What not to buy cooks

Written by Brandon Baltzley on

spatulasThis time of year, piles of holiday catalogues from the likes of Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table invade the mailbox, even if you didn't think you were on their mailing lists. I beg you to squelch the urge, tempting as it may be, to purchase any of the following items as gifts for your friends in the food industry:

Any holiday themed spatulas or dish towels.
Trust me, no cook works better with a spatula shaped like a Frosty the Snowman.

A gift set composed of narrowly themed cookbooks ("365 Cake Pop Recipes to Get You through the Year") in a basket with brightly colored molds and premixed ingredients.
What I'd get from this: You think I can't pull it together to create my own damn cake pop mixture. What's the deal with cake pops anyway, and why do I need to have one for every day of the year?

A neon green "chef's knife."
If it comes already packaged in a plastic pouch, I guarantee the thing would be too dull and too low-quality to even cut its way out of the package it came in.

A piece of kitchen equipment so specialized that I'll spend the entirety of the one day a week I have off to cook at home reading the pamphlet that documents all its esoteric functions.
Yes, I love to cook, that's why I chose to make it my career. A lawyer presumably likes his job, too, but I don't see the latest textbook on bankruptcy law under every lawyer's Christmas tree.

Instead of turning to career appropriate gifts for the cook in your life, consider who we are outside the kitchen when choosing a gift.  

And if all else fails, you can never go wrong with a bottle of Beam and a new pair of socks.

Brandon Baltzley is a chef behind Crux, a mobile collaborative currently based in Pittsburgh. His book "Nine Lives: A Chef's Journey from Chaos to Control" will be released in May 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @brandonbaltzley.

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