I have a $16 credit at Williams Sonoma so I decided to wander over to Keystone today for a little culinary inspiration. There was an engaged couple completing their registry and I could not help but overhaul their list. As much as I love the Williams Sonoma salespeople, they will not discourage you from the more frivolous purchases. There is a reason they have a job and it’s called being able to sell the $200 pepper shaker that is as tall as a fourth grader. It also kills me what couples think they must have in their kitchen. I hope this list helps create a foundation of items you’ll find yourself using everyday. While I rolled my eyes at some of the items I have seen on registries (I am not naming names!), I do have some nice stuff, but within reason. Le Creuset is a hot ticket item (fancy French cookware that can range from $300-500 for a dutch oven) and while I always wonder if people actually get an entire set, I do own some myself. If you watch sales, you can get it heavily discounted. Sur la Table has great coupons if you sign up for their emails, Wayfair sells it discounted, and I have even found it at TJ Maxx! I used to have a Le Creuset teapot that was missing the top piece and I negotiated with the TJ Maxx people to sell it for $20. I super glued a new knob on the top and it was a Libby original.
The $200 pepper grinder – it’s on sale.
I am a big believer in treating yourself to that one outrageous item that you will cherish and use daily. For me, it’s the KitchenAid mixer. For others it might be the fancy espresso maker. The Vitamix is another. The only reason I have a Vitamix is because my mother can be convinced that she needs the latest and greatest and I stole hers for ‘awhile.’ Awhile turned into weeks and then months and well, she purchased a new one for herself. I use the Vitamix everyday for a smoothie in the morning and the occasional soup, dip, even fresh peanut butter. Also, I am all about contributing a small portion to the big items since it is probably on their registry because they would never buy it for themselves.
While I may not be getting married anytime soon, my friends immediately said they would use this list as their gift guide or inspiration to make that big item purchase for the kitchen.
*Note: I originally laughed at the idea of a salad spinner being useful, but after many comments from friends, I will be giving it another chance. Stay tuned for a salad spinning blog post.
MUST HAVE GADGETS
- KITCHENAID MIXER: Does it get any better? The answer is no, no it does not. I received mine as my college graduation gift and once my dad found out how much my mom paid, he about lost it. Then he remembered that he enjoys all of my baked goods and quickly got over it. I have the professional grade series, but the regular one works just as well. They are supposedly guaranteed for life and my mom is convinced that QVC is the best place to buy it. I also prefer the stainless steel bowl to the glass bowl, but go with whatever tickles your fancy. My mom has the 5 quart in red for $324.98 and mine is the stainless 7 quart for $549. If someone buys you this for your wedding, they really really like you. The thank you note needs to be amazing.
- CUISINART HAND MIXER: If you are not ready to fork over $300-600 for the standing mixer, this is a great option. I use it for frosting, muffins, and anything that doesn’t require a lot of mixing. Williams Sonoma – $60
- RABBIT WINE OPENER – I am honestly not sure if I could open wine without it. I lost my first one when I moved back to Indiana, so this is my second. Amazon – $23
- MASON JARS: Not really a gadget, but I use them for everything: flowers, oatmeal, storing soups, olives, and other leftovers. I also drink out of them and pretend I am Southern. The large ones are my favorite, but I have them in all sizes. Find them at your grocery or hardware store. Amazon – twelve for $18
- CAST IRON SKILLET: This took my brussel sprouts to a whole new level. I love them a little burnt and this was the answer. You can also make upside down cakes in this or s’mores! Amazon – $32
- COOKIE SHEETS: I use mine until they are beat up and unrecognizable – every bride needs a few. Amazon – three for $10
- PASTA POT WITH BUILT IN COLANDER: This was surprisingly a great purchase. I use it to make my weekly steel cut oats to put in mason jars. I use it to steam asparagus, veggies, and of course to cook pasta. The colander is really handy and sometimes I just use that when I need to strain things. Crate and Barrel – $40
- EVERYDAY DISHES: This is an obvious choice – everyone needs dishes, but I decided to include it. I have a weakness for quirky little dessert and appetizer plates, but I am so glad I went with the basic, white china that Crate and Barrel will make from now until eternity. I remember having a dinner party in St. Louis and picking up three more plates on my way home from work when I found out we had more people coming. They are inexpensive, but high quality and they match everything. You can add some fun by changing out your placemats and linens. I have the bowls in all sizes, a dozen dinner plates and enough stemless wine glasses to have the whole neighborhood over for dinner. Crate and Barrel – eight dinner plates for $30
- ICE CREAM SCOOPS IN ALL SIZES: While ice cream is important, that is not why I have included it. COOKIES! It will make your cookies consistent in size every time! Amazon – $8
- FANCY CAN OPENER: This may sound silly, but this can opener has made me a bit of a can opener snob. It is easy to use and it cuts the top of the can so that it seals it and leaves a clean edge. No more worries about slicing your hand! Amazon – $13
- MICROPLANE: This is my go-to wedding gift and I use mine almost every day. If I have been to your wedding, you probably have a microplane. It is $14-20, so I usually add a Silpat or other small kitchen item. I use it for lemon, lime, and orange zest. For parmesan cheese, nutmeg and anything else that needs grating! Williams Sonoma – $15
- SILPAT: This will make your cookies perfect every time, unless of course you forget your cookies are in the oven and then I can’t help you. That said, baking AFTER happy hour is not recommended. Williams Sonoma – $21
- SILICONE BRUSH: How the heck do you do an egg wash without it? Also great for BBQ sauce. Sur la Table – $11
- RED OVEN MITT: I call this the lobster. I pined after this forever. Seriously could not pull the trigger and fork over $20 for this oven mitt at Williams Sonoma, but after I burnt myself one too many times, I finally bought it. Best oven mitt I have ever had. Winston now has my $2 mitts as toys.
- VITAMIX: So many uses and it is pretty much the most powerful blender you can buy. Amazon – $489
- CROCKPOT: Turn it on and let it go. It’s that easy. Chili, pot roast, and mac and cheese. It is the perfect kitchen gadget when the weather gets cold. Amazon – $30
MY FAVORITE WEDDING GIFTS TO GIVE
- MOSCOW MULES: This set of four is the set I bought and most places sell one mug for $24. You want the unlined 100% copper ones. I read all the reviews so that you don’t have to. – Amazon, Set of four for $29
- HONEY BEE JAR: I use this every morning for honey to add to my plain greek yogurt and for smoothies. – Silver in the City $12.75
- EMILIE HENRY BAKING STONE: I use this for pizza and just leave it in my oven. It is life changing and you clean it just as you would a cast iron skillet. It’s the same price at Williams Sonoma as Amazon. – $52
- FUN WHISK: I love my giraffe whisk and do not know anyone that would not smile when they use it – even when whisking lemon curd for twenty minutes nonstop. Wayfair – $12
- STATE CUTTING BOARD: I received this from two of my friends and I love it! I don’t actually cut on it, instead I use it as a cheese plate when I have dinner parties. Bed, Bath and Beyond – $15-20
- PAINTED FRUIT BOWL: I got this at the Broadripple Arts Fair years ago. It was hand painted by a woman from STL and I treasure it because I ended up living there. Get on Etsy and start searching for something that will become meaningful to the newlyweds. Most artists will even personalize them.
- COOKIE CUTTERS: I have given states, dogs, horses, and anything else that reminds me of certain people. I also collect vintage cookie cutters after receiving a few from my friends in Cleveland. Williams Sonoma – $5