EVANSVILLE, Ind — ‘Tis the season, or getting close, anyway. Time to start thinking about gifts for your friends who love to cook and eat. We stopped in Thyme in the Kitchen, our local kitchen and cooking store on West Franklin Street, to see what owner Marcia Jochem recommends this year. These items are either brand new, top sellers, or employee favorites. We listed them in order of price from low to high.
1. Butter Hugger by Food Huggers: $4.50
This little fella is small but mighty. It’s a square silicone cap that fits right over the end of a stick of butter to keep it fresh in the fridge.
“I use mine every day,” Jochem said. “I think this is the best invention, and I wish I would have thought of it myself.”
2. Orlid Lite by Dreamfarm: $7.99
This is a small jar for holding spices or seasoning blends. It has an easy-open flip lid and a top with small, medium and large holes so it works great for shaking anything from seasoned salt to a coarser mixture with herb leaves and cracked peppercorns. You may also flip up the entire lid to use a measuring spoon.
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3. Becky Sue’s Rub by Jim and Becky Johnson: $10
This all-purpose seasoning mixture is a local product by barbecue expert Jim Johnson.
“This goes on everything from eggs to macaroni and cheese, chicken or pork or popcorn,” Jochem said. “You don’t have to have six different seasonings in your pantry. We sell a lot of it for people to shake on cheddar cheese on the charcuterie board.”
4. Cherry Tomato Slicer by Progressive: $10.80
This new gadget makes short work of cherry tomatoes and grapes. Pop in a handful, slide the super-sharp blade along the groove, and tip out your neatly-sliced produce, all ready for fruit salad or mixed salad.
5. Citrus Catcher by Joseph Joseph: $11
Squeeze your lemon and catch the seeds at the same time. A guard below this lemon reamer is positioned to catch seeds while letting the juice drip right through, so you don’t have to sit a strainer over your bowl, then toss it right in the dishwasher.
6. Avocado Tool by Microplane: $13.96
Do a google search for “Avocado Hand.” You can avoid this modern malady with this special tool.
“You can safely cut the avocado in half with the sharp edge,” said Jochem. “There’s a rounded end to scoop it out with. The bottom has a safe blade you can stab into the seed and pull it straight out. I’m afraid I’m going to get cut if I use a knife to do that.”
7. Guacamole Keeper by Progressive: $14.95
After you cut your avocado and make guacamole, serve it in this pretty clear bowl. If there are leftovers, pop on the lid and press it down until the clear surface is touching your guacamole. It keeps oxygen away and the guac stays green for days.
8. Puppy Love Treat Pan by Nordic Ware: $18 without mix, $27 with mix
Perfect for pet owners. This baking pan with doggie-bone shapes is nonstick and comes with or without bags of dog treat mix.
“The pan itself or the treats are good for gifts,” Jochem said. “My grand-dogs love them. It’s nice to make things for your pets because you know what’s in it. There are a lot of things out there I don’t want to feed my dog.”
9. Mini Cocotte by Le Creuset: $20
“In the year 2020, we’re cooking a lot of individual things so there’s not all that sharing going on,” Jochem said. “These little pots work for bread pudding, cream brulee, chicken pot pie, cornbread, anything you can make individual portions. And the lid keeps it hot at the table.”
10. Microwave Rice Cooker by Joseph Joseph: $22
Just like an electric rice cooker, but faster. It comes with a measuring spoon, a paddle (which also serves as a handle) and a strainer. You can even serve right out of it, and it’s dishwasher safe.
11. Cutting Board with buttons by Epicurean: $25
Epicurian’s cutting boards are made with nonporous wood fibers. They are easy on your knives, bacteria resistant, heat resistant and have a lifetime warranty. These small boards come with silicon tabs on both sides to keep it from sliding around on your counter.
12. Pump and Grind salt and pepper grinders by Fletcher Mill: $25.95
These thumb-activated little stainless steel grinders are great to use while cooking if you have one clean hand and one with food on it. They’re also great for people who can’t make twisting motions with their wrists.
13. Bar Knife by Hammer Stahl: $29.95
“These are beautiful knives,” Jochem said. “They’re made in Clarksville, Tennessee. I think it’s important to have a good bar knife to slice lemons and limes, and it’s got the two little points on the end for picking up the slices without using your hands. It holds the edge and comes in a nice gift box.”
14. Professional chopper by Progressive: $55
This was one of Thyme in the Kitchen’s biggest sellers this year. Use it to dice onions, carrots, potatoes or what have you in record time by closing the “lid” and pushing the food through the blade of your choice.