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Cathy Erway


Top Ten Gifts Not to Give the Cook On Your List

Posted: 12/08/11 12:00 PM ET

Somebody's got to be a Scrooge. It's only been a few short weeks after giving thanks, but I've already made a list of holiday gifts I'd have to say, "No, thanks" to, and imagine that many other moderate to serious cooks would, too. We, the avid, maybe obsessive foodies who liken ourselves to chefs, appreciate that so many try to give us the perfect gift to further our hobbies. It's not about disrespect. But having been through many holiday seasons of this, I can offer some suggestions to avoid the awkwardness of a tool never used.

Bear in mind however that no cook is cookie-cutter, so to speak, and we all have our own tendencies. So my general tips here are pretty much null as long as you know the kind of home cook you're dealing with. And I can't say I haven't been inspired to cook with something because it was given to me as a gift. But if I had to make a list, and check it twice, these are the top ten gifts I would NOT give. Got any no-no's of your own? Leave a note to Santa in the comments below.

Cute, Ruffly Apron
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With gingham or floral print, halter-top straps and tiers at the skirt -- we've all seen them and somebody gets me one of these about once a year. They are cute, yes, but personally, I'd rather be splattered with sauce than look like a doll or lace doily while I cook. Yes, dear, those biscuits are coming right out of the oven... No dear, those aren't yesterday's tulips in the vase...

What to get instead: Clean, white farmhouse-style dishtowels. You can always use more.

Cross-posted from Not Eating Out in New York


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