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

10 Lotions and Balms Perfect for Your Chapped Hands

These lotions and balms can help revitalize your dry, cracked hands.
These lotions and balms can help revitalize your dry, cracked hands.
Duke Cannon/Dr. PawPaw/Bliss/Amazon

Chapped, cracked hands are one of those little annoyances that can turn into a big headache after dealing with them for a few days, but after a long winter, and with all the hand-washing everyone is doing due to coronavirus concerns, it’s nearly unavoidable. To give your skin a sigh of relief, we’ve rounded up our favorite lotions, creams, and balms that will heal your raw palms and have your knuckles feeling soft and smooth in no time. Check them out below.

1. WOW ALOE VERA MOISTURIZING BODY LOTION; $12


BUYWOW/Amazon

With all-natural ingredients that work for every skin type, this aloe vera body lotion is particularly useful for putting some life back into your hands. This lotion is fast-absorbing, quickly creating a barrier between your skin and the outside elements. And since it's not greasy, you won’t have to wait for your hands to dry (or wash them all over again) before you can get your day started.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dr. PAWPAW MULTIPURPOSE BALM; $8-$20 (Sizes vary)

Dr. PawPaw hand cream.
Dr. PawPaw/Amazon

Your hands will feel like they’ve entered a tropical oasis after applying this soothing balm. Made from papaya (or pawpaw), a fruit that’s known for its natural healing properties, this balm also contains aloe vera and olive oil to give dry skin a natural glow. And it’s not just for helping your palms and knuckles—this balm can also be used on your lips, nails, and cuticles, and as a tool to tame flyaways or stray brows. It’s the multipurpose secret weapon that’s a must-have for any bathroom cabinet.

Buy it: Ulta, Amazon

3. DUKE CANNON BLOODY KNUCKLES HAND REPAIR BALM; $31 (Pack of 2)

Duke Cannon Bloody Knuckles balm.
Duke Cannon/Amazon

Even if you’re not throwing punches in the ring, you might feel like you’re in a boxing match with your raw and red hands. But Duke Cannon’s repair balm will reverse your skin damage and have you feeling like a champion once again. Best used for extensive chapping, this balm is unscented and completely free of fragrances, dyes, and other artificial ingredients.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 2-IN-1 BODY LOTION CANDLE; $29.00

Candle and skin lotion from UncommonGoods.
UncommonGoods

Not all lotions come in a tube. Try this amazing body lotion candle, which melts at a comfortable temperature so you can safely use the “wax” as a warm lotion on your skin. These 10-ounce candles are packed with coconut oil, botanical oils, and vitamins A, K, and E to instantly moisturize your hands. Scented with fresh figs, amber, and floral notes, this unique candle makes skincare feel like a spa experience.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

5. L’OCCITANE SHEA BUTTER HAND CREAM; $29

L’occitane hand cream.
L’occitane/Amazon

Applying this hand cream is like easing yourself into soft, cozy slippers after a long day. Made with 20-percent shea butter, honey, almond extracts, and coconut oil, it has a creamy feel that instantly protects and nourishes your skin as it repairs. It’s also rich in fatty acids, doing double duty to prevent wrinkles along with any cracking.

Buy it: Amazon

6. O’KEEFE’S WORKING HANDS; $8

O’Keefe's Working Hands on Amazon.
O’Keefe's/Amazon

With nearly 18,000 4.5-star reviews on Amazon, this concentrated hand cream is a true miracle that instantly repairs any cracks or dryness on your skin. And it also works to prevent future damage, creating a barrier that locks moisture in and keeps dryness out. Even if the most you’re doing with your hands involves a keyboard, O’Keefe’s will still work around the clock to keep them looking—and feeling—their best.

Buy it: Amazon

7. PALMER’S COCONUT OIL HAND CREAM; $3

Palmer's Cocoa Oil on Amazon.
Palmer's/Amazon

This affordable hand cream works for 24 hours, so it can go for as long as you do. Made from shea and cocoa butter, with a boost of hydrating vitamin E, Palmer’s uses natural, raw ingredients to create “glove-like” protection to keep your skin feeling soft all day long. And its coconut oil is fair-trade certified, so you can feel even better every time you use it.

Buy it: Amazon

8. J.R. WATKINS ALOE & GREEN TEA HAND CREAM; $8

J.R. Watkins hand lotion on Amazon.
J.R. Watkins/Amazon

Aloe isn’t just for sunburns; it’s great for use on cracked hands, too. That’s why this hand cream from J.R. Watkins, enhanced with the healing power of aloe and green tea, is your best friend when it comes to dry skin. J.R. Watkins uses plant-based ingredients from ethical sources, making it a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin. And its products are recyclable, allowing you to go green while restoring your skin at the same time.

Buy it: Amazon

9. BLISS LEMON & SAGE BODY BUTTER; $10

Bliss hand lotion on Amazon.
Bliss/Amazon

PETA-certified and free of harsh chemicals, Bliss uses a special combination of natural plant-based emollients, humectants, and extracts for hydration that lasts all day. And its bright lemon and sage scent will make you feel more energized and refreshed—the perfect stand-in for a dehydrating cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

10. AQUAPHOR HEALING OINTMENT; $9

Aquaphor hand ointment.
Aquaphor/Amazon

Aquaphor is an oldie but a goodie. A drug store favorite, this multipurpose ointment works to shield skin from the elements to restore it to its natural condition, and it can be used on everything from your hands to your lips to your feet. It can even help heal burns. Preservative- and fragrance-free, it’s the powerful little tube that will never let you down.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

These Scented Prank Candles Turn From Sweet Fruits to Sour Farts

The blissful peace of someone who has not yet sniffed a Prank Candles product.
The blissful peace of someone who has not yet sniffed a Prank Candles product.
RL Productions/iStock via Getty Images

When someone lights a scented candle—maybe before meditating, taking a bath, or enjoying a romantic dinner—the last thing they expect to smell is a fart. That's what makes this product from Prank Candles so brilliant. As the wax melts, the aroma transitions from sweet apple pie to noxious flatulence, fouling the smeller's mood and home air quality.

In terms of appearance, the gag gift resembles a normal candle in every way. The label calls to mind the warm scents of apple pie in autumn, and when the jar is first opened, it has the smell to match. But after about an hour or so—just as the victim has gotten used to the pleasant fragrance—it changes.

Apple pie fart-scented prank candle.
Turns out receiving this scented gift isn't so sweet.
Prank Candles

Prank Candles writes in the product description, "Often—our customers will report that their victims will initially thank them because it's 'the best candle they've ever burned.' Because of this, they're even less likely to blame the candle when they think, 'WTF is that smell?'"

In addition to the apple pie scent, the company sells nasty candles disguised as fresh roses, balsam and cedar, and vanilla. The apple pie and vanilla varieties are currently back-ordered, with shipping estimated for April 15. Whether you're already planning for April Fools' Day 2021 or the birthday of a frenemy, you can order yours today for $23.

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