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Must have holiday gifts for foodies

Le Creuset cookware, photo by Ming-yen Hsu

Vancouverites are generally laid-back and chilled out, but Christmas is coming and Hanukkah has already begun. For those of you who are about to hit the panic button, Relax! Take a whiff of some vanilla sea salt and read this list of my top ten gifts for the foodie in your life.

Photo by Ween Nee

$1.50 and up: Cupcake wrappers
From people who are 4 years old to 100 years young, almost everybody loves cupcakes. For the obsessive baker, the 6 year-old wannabe cook, or the gluten-free god/goddess who must tinker with new recipes, there is no such thing as too many wrappers. Ones with cute prints can be found at dollar stores, cookware shops and IKEA, but there are some truly adorable ones at Bake It Pretty's website. Shiny foil, polka dots, animal prints, damask, pirates, curly Victorian flowers, go wild! These make great stocking stuffers.

Photo by The Honey Bunny

$8 and up: Brightly coloured ramekins
Nuts, candies, soufflés, and mini lasagnas are extra fun when served in brightly coloured ramekins. Oven-safe, dishwasher-proof, and microwave-friendly, these handy little cups are also perfect for holding ingredients or late-night snacks. You can buy a few of them individually for as little as $2.00 apiece at Superstore, or find a glamorous, glossy set from the Emile Henry collection at your local kitchen shop.

                      Photo by Road Fun

$10 and up: Heat-proof spatulas, pancake flippers, silicone-coated tongs
Without these three essential, yet often-overlooked tools, many young people are ill-equipped for moving out of their parent's homes. Save them from themselves and from a future of scratched pans, clumsily dropped food, or dinners containing melted rubber. The easier home-cooking becomes, the less likely people are to throw their hands up in frustration and resort to a bowl of Mr. Noodles. Now that's real love. Bonus: If they recipient is petite in stature, silicone tongs are perfect for grabbing objects on tall shelves.

          Photo by Anthony Easton

$20 and up: Cake platters
Do you know someone who loves to bake and decorate luscious, heavenly cakes at home, has plenty of cutesy knick-knacks at home and loves to stack things on top of shelves, or experiments in food photography and likes to have a nice stand to put their subject on? Cake platters are a great way to put this special person on a pedestal and show them how much you appreciate them. Even better, if they bake, you might get a phone call the next time something glorious comes out of the oven. You might be lucky and find these on sale at kitchenware stores, or snag a cute antique one at Value Village.

  Photo by Shane Mugofevil

$30 and up: Sharpening stones
At any high-quality sushi restaurant, you can expect to see sushi masters constantly sharpening and honing their knives in order to shave slices of fish thin enough to melt in the mouths of their guests. Having your knives professionally sharpened works for people who barely have time to cook, but the people who do, and love their tools, can learn to take care of their knives in as little as five minutes each per week. Kitchenware stores and woodworking shops carry a variety of sharpening stones from coarse-grade to fine-grit that will give knives their edge back, and give your friend a chance to learn some of the finer points of knife care.

                             Photo by Jessica Dmytryshn (of Messica Demolition)

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