Are you eating gluten-free, or know someone who is? Here are great gifts for the gluten-free cook, from small items to substantial kitchen basics.
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What kinds of gifts does a gluten-free cook want?
To answer this question, first you need to know two things:
How gluten-free is the friend’s kitchen?
If the cook has a diagnosis of celiac disease, even tiny amounts of gluten can cause a reaction. Even traces of gluten left on a cutting board or in a toaster can make him or her sick if this is the case!
Many surfaces that have been in contact with gluten – especially any with scratches or tiny grooves – need to be replaced.
How long has this person been eating gluten-free?
If the friend has been gluten-free for a while, they will have replaced many kitchen items. If the switch has been recent, they could need more items – like everything.
Gluten is a tiny protein and can be embedded in:
- Cutting boards – wood, silicone or plastic
- Cast iron cookware
- Nonstick cookware, including baking sheets and muffin tins
- Rolling pins
- Utensils – wood, silicone, nylon or plastic
- Food processor (bowl and blade)
- Air fryer non-stick coating
- Knives (if scratched)
- and more
Someone with gluten intolerance (like my daughter-in-law) can eat food that I have prepared in equipment that HAS seen gluten, as long as I scrub it quite well. She keeps a cutting board to use for glutenous foods my son might eat. And she has converted to all-stainless-steel cookware, utensils and bakeware.
But if her diagnosis were celiac, I’d need new prep items and cookware to make food for her since I’ve had the same cookware since before starting this blog and focusing on GF recipes – no more thrift-shopping for me!
If you are not sure of the status of someone else’s gluten-free kitchen, I encourage you to ask what they’d like most. Or, if you really want to surprise, the gift of ingredients is always welcome, from gluten-free flours and mixes to packaged items that would save time in meal prep. Gluten-free items are still pricier than many wheat-containing ones so it’s a little more special than just wrapping up what you bought at the grocery — and there are all kinds of fun specialty products for sale these days.
Gifts for slicing and chopping food
A good wooden cutting board is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I like bamboo or acacia boards, preferably ones that are large enough to chop vegetables without running out of space.
For meats, which I prefer not to cut on wood, I consider a silicone cutting board to be better for food safety than a plastic one that can leach toxins like BPA into food.
And of course, good knives are worth spending some money on – I bought this set of Henckels santoku knives years ago, and love how well they handle and hold their edges. Remember that a sharp knife is a safe knife.
Other food preparation tools
I use a combination of Pyrex glass mixing bowls and stainless steel. The Pyrex ones can go into the microwave to melt ingredients, while the stainless steel are light and easy to move around. Both come in nested sets with covers, and both can go into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Just imagine the reasons why a sifter that was used for wheat flour would need to be replaced with a new one. There is no way you’d be able to remove the gluten from the sifter’s screen.
For a colander, the best option is stainless steel – for ease of cleaning and to avoid toxins that can leach into food from plastic.
Cooking Tools for gluten-free cooking
Two years ago we replaced my daughter-in-law’s cookware with a new set of Calphalon clad stainless steel, and have never regretted it. The pans are light, yet sturdy, and clean up well even if we burn on food. They have glass lids, a must in my book. If you have more to spend (we didn’t) All-Clad would be a lifetime investment.
After some research into safe nonstick pans, I recommend the Scanpan for certain items like tortillas. The ScanPan is made in Denmark, which makes it seem exotic, and has great ratings about the safety of its non-stick surface.
I love, love, love my Lodge cast iron Dutch oven. But the Dutch oven is heavy (13 pounds), so I’m not sure I’d surprise someone with it without being sure they could heft it in and out of the oven.
I like the idea of the Lodge cast iron skillet but am still working on mastering it. It’s so much less likely to rust in Denver than in Hawaii (the rusting was literally a losing cause in the tropics) I think there’s hope.
My most-used kitchen appliance is my Cuisinart food processor. I choose it more often than I do a blender or mixer! I often modify a recipe to make use of it for baking or pastry as well as dips and chopping nuts.
Almost as useful is the Cuisinart handheld blender – fantastic for pureeing soups and salad dressings.
Second-most-used appliance is my Instant Pot – right now I have the Duo Nova 7-in-1. Note that this Instant Pot has come down in price – it now costs half what I paid for my first one.
Based on several reviews, I chose the Cosori air fryer for durability, large fryer basket and ease of cleaning.
Utensils for the Gluten-Free kitchen
As far as gift-giving, utensils make great gifts. They are relatively inexpensive and cooks can usually use one or two more than they already have. Stainless steel cooking utensils are attractive, don’t change color with ingredients like turmeric, and are easy to clean. They can be used to serve the food as well as to cook it.
For nonstick cookware like the Scanpan, look for beautiful wooden spoons as well as silicone and nylon cooking tools.
Tools for gluten-free Baking
Stainless steel baking sheets are great for the gluten-free cook. They are lightweight, seamless and easy to clean. Use them for sheet pan meals, cookies, and toasting nuts to GF bread. Muffin tins and cake pans have the same advantages.
I love my glass and ceramic pans, but only if they are not scratched. Also the stainless steel pans are lighter to handle.
Parchment paper is a key to simplifying cleanup and preventing sticking with stainless steel pans. I have stopped using aluminum foil to wrap food because where I live the food residue keeps the foil from being recyclable.
I have a regular rolling pin and have requested an embossed one for my gift this holiday!
Cookbooks for the Gluten-Free cook
To get started on gluten-free eating on a budget, check out the work of Nicole Hunn, who has been publishing on economy for years. Her recipes are gathered into several cookbooks, including Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.
Eliminating dairy along with gluten? The Everything Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cookbook is a great starter resource.
Planning to eliminate more than gluten from your meals? Nom Nom Paleo’s 125 Recipes is a well illustrated cookbook that also gives lots of tips for the Paleo way of eating.
Or the Paleo Cookbook for Two may suit you for small-batch cooking.
Gluten-Free Food items
A gift of food might be just the ticket, perhaps in a gift basket. A bag of gluten-free flour is a great gift! And there are several brands to choose from including King Arthur, Cup4Cup, Better Batter, GFJules and Bob’s Red Mill.
Or some fun gluten-free pastas can help with those cravings for macaroni and cheese. We like Banza, which is based on chickpeas.
And of course, we all enjoy some premade baking items like this Bob’s Red Mill muffin mix.
Thanks to Very Well Fit for some equipment suggestions, tips and explanations I had not thought of.
If you found something you liked on this post, please let me know! Leave a comment, pin it, and don’t forget to tag me #amealinmind on Instagram. I’d love to see what you thought. Thank you so much!!