for this metal.

  • cast iron potCast iron can last a lifetime, is great for cooking but can be very heavy. For traditional cooks who enjoy bringing out robust flavors in foods, cast iron is a top choice.  The thickness of the cast iron spreads heat evenly and makes food less likely to burn. Traditional cast iron cookware 'seasoning' techniques are now applied before purchase in most cast iron cookware.

  • copper potsCopper is an excellent heat conductor. Visually attractive, it is for the designer cook who enjoys quality and the art of cooking. The outside surface of the copper will react to heat when the pans are used and will require polishing to keep that designer look. You may want to include pretreated copper shining cloths if you decide to give copper bottom pans.

  • stainless steel pan

    Stainless steel is durable and requires low maintenance. It also offers a bright surface. Since stainless steel is a poor head conductor by itself, most stainless steel cookware will be combined with another metal such as copper or aluminum to aid in heat transfer Stainless is great for talented and aspiring chefs who take cooking and taste seriously. Choose from pans with multi-layers or a conductive bottom for best results.

  • porcelain steel pot

    Porcelain-clad steel is durable and provides even heating, especially in ovens. This is the most popular type of roaster for meats and oven-roasting recipes.


Match the cookware to the cook

For any occasion, the Cookware Manufacturers Association offers the following tips to help guide your gift search...

1.  Consider the person who'll use the cookware.  Ask about their cooking habits and skills. Find out what they have and what they may need to avoid giving duplicates.

2. Select quality, heavy-gauge cookware, gadgets and kitchen utensils — durable enough for a long life even with everyday use. (ED NOTE: when rapped lightly with your knuckles, a piece of heavy guage cookware should sound like a dull thud. Less durable cookware will result in a light "ping".)

3. Really good quality cookware can be expensive. Look for sales and if a full set is out of your price range, think about purchasing just one or two items.  Usually a roasting pan, large skillet or cooking pot with a cover is an appreciated, useful choice.

It takes more than just pots & pans ....

Spice racks are a great idea
for the beginner chef.

Cooking means prep — gadgets that make preparing food easier are any cook's friend. These are the types of items that even aspiring gourmet cooks don't buy for themselves and make perfect food focused gifts.

Good quality utensils in an attractive holder, mandoline slicers, mixing bowls, knife sets, pasta machines, sushi press kits, a set of whisks... are all items that make cooking more pleasant.

Cooking thermometers, peelers and injectors are also handy tools to help get the recipe just right. Cookie cutters and a cookie baking sheet are welcome in any kitchen. An attractive tea pot for boiling water — with a handle that will not get hot or burnt is a great gift idea.

Crock pots and breadmakers are easy, time saving helpers to fill a kitchen with delicious aromas no matter how much experience the chef brings to the meal.

Spice racks with a variety of preground, good quality spices are a good gift for the starting chef. A nice, solid mortar and pestle comes in handy for the grow-your-own or fresh herb lover.

Take a look around in a local chef's supply shop or check the online cooking supply sites for other good ideas.

If your gift hits the spot, you may wind up getting invited to some delicious meals as a special thank-you for a thoughtful and useful gift!

Source... - Courtesy of ARA Content

More about buying cookware around the Web:

How to Choose Cookware - AllRecipes guide to what to look for when buying quality cookware.

10 Time Saving Cooking Gadgets - A Top 10 review of how to make quick work in the kitchen.

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