I love a good top 10 list, I think it’s a remnant from childhoods spent listening to the top 20 on a Sunday night, waiting for Radio 1 to changeover to FM!
I was intrigued to get this top 10 list from Cook In Style, to see what they were selling well in these interesting times we live in. This is their top 10,in reverse order of course, and my thoughts and possible alternatives.
10. Joseph Joseph Multicoloured Kitchen Nesting Set – You know what, I quite like this. One thing the majority of foodies are going to have is a shortage of space, so anything to help with that is great. And these look kind of pretty. There are two possible issues though: one, do the bits that aren’t mixing bowls stand up to proper use and two, do they stack well when half of the things are in the dishwasher or full of leftovers in the fridge? If you’re going to buy this, then it’s cheaper at John Lewis.
9. Kitchencraft Magnetic Spice Rack with Six Holders – this seems both practical and stylish, with the dishes being decent sizes to hold big things you use a lot of, like rock salt and bay leaves for example. Good for a foodie starting out, and you could add some decent spices to this as well. I really like Steenbergs if I want to order online, or Spices of India for more exotic fare. Living this close to Leicester though, there is nothing to beat going to some of the food stores there and getting spices there.
8. Marco Pierre White Cooking in Hells Kitchen – a surprising entry for the only cook book in their list. It’s ranked 164,000th on Amazon, so I’m not sure on this. If you wanted to send someone a book by Marco, I would be more tempted by Marco’s Great British Feast instead. I think it has more interesting and useful recipes, as well as tapping into the seasonal and British vibe.
7. KitchenCraft Tempero Shot Glasses – I think these look pretty good, and serve many purposes, over and above shots of liquor. From small appetisers through to stunning desserts and holders for delicate flowers, these are lovely to have to hand. I like the mix of designs, as I’m not particularly into matchy matchy type arrangements. If you wanted something that might be even more of a talking point, then check out the ice shot glass mould at Firebox.
6. Outback Omega Gas Grill – I can only assume that they have sold these at a big discount all summer! I would say it was a little late to be treating someone to a BBQ now, unless you can get a really good one at a big discount. What about something a bit different, like the American camp ovens that Pedlars have in stock? I think these offer up something different in outdoor cooking, which is bound to appeal to the active foodie.
5. Pink Flamenco Child’s Apron – ah yes, pink rules where girls of a certain age are involved! They do grow out of it. Mini Gourmet Girl is just heading out of the pink hues, and if you need a more funky childs apron, then I would suggest having a look at Not On the High Street. There are some great options, from personalised to ones with quotes from Plato and Socrates. If you’ve got a boy, or a tomboy, then check out the camo apron!
4. Brushed Nickel Fan – I bet these all sold on the very rare hot days we had, and have generally laid unused for most of the summer. Although now jam making is in full flow they may be useful for when you’re slaving over a boiling dish of sugar and fruit!
3. Ceiling Mounted Pan Rack – Congrats to those of you with ceilings high enough to take one of these without you knocking yourself out on the frying pan. I like having stuff visible in the kitchen, and to hand. To me though, this doesn’t make a great gift unless you know a) the person really wants one b) the kitchen can take it and c) someone has the ability to put it up properly.
2. Maxwell & Williams Cashmere Allegro 16 Piece Dinner Set – nice enough design, but in my view the wrong number of things! Even with two of you, you’ll get through 4 very quickly. For a couple, I would say 6 was good, gives you enough to have one set clean, one set dirty, and one set going round the dishwasher. If you need a first set of matching china, then I would head to Ikea for their basic white stuff, which is good quality, very reasonable and will go with everything.
1. 2 Lions Sabatier Milan Knife Block Set of 5 – this strikes horror into my heart. For a serious foodie, they need serious knives, not a block set. This is okay for your first kitchen, but any serious foodie needs to go into the shop and try out how each knife feels in the hand. In fact the only set of knives I could think would go down well with a serious foodie would be something like the Laguiole steak knives. That said, I don’t like sending knives, there is an old Japanese tradition that I think is about not sending knives or scissors, as they represent the severing of a relationship. Not the best message for anniversary present perhaps!
So, there you go, probably this list is like finding Agadoo at the top of the charts. It says there are a lot of kitchens with some not fantastic equipment, which may ultimately not be the best use of what ever cash you have to spend. I would always look what brands and styles are already in the kitchen as a good starting point if you want to buy gadgets. That and something completely off the wall, like when candyfloss makers were first available. Sometimes, you just have to not take this whole foodie thing too seriously!