Gift Guide For the Mama Whose Happy Place Smells Like Fresh Herbs

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sweater | apron

My love of cooking has grown over the last 10 years, but it was a slow roll. I’m someone who wanted to be able to just know how to cook and not have to rely on a recipe, yet I went to art school and not culinary school. #minorsetback But the more I have come to appreciate good food and the knowledge and effort it takes to prepare it, the more I’m so into it.

My name is Laura and I’m a perfectionist and in the past I never wanted to do something unless knew I would succeed at it. Enter parenthood and yeah. You just can’t be that way. I think maybe learning to let go of my perfectionism in parenting has allowed me to become a better cook.

Don’t stress. Learn some techniques, follow a few recipes, experiment with seasonings…repeat daily. There is a grind that comes with having to feed the family every. single. day. But there’s also a joy when you get something tricky just right, when you finally find a signature dish or successfully tweak a recipe.  It’s kitchen gold and it’s love for your family right there in front of them as they gobble it up. That’s it. It’s love.

gift ideas for a cook


1. Kitchen Aid Metallic Series 5Qt. Stand Mixer – You had me at copper. This was one of the best Christmas gifts I ever got and I use it constantly to this day. I only wish they had the copper when I got mine!!

2. Wustof Knife Set – One of the best Christmas gifts we got early in our marriage was good knives. It’s life-changing and all you have to do is sharpen them regularly (super easy). It makes working in the kitchen a breeze and SO much more enjoyable (and less dangerous!)

3. Core Bamboo Honeycomb Jar – Who else hates the mess and frustration all the honey containers make? ME who once put her hand in the cabinet for the honey bear only to find it covered with ants. OMG. Nightmares. This container is what dreams are made of…and you can heat the glass container in warm water or the microwave if your honey crystallizes. I need this.

4. Old Dutch Copper Colander – I’m just a copper accessories addict and this is gorgeous enough to leave sitting out, on open shelving or hanging on the wall.

5. Over the Sink Board – Need a little more work space in your kitchen? This sits over the sink which would’ve been perfect when I had a smaller kitchen. Even now when there’s a lot going on around the holidays it would be lovely to have this for the sink. A great gift.

6. Click and Grow Herb Garden – Fresh herbs year round? Yes please. They are so pricey at the store and tend to go bad before I can use them all. This way you trim off what you need for the meal and you can customize what you grow. Great for apartment dwellers too who have no room to garden. LOVE the design.

7. Caron & Ducet Cast Iron Oil – You may or may not know cast iron is the way to go for delicious and healthy food (the iron is imparted into your food when you cook!) But getting the perfect season on a pan takes a little work. This oil will help get you there and keep the skillet seasoned.

8. Cast Iron Set – Speaking of cast iron, I love this set. It’s SUPER reasonable and includes 6″, 8″ and 10″ skillets for cooking everything from eggs to small pizzas. Cast iron has become my favorite for getting that perfect sear on any food. I just made a one-skillet frittata tonight in mine!

9. Williams-Sonoma 10 Piece Pro Copper Set (40% off for a limited time!) – I’m slowly switching all our nonstick cookware to stainless steel and THIS I WANT. It’s a gorgeous pro set with everything you need. I obviously love the copper (I’d like to hang our cookware on a pot rack) and I also love the clear lids so you can see what’s going on without lifting the lid and losing heat.

10. Herb Scissors – Makes chopping those lovely herbs easy peasy.

11. Weck Jars – The loveliest of canning jars and super high quality. No rusty lids like the traditional metal lidded jars either. Gorgeous for homemade food gifts.

12. Baking Steel – Baking steel is the new pizza stone (and my foodie friends all want one.) It’s made from ultra-conductive steel. It is a more conductive cooking material than stone and stores up to 18x more energy than a traditional pizza stone. Because of that conductivity, it cooks faster and more evenly at a lower temperature, resulting in beautiful, thin, crispy crust. YES.

13. Instant Pot – I can’t include a gift guide for cooks these days and not include this. We use it almost daily now and make our own yogurt (cheaper than buying organic yogurt), hard boil perfect eggs that are easy to peel, cook seriously perfect lentils and beans in like 30 minutes, and make whole meals in it using the saute functions and then the pressure cooking. Rice is a breeze and also perfectly cooked. I can go on and on. You’ll love it.

14. Chemex 6-Cup with Glass Handle – We take coffee seriously here and we typically French press everyday, but the pour-over coffees I’ve had are so amazing and this is next on my list. I’m learning the art and appreciation of enjoying high quality for a cup or two a day instead of guzzling it down. This gorgeous Chemex has a beautiful glass handle and holds up to 6 cups.

15. Smitten Kitchen Everyday – The cover says ‘unfussy’ and I love that. Smitten Kitchen has amazing recipes. Fabulous, revered cookbooks are a beautiful, useful gift.

Yes, the way to my heart is through my stomach. And the way to my heart is through the smiles on my family and friends’ faces when we enjoy a meal together. If you’re interested in this gift guide, you get it. And you probably love it as much as I do.

I hope you enjoy much love and many meals together this holiday season.



Be sure to follow me on Instagram @elletrain to see daily outfits, puppy pics, kitchen tips, and of course, Sienna’s dance moves. Gorgeous photo by Posy Quarterman. 


About Author

Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her haircut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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  1. Beautiful things! But tell me more about how sharpening your knives is easy? We have good wusthof knives too…I bought an electric knife sharpener after a while but didn’t find it that easy to use and didn’t work that well, so now I bring them to a pro knife sharpener guy who sets up at our local market when I remember (um, annually:(. If there is an easier way I need to know!

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