Need gift ideas for cooks on your list? I love Christmas, and always try to do a large theme gift for each of my children. Last year’s gift was everything to do with Wok cooking – wok, steamers, cookbooks, spices, gadgets, Asian table settings, apron, etc.; another year it was salads complete with salad spinner, electric salt and pepper shakers, wooden bowls, ingredients to make authentic vinaigrette, spices, and cookbooks, of course. I once did a Picnic theme with “ant” dinnerware, tablecloths, serving pieces, citronella candles, and a great picnic basket. A small chest freezer filled with “Modules,” (recipes on this Quick Cooking Site) is a great idea for busy people with little time to cook, and appeared on my busy daughter’s Christmas list last year (I ask all my kids and grandkids to submit a Christmas list each year to me with the underlying threat of receiving dozens of socks and underwear - nothing else - if I don't receive one).
This year’s gift is Pizza & Pasta, and I’ve had fun gathering all kinds of Italian things, including red & white checked tablecloths, oven peels, aprons, pizza cutters & pans, pasta bowls, pasta drying racks, hand crank pasta machines, unglazed quarry tiles (square to fit the oven rather than round, and available very cheap at home improvement stores), and Italian ingredients. I have researched the best deals on many of the components of the “gift,” and here are some of them. Once gathered, I purchase a large basket, wrap all the gifts, arrange them in the basket, and tie them up with cellophane and a large bow.
I found several good cookbooks with step-by-step instructions on making pasta: pasta cookbooks, as well as others on everything there is to know about authentic pizza: pizza cookbooks.
I’ve had excellent luck with Penzey’s spices in the past; they are very fresh and are shipped quickly: Penzey’s Spices.
Hand Crank Pasta Machinesare reasonably priced at Amazon, and since ravioli is quick, fun, and easy with a ravioli frame, it's a given that one also be included in this gift.
Peels, pizza cutters, and pizza pans are available online at both restaurant supply stores such as Web Restaurant Store and Food Service Warehouse.
Warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s often carry low-priced items to add to your gift, as well as close-out stores like Big Lots.
Please note: I gather my gift items from many places, and have purchased items at the companies mentioned above. This article is not intended to promote any of them specifically; it’s intended to help you save time and money when shopping for your own gifts.
If any of you find better or cheaper places for Pizza/Pasta gift items, or if you have a great idea for a similar theme gift, please let us all know on the Quick Cooking Forum. Happy Shopping!