11 Gifts for the Home Chef in Your Life

Amazon
Amazon

Everyone knows someone who just loves to cook, but they can't show off their skills if they don't have the proper kitchenware. So if there's someone in your life that's always ready to offer you a homemade meal that tops any restaurant, the holidays are the perfect time to show your gratitude. This year, get them a gift that will make their time in the kitchen even more enjoyable.

1. Instant Pot Duo Mini; $60

Instant Pot.
Instant Pot/Amazon

Home chefs don’t need a lot of mouths to feed or counter space to justify owning an Instant Pot. This version of the electric pressure cooker has all the capabilities of the original—including quick settings for rice, soups, yogurts, and stew—with a smaller, apartment-friendly footprint. With the colder weather approaching, an Instant Pot should be a staple in any kitchen.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Le Creuset Heart-Shaped Casserole Dish; $199

Heart-shaped casserole dish.
LE Creust/Amazon

Le Creuset is known for making enameled cast-iron cookware that’s durable and functional. It’s also really nice to look at, and this heart-shaped casserole dish is no exception. Even if the home chef in your life already has a collection of cookware, this two-quart dish makes a great item to have for special occasions.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Veggie Spices; $30

Veggie spice packets.
Uncommon Goods

When it comes to special seasoning blends, meat usually gets all the love, but veggies can also benefit from the right mixture of herbs and spices. This veggie lover’s cooking kit can help anyone looking to upgrade their produce from simple side dish to memorable main course. The kit comes with six flavor packets, such as coconut curry, maple brown sugar, and Mexican street corn. And for even more culinary inspiration, a booklet of plant-based recipes is included.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

4. Cast-Iron Garlic Roaster; $25

Best Kitchen Gadgets to Buy
Charcoal Companion/Amazon

Roasted garlic is great mixed into condiments, mashed into potatoes, or simply smeared onto a slice of bread. The only drawback is that transforming a raw garlic clove into a soft, caramelized flavor bomb requires some time and patience. With this cast-iron garlic roaster from Amazon, the process becomes as simple as possible. Ventilation holes allow the aroma of garlic to fill your home as it cooks, and a silicone accessory lets you squeeze the garlic from its husk when it’s fresh out of the oven, without burning your fingers.

Buy It: Amazon

5. Thai Chef Knives; $70-$80

Thai chef's knives.
Uncommon Goods

A good chef’s knife is one of the most important tools a home cook should have in their kitchen. This gift includes two: an all-purpose cleaver and a sleek, lighter-weight blade for more precise cuts. Both knives are forged from stainless steel and hand crafted by artisans in Thailand.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

6. JAWZ Blender; $299

JAWZ blender.
Jawz/Amazon

Whether the foodie in your life prefers to make smoothies or cocktails at home, they’ll benefit from having a high-powered blender in the kitchen. The JAWZ blender boasts 10 speed settings, making it perfect for pulverizing everything from berries and leafy greens to ice cubes and nuts.

Buy It: Amazon

7. Star Wars Death Star Cutting Board; $13

Star Wars Death Star cutting board.
Underground Toys/Amazon

Add some geeky charm to anyone's kitchen with this cutting board shaped like the Death Star from the original Star Wars. With a strong, heat resistant glass surface, this cutting board is a great way to indulge anyone who splits their passions equally between cooking and menacing Imperial super weapons.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Altifarm; $359

Vertical indoor garden.
Altifarm/Amazon

Anyone who loves to cook at home knows the importance of using fresh herbs and produce in their food, and it’s hard to get any fresher than the bounty offered by Altifarm. The system's built-in LED lights promote plant growth without the need for direct sunlight, and its modular design makes it easy to place your garden just steps away from the stovetop. It works with a variety of plant seeds, including basil, tomatoes, and microgreens. Plus, it’s self-watering, so you only have to fill it once a week and let the garden do the rest. There's no green thumb necessary to reap these rewards.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Spoon rest; $7

Spoon rest.
Kamenstein/Amazon

Creating a little bit of a mess while cooking is unavoidable, but there are small things cooks can do to keep that mess under control. One of them is to use a spoon rest: Instead of resting a dirty spoon on a clean countertop, or leaning it precariously against a pot, cooks can set it aside in its designated spot. Kitchen surfaces stay clean, and when it comes time to stir or taste something, the tool is within arm's reach. This Acacia wood rest from Kamenstein isn’t just useful—it also looks nice next to the stove.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Air Fryer; $57

Air fryer.
Amazon

Deep-fried food is messy and high in fat. Unfortunately for anyone concerned about those two points, it also tastes really good. With an air fryer, you can achieve the delectable texture of frying without the downsides. This model from Dash uses air instead of oil to get food hot and crisp. Plus, it’s compact, making it the perfect addition to a kitchen of any size.

Buy It: Amazon

11. Cooking Temperature Magnet; $7

Temperature chart fridge magnet.
RSVP International/Amazon

When handling raw meat, looking up the correct cooking temperature for a specific product is best done hands-free. A magnetic temperature chart keeps this information in one convenient spot. It sticks to the fridge, so whether a home cook wants to know the best internal temperature for lamb chops or a whole chicken, all they have to do is glance at it.

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Rosetta Stone Is Offering Up to Half Off Language-Learning Software for Black Friday

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone

It’s no secret that learning another language has numerous benefits. But if going back to school and memorizing lists of vocabulary isn't an option—or something you particularly want to do—you can turn to Rosetta Stone, which now offers subscriptions to their language-learning software. And through November 27, language enthusiasts can take advantage of the company's Black Friday deals and receive up to half off Rosetta's regular prices by heading here.

These deals include a three-month subscription for $39.50, a one-year subscription for $89.50, a two-year subscription for $124.50, and a lifetime membership for $199. Over 30 languages are offered on Rosetta Stone, such as Spanish, Japanese, and French, and your online subscription to the language courses comes with numerous other perks, including:

  • Phrasebooks: These teach you quick expressions and greetings that are perfect for traveling
  • Mobile app: Get access to Rosetta Stone's iOS app, where you'll find conversation practice and short 10-minute lessons that fit your schedule.
  • An audio companion: Download and listen to lessons even while offline.
  • Stories: Written and narrated in the language you're studying, these stories include poems, tours, and narratives that expose you to new words and help you understand the culture better.
  • Games: Practice your language skills by yourself or with other users (available on all devices but mobile).

For an additional fee, you can also get live sessions. The sessions are 25 minutes long and are taught by a tutor who is a native speaker of the language you’re learning.

Rosetta Stone language program on mobile
Rosetta Stone

Mastering new languages can open up new ways to communicate with others you may have not been able to before, and over the past few years, studies have shown that being multilingual can help slow cognitive decline and strengthen neural pathways as you age.

Alongside using a program like Rosetta Stone to learn a language, it can help to have periodic conversations in the dialect you’re studying—even if they are with yourself. Check out our other tips for mastering another language.

Sign up now for the three-month ($39.50), one-year ($89.50), two-year ($124.50), or lifetime ($199) subscription.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

10 Thoughtful Gifts for DIY Enthusiasts

Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

It can be tough to find the perfect gift for the people who make everything themselves. Why not give them the tools and supplies they need to create works of art with their own personal touch? Check out these gift ideas for every DIY enthusiast on your list.

1. Prismacolor Premier Hand Lettering Advanced Set; $15

DIY Prismacolor Hand Lettering Set on Amazon
Amazon

With this set of high-quality pens and pencils, your artistically minded giftees will have the tools to add a personal flourish to letters, signs, greeting cards, and more. The kit includes two graphite pencils, seven illustration markers, two dual-ended art markers for bold lettering, an instruction guide, and—perhaps most importantly—an eraser.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Beanie knitting kit; $55

A knitting kit
We are the Knitters

Have a friend who loves knitting, but hates buying supplies? Surprise them with this knitting kit that comes complete with knitting needles, a unique pattern, and your choice of yarn. You can purchase beginner, easy, intermediate, or advanced knitting kits to create everything from hats and sweaters to blankets and wall art.

Buy It: We Are Knitters

3. Olfa Rotary Essentials Kit; $40

Olfa Rotary Essentials Kit on Amazon
Amazon

Perfect for paper crafters and scrapbookers, this kit includes two rotary cutters (in 45-millimeter and 18-millimeter sizes) and a self-healing mat. These tough tools will cut paper as well as leather, cloth, vinyl, film, photos, wallpaper, and more.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Miniature library; $20

Mini books
Uncommon Goods

Recreate your bookshelf in miniature form with this adorable kit from Uncommon Goods. The set comes with 20 illustrated miniature books that you can actually read (the selection includes titles like Thumbelina and The Snow Queen), plus 10 blank books you can write and illustrate yourself. Best yet, the set comes with a miniature bookcase, so you don’t have to worry about where to store your tiny library.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

5. Impressart Metal Stamping Kit; $113

ImpressArt Metal Stamping Kit on Amazon
Amazon

This slightly intimidating kit contains everything a crafter needs to stamp impressions into metal jewelry or objects. Along with the 1-pound hammer and small steel anvil, the Stamp Straight Tape helps you make impressions in a straight line and keep letters evenly spaced. The stamps themselves feature the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case kits are available) and special characters.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit; $35

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Your bestie will be weaned off Sriracha when he concocts his own sauce with dried guajillo, chipotle, and arbol peppers. The kit contains the essentials (like gloves and bottling materials), plus all the ingredients needed for six custom-made bottles of the hot stuff.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Solar Photography Kit; $15

Solar Photography Kit and photo examples from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Popularized in the 1840s by Anna Atkins, the first female photographer, solar photographs (also known as cyanotypes thanks to their blue color) use sunlight to develop images on chemically treated paper. Just lay a photo negative or object on the paper, place it in the sun for a while, and voilà. This kit includes six sheets of photosensitive paper, a light-proof storage envelope, and instructions. Fabric kits are also available.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

8. Southern Bourbon Stout Beer Brewing Kit; $20-$45

Southern Bourbon Stout beer brewing kit from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Why fight the drunken hordes at your local craft brewery when you, or your gift recipient, can brew your beer in the comfort of your home? This artisanal kit includes the hardware—a fermentor jug, racking cane, funnel, and more—and malt extract, specialty grains, fresh hops, and yeast to make one gallon of homemade brew. This particular formula relies on oak chips soaked in bourbon (booze not included) to add woodsy vanilla notes to your beer.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

9. Cavallini Flora and Fauna Rubber Stamp Set; $25

Cavallini flora and fauna rubber stamp set from Amazon
Amazon

Create woodland scenes on mail art, gift cards, holiday decor, and more with these rubber stamps on wood blocks. Vintage designs include an owl, songbird, deer, dogwood flower, and other forest friends. The stamps come in an attractive tin with a high-quality black ink pad.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Molecular Gastronomy Kit; $50-$65

Gastronomy kit for kitchen
Uncommon Goods

This kit encourages people to play with their food. Get this for the friend who loves to experiment in the kitchen and wouldn’t mind turning honey into jelly-like cubes or strawberries into delicate foam. The set comes with four different food additives (20 sachets), three pipettes, and a variety of other kitchen ingredients. For $16 more, you can purchase a molecular gastronomy book that can help guide you through recipes.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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