11 Gifts for the Aspiring Chef, Baker, or Mixologist

iStock
iStock

Whether the folks on your list are just learning how to boil water or have memorized Larousse Gastronomique, they'll love one of these handy tools and gadgets in their home kitchen.

1. FOOD FOR THOUGHT PLATES; $30

Cocktail plates from Z Gallerie
Z Gallerie

You can add a dash of humor to your giftee's next party by giving this cute set of four 7.5-inch porcelain plates. They all feature sayings with cheeky double entendres: "Holy shiitake," "I love it when you call me Big Papaya," "It takes two to mango," and "I'm kind of a big dill."

Find It: Zgallerie

2. CRUCIAL DETAIL PORTHOLE INFUSER; $120

Crucial Detail Porthole Infuser
MoMA Store

Designed by Crucial Detail founder Martin Kastner, the Porthole lets your foodie friends create their own infused oils, vinegars, teas, or even liquors. First, lay the six-inch-diameter, tempered glass vessel on its flat side and release the center screw. Add a selection of fruit, herbs, or chili peppers to the vessel. Reattach the lid to create an airtight seal, stand it up, and pour plain olive oil or other liquid through the spout. Then, steep until the mixture reaches peak flavor.

Find It: MoMA Design Store

3. PROJECT 62 COPPER CHEESE KNIFE SET; $17

Target Project 62 copper cheese knife set
Target

This four-piece cheese knife set is one of the items in Target's new line of mid-century modern-inspired housewares and décor, Project 62. The gray marble handles and bright copper blades will add flair to holiday cheese boards and hors d'oeuvre trays.

Find It: Target

4. KOLOSSOS GREEK ORGANIC WINE VINEGAR TRIO; $30

Kolossos Greek wine vinegar trio
Rocky Luten/Food52

Enliven salads and other bites with a spritz from one of these piquant organic vinegars, all made from heritage grapes grown in Greece. The red wine vinegar uses fruit from 2000-year-old vines in Nemea, the white wine variety is made with D.P.O. Roditis grapes from Patras, and the white wine balsamic style uses the Roditis grapes with a splash of raw, unfiltered wildflower honey.

Find It: Food 52

5. YEDI DESERT GOLD CUPS AND SAUCERS; $30

Yedi desert gold espresso cups and saucers
Amazon

This elegant and affordable four-piece espresso cup set will perk up your pal's morning coffee routine. Each 2.5-ounce porcelain cup features a cobalt blue, grass green, sunny yellow, or slate blue hue on the inside of the cup and reflective gold exterior, plus a saucer in matching tones.

Find It: Amazon

6. MEEHAN'S BARTENDER MANUAL; $20

Meehan's Bartender Manual
Ten Speed Press

Mixologist and author Jim Meehan, formerly of New York City's Gramercy Tavern, Pegu Club, and other hotspots, offers this chic compendium of everything there is to know about cocktails. From a history and evolution of drinks—did you know punch was popularized by the British navy because it didn't spoil on long sea voyages?—to serving techniques and cocktail recipes with beautiful photos, this hefty book will earn a special place on your giftee's bar cart.

Find It: Amazon

7. CRAFTHOUSE BY FORTESSA SMOKING BOX; $250

Crafthouse by Fortessa smoking box
Amazon

When your friends consider a standard cocktail too pedestrian, offer them this streamlined smoker. Just place an adult beverage in the box, close the door, and put a pinch of woodchips (two kinds are included with the set) in the attached smoking gun's reservoir. Then, light the smoking gun. A stream of smoke will waft directly into the box, infusing the drink with smoky complexity. The smoker can also be used for non-alcoholic drinks and foods.

Find It: Amazon

8. TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES JIGSAW PUZZLE CUTTING BOARD; $29

Jigsaw puzzle cutting board
Ten Thousand Villages

Fair trade artisans in Indonesia create these handy wooden cutting boards from sustainably sourced suar wood, which features a thick grain pattern and walnut-like hue. Chop up nibbles on the rectangular surface, then split up the four interlocking pieces to serve cheeses, fruit, crackers, and more.

Find It: Amazon

9. PHILIPS TURBOSTAR AIRFRYER; $227

Philips Airfryer
Philips

This sleek appliance can fry, bake, roast, and grill with almost no added oil, meaning your giftee won't feel quite so guilty when a craving for onion rings strikes. The TurboStar technology circulates hot air through the heated chamber so one never needs to flip or stir food while it's cooking, and the control dial with presets for popular foods ensures the right temperature and cooking times for healthier, tastier meals.

Find It: Amazon

10. WILLIAMS SONOMA HOLIDAY COOKIE GIFT CRATE; $80

Williams-Sonoma holiday cookie gift crate
Williams-Sonoma

Whether your friends are noobs in the kitchen or could win the Great British Baking Show, give them this adorable gift set as a fun and delicious way to celebrate the season. Each crate contains rich shortbread cookie mix, peppermint "snow" to sprinkle on top, four stainless steel cookie cutters in snowflake, candy cane, pine tree, and gingerbread man shapes, a cute snowman spatula, and striped tea towel.

Find It: Williams Sonoma

11. RETRO CANDY GIFT BOX: CHOOSE YOUR DECADE; $35

Candy Crate gift box of 1980s candy
Candy Crate

Better than any Halloween haul, Candy Crate's gift boxes include about 55 pieces of candy in full and fun sizes from the decade of your choice. For example, the 1980s box offers vintage faves like Nerds, Fruit Stripe gum, Charms Blow Pops, Atomic Fireballs, Jolly Ranchers and much more. Sugary selections from the 1940s to the 1990s are available.

Find It: Candy Crate

12 Items Every Taco Lover Needs

Amazon
Amazon

October 4 is National Taco Day. Let’s tacobout some products you can buy to show your love for this most excellent of foods every day of the year.

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1. TRICERATACO HOLDER; $22

Two dinosaur shaped taco holders with tacos in them.
Amazon

Yes, you could buy some more standard stainless steel taco holders, but why not get these punny and whimsical stands instead? They’re made of BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe. If carnivorous dinos are more your speed, try the TACOsaurus Rex.

Find it: Amazon

2. SHORT SLEEVE TACO SHIRT; $16 - $25

Subtly show your taco appreciation with this button up shirt, which is equipped with a tiny taco print and is made of 100 percent cotton. (They recommend buying a size up from your usual size.)

Find it: Amazon

3. TACO WAIST PACK; $11

A fanny pack with tacos on it.
Amazon

Don’t call it a fanny pack: This taco-adorned waist pack has three compartments and an adjustable strap that will accommodate taco bellies up to 46 inches.

Find it: Amazon

4. TACOS: RECIPES AND PROVOCATIONS; $21

This book, written by New York City chef Alex Stupack, is filled with essays, gorgeous photographs, and, of course, recipes. Learn how to make tortillas from scratch, whip up delicious salsas, and top it all off with fillings that are anything but basic. The book promises to “change the way you make—and think about—tacos forever.”

Find it: Amazon

5. TACO HAT; $20

A hat that looks like a taco.
Amazon

Perfect for Taco Tuesday or Halloween (or both!), this hat measures 8 inches by 18 inches.

Find it: Amazon

6. TACOS VINTAGE TEE; $20

This retro shirt comes in men’s and women’s cuts and five different colors.

Find it: Amazon

7. TACO CAT BED; $48

A cat in a bed that looks like a taco.
Amazon

This adorable, cozy taco bed is perfect for your feline friend. Made of padded fleece and microfiber yarn, it has wire in the trim to help it hold its shape and comes with catnip-stuffed pepper toys.

Find it: Amazon

8. TACO DOG COLLAR; $20

A dog collar with tacos on it.
Amazon

This dog collar is both durable and stylish: Made of polyester with a plastic buckle, it’s adorned with a mustachioed taco.

Find it: Amazon

9. KIDROBOT TACO PILLOW; $30

A cute taco pillow with a happy face on it.
Amazon

This friendly-faced pillow will look great on your bed or couch. If photorealism is what you’re looking for in your taco, consider this one.

Find it: Amazon

10. TACO SOCKS; $12

These crew length cotton socks are adorned with avocados, peppers, limes, hot sauce, and tacos. On the bottom, they say “If you can read this” and “bring me some tacos.”

Find it: Amazon

11. TACO POOL FLOAT; $11

A pool float shaped like a taco with a face on it.
Amazon

At 5 feet long, this vinyl taco float is made for lounging in the pool. It comes with a patch kit for easy repairs.

Find it: Amazon

12. TACO KITCHEN TOWEL; $15

Made of microfiber fabric, this tea towel—which measures 16 by 24 inches—is both cute and functional: Made of microfiber terrycloth, it’s ultra absorbent, and the dyes won’t fade.

Find it: Amazon

16 Magical New Harry Potter Products

Business Wire
Business Wire

Another September has arrived, and with it, the realization that—once again—you won’t be going to Hogwarts. But don’t cry into your butterbeer: These Potter products from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Target will help you forget that you’re a mere Muggle.

1. HOGWARTS CANDLE LANTERN; $99

Pair this turret-like lantern—which is made of aluminum and glass and features an antique bronze finish—with a pumpkin juice candle from Wick and Fable to get that Hogwarts at Halloween vibe.

Find it: Pottery Barn

2. HOGWARTS COMFY THROW; $13

Don this fleece throw—which looks exactly like a Hogwarts student robe—for studying in your house “Common Room” (a.k.a. your living room) or before mealtime in the “Great Hall” (a.k.a. your kitchen). Get some treacle tart on your robe? Don’t worry—it’s machine-washable.

Find it: Target

3. GRYFFINDOR APRON; $40

As all wizards know, food is the first of the Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration: Tasty treats don’t just appear out of nowhere—someone has to make them. Now you can display your house pride in the kitchen with this cotton twill robe. The neckband is equipped with a d-ring to make adjustments a snap.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

4. HOUSE BACKPACK; $63

These adorable canvas backpacks (available for all houses) feature interior and exterior pockets, a padded laptop pocket, and a roomy interior. See if you can make it even roomier with an Undetectable Extension Charm!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

5. VELVET TRAIN CASE; $59

Arrive at Platform 9¾ in style with one of these chic velvet toiletry cases.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

6. TRIWIZARD CUP LAMP; $18

Great for your bedside table or your Halloween costume, this cordless, battery-powered acrylic lamp will make you look like a Triwizard champ.

Find it: Target

7. MIRROR OF ERISED JEWELRY CABINET; $399

If you don’t have room for the full-length mirror, this jewelry cabinet is the next best thing: It opens to reveal hooks, shelves, and pegs for all of your baubles.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

8. WALL DECALS; $16

What better way to show of your hoggy hoggy Hogwarts pride than with these house crest vinyl wall decals? Each set comes with five decals, which reviewers give high marks.

Find it: Target

9. HOUSE CREST COOKIE CUTTERS; $17

These detailed cookie cutters are fun for witches and wizards of all ages. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

10. HOGWARTS MAP; $129

This vintage-looking aerial map of Hogwarts is a true work of art. It’s printed on canvas and has grommets for easy hanging. And it won’t talk back like the Fat Lady!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

11. WIZARD CHESS; $40

It’s not life-sized, but this set is a detailed replica of the smaller board Harry and Ron play with in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Find it: Target

12. FAUX BOOK LOCKBOX; $139

Whether you’re hiding a Hallows or a Horcrux, this 20-inch-long facade—which looks like a shelf straight from the Hogwarts library—will keep all of your most precious things safe.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

13. GOLDEN SNITCH SNACK BOWL; $40

Made of gold-plated aluminum, this adorable bowl is perfect for serving up all kinds of snacks, from jelly slugs to Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. (Just watch out for the earwax flavor!)

Find it: Pottery Barn

14. QUIDDITCH PILLOW; $50

This Quidditch pillow—which is made of cotton velvet—has a delightfully retro vibe. There’s also a Snitch pillow, a Hogwarts letter sham, and this throw pillow featuring one of Harry’s signature spells.

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

15. DEATHLY HALLOWS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $79

This gold-gilded Bluetooth speaker is compatible with all smartphones. It’s also cordless, which means you can take it with you—and listen to the Weird Sisters—wherever you go.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

16. ETCHED SCENE SHEET SET, $79 - $149

These cotton percale sheets come in every size from Twin to King and are adorned with scenes from the Hogwarts grounds and the Forbidden Forest.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

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