For a mom, cooking is a year-round project—one that can feel overwhelming on regular weekdays, but that gets especially fun during the holidays. This time of year is an opportunity to ask for the special ingredients, the cutting-edge gadgets, or, yes, the time off, that will make us excited to bake holiday cookies and roast holiday mains—and to keep cooking when we hit the inevitable January lull.
But what should a mom who loves to cook actually put on her wish list? We turned to the experts for inspiration, asking eight women who are both professional cooks and mothers to see what they’d love to receive as a gift at the holidays.
Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura, Butchers and Co-owners of J&E SmallGoods
Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura recently expanded their family; their daughter Nina was born last October. They also just started their own business, J&E SmallGoods, where they sell high quality sausages and deli meats. It’s no surprise that their holiday wish list reflects many of the things that busy moms need more of: caffeine, organization, convenience—and a little help with the housekeeping.
“Number one best present of life: Technovorm Moccamaster & matching grinder BECAUSE I’M TIRED and can’t make my usual syphon or pour over coffee. This makes bangarang coffee and looks sexy on the countertop,” says Guest.
Guest also needs an insulated carafe to keep that coffee warm because she often forgets about her cup and needs a warm-up. “The number of times I accidentally abandon coffee is staggering.”
She also wants “Amazing glass Tupperware and an organizer for said Tupperware. No, I am not a 50s housewife. Yes, I am sick of putting leftovers for Nina in weird mismatched yogurt jars that are impossible to stack in the fridge. I just want my fridge to look like a perfectly organized and labeled walk-in.”
The other gift she really wants? “A housekeeper.”
Sarah Stegner, Chef and Co-owner of Prairie Grass Cafe
Sarah Stegner, a two time James Beard Award-winner who runs the Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, Illinois is adding her name to the long list of Instant Pot enthusiasts: “I bought an [electric] pressure cooker, and I’d never really used one regularly before,” she says. She recommends it for the ease of cooking dried beans alone. “I soak them, rinse them, and put them in the pressure cooker. Push the button and 30 minutes later they are perfect. And I mean perfect.”
To go with her new pressure cooker, Stegner would be happy to receive a gift of especially flavorful, freshly grown and dried heirloom beans from companies like like Rancho Gordo, Sunridge Farms, and Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans.
$6.00, Rancho Gordo
Pati Jinich, Cookbook Author and Host of Pati’s Mexican Table
In Pati Jinich’s James Beard Award-winning and Emmy-nominated public television series Pati's Mexican Table, she teaches audiences how to make favorite dishes from her native Mexico. But this holiday season, she wants someone else to do the cooking. “My dream gift would be for my husband Daniel and our three boys to plan an outing somewhere I have not been and put together a picnic basket filled with all sorts of yummy things to be tucked into overloaded tortas—which is one of our favorite things to eat—and tons of sweets,” says Jinich. “I'd be so curious to see what they would make and put in a picnic basket without my having anything to do with it.”
Maria Lichty, Cookbook Author and Blogger, Two Peas & Their Pod
Countless moms have turned to Two Peas & Their Pod while trying to answer the question, what do I cook for dinner tonight? But the blog’s secret weapon might be its collection of cookie recipes; they are co-founder and mother of two Maria Lichty’s obsession. Anyone who makes cookies en masse, as many of us do at the holidays, knows that a stand mixer makes the process infinitely easier. But since stand mixers are heavy and unwieldy, they’re also the kind of appliance you’d rather you’d rather leave on your counter—which means looks matter. “I’ve been eyeing the Copper KitchenAid Mixer,” says Lichty. “It is so pretty and a classic color! I am a cookie monster and could whip up a lot of delicious cookies in this beautiful mixer!”
$750.00, Williams Sonoma
Lien Lin, Chef and Co-owner of Bricolage
Let’s face it, sometimes what moms would like above all is a break from cooking itself. For Lien Lin, who made her name at San Francisco’s Slanted Door before opening the much acclaimed Brooklyn Vietnamese gastropub Bricolage with her husband (name?), a relaxing spa day would be the ideal holiday gift: “Items for kitchen and cooking are always nice, but I usually justify those purchases for myself because it’s part of my professional growth. Time with my family is always a top priority,” says Lin. “Having three young children (Ages 8, 2 and 6 months) and a restaurant it’s difficult to find any time for myself. It would be amazing to have just one full day of being pampered! Massage, facial, pedicure, manicure and don’t forget the Champagne!
Elisabeth Davies, Former Pastry Sous Chef for the Link Restaurant Group, New Orleans
Working as a pastry sous chef for Link Restaurant Group, which includes NOLA gems like Cochon, Peche, and Herbsaint, meant Elisabeth Davies always had a well-stocked kitchen. The new mom is currently on maternity leave, and she’s missing the sweet set-up which made it easy to offer freshly-made baked goods to friends. “For the holidays I would love a reach-in freezer,” says Davies. “What I miss most about working is a freezer full of cookies, scones, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of croissants. I would love to be able to pop in cinnamon rolls Christmas morning, croissants for Sunday brunch, cookies for a friend who stops by.” Small reach-in or chest freezers aren’t just a great place to stash your cookie dough, they also mean you can make meals ahead and save them, perfect for moms who are all about Sunday batch cooking.
Barbara Sibley, Chef and Owner, La Palapa
Like wine, good olive oil expresses terroir, and its distinct flavors can transform a dish. Barbara Sibley, the chef and owner of La Palapa in New York City, is also the founder of the San Miguel Poetry Week, a collector of traditional, rare and ancient Mexican recipes—and a mother, of course. She goes to great lengths to get her favorite oil. “I order olive oil from California in three-litre jugs from the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company in Saint Helena, on Charter Oak. It may be crazy to mail olive oil this way but I love it.” She’d welcome a delivery as a gift at the holidays. “It is deeply aromatic,” she adds, “and reminds me of many good times.
$13.00, Napa Valley Olive Oil
Candace Nelson, Founder, Sprinkles Cupcakes
If you’re looking for a present that’s out of the ordinary, consider that studies have shown it’s experiences, rather than material items, which make people happier in the long term. For Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and mother of two boys, that means taking a break from her focus on American sweets with a trip abroad. “I’d love to receive a trip to Portugal,” Nelson says, “its picturesque coastlines with towering cliffs have been calling my name for some time. Plus, I hear they have incredible pastries."
Want more ideas for gifts for mom—and everyone else? Check out our full 2019 holiday gift guide.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious