Everyone can cook, some just better than others
Create My Cookbook (prices vary)
There are plenty of cookbooks out there from famous chefs, not-so-famous chefs and even Guy Fieri. Rather than digging into that well-worn well, why not create your own cookbook? Have a sibling? Build them a cookbook of family recipes. A significant other? Collect recipes from their mother or grandmother and put them together in a single spiral-bound collection.
Dante Bear Claw shredder ($58.50)
OK, so this kitchen gadget is far from essential — how often does one need to shred meat in bulk, after all? Regardless, how fun does this look? Strap on the included silicon gloves with the faux bear claws, which look like a set of knife-adorned brass knuckles, and go all Wolverine on those sides of pork and brisket.
DIY bacon kit ($19.95)
My father is generally a cautious man, which explains why he once said, “You know, bacon might just be one of my top 20 favorite foods,” which is funny to me for multiple reasons, mainly the inclusion of the word “might,” and the way I'd be stretching the list once I hit 15 or 16 foods (“I don't know, avocado, I guess?”) Gift the bacon lover in your life with this kit, which enables you to make homemade slabs of the salty pork-stuff.
Sur la Table
3990 New Bond St., Easton
Lodge seasoned cast-iron skillet ($29)
A buddy got me one of these hefty, 12-inch skillets from Lodge, and it's become absolutely indispensable. Use it for everything from frying up your homemade bacon to toasting spices and/or nuts or weighing down tofu when you're trying to drain it of liquid. It's crafted to last a lifetime, which is a great return on value.
Nelson Wood Shop custom cutting board (prices vary)
A knife and cutting board are go-to kitchen tools. While most cutting boards are bland (confession: I used a cheap, white plastic thing that I purchased years ago at a big-box retailer), these custom items from Nelson Wood Shop, which feature pixelated video game designs, such as one embedded with a monster from “Space Invaders,” double as works of art that you'll be proud to display on your counter.