The cooks on your gift list may have just about everything they need, but it's still possible to find them something new that fits their culinary skills.
The holidays are an important time of year for the kitchenwares industry, says Joe Derochowski, home industry adviser for market research company NPD Group. In fact, he adds, the last nine weeks of 2017 accounted for 34 percent of all kitchen electric appliance sales.
"To put that in perspective, nine weeks accounts for 17 percent of all 52 weeks in the year, so these weeks are getting much more than an average week," he says.
So it's safe to assume that a large percentage of homes will have at least one kitchen-related gift wrapped and waiting beneath the tree.
For a long time, it was just new colors for appliances - like KitchenAid's fashionable shades for its stand mixers. But now, it appears, manufacturers are looking to make our lives easier and homes more streamlined.
"As consumers, we are always looking for convenience," Derochowski says.
And, adds Jon Jesse, vice president of industry development for the International Housewares Association, "Kitchenware has become a desirable category for gift giving. Also, along with kitchen items' natural importance in food preparation, dining and entertaining has made the holiday season the most important time of the year for kitchenware sales."
Every cook needs to update their kitchenwares every so often, so here's a list of five of the top new items that have hit the market just in time for the holiday season. They're now online and in stores, ready for gifting this holiday season.
Any pasta lover on your list will appreciate Bialetti's pasta pot. Simply boil the pasta with the locking lid in place, then pour the water out without removing the lid. The locking system and holes in the lid do the job quite nicely, allowing the water to escape without worrying about burns from splashing water in the process. The pot is oval-shaped, so most pastas, including lasagna, will fit inside without having to break the noodles in half before cooking. The new red-pepper color is particularly nice for the Christmas season. The pot is a clever, practical gift that will make your favorite cook give you a big "grazie" (thank you) in return.
» Price: $29.99.
» Where to buy: www.amazon.com; Target; Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Go retro this year by putting the latest in toasters from Russell Hobbs under the tree. The London-based company has been selling its kitchenwares in England and surrounding areas for years but has just now landed in stores in America. Among its products is a new toaster that doubles as a warmer for rolls, sandwiches and other foods you may want to keep heated via a removable tray that fits on top. The toaster itself has some features others do not, such as letting you lift your toast or bagel mid-toast to see how it's doing without having to reset the timer. The toaster comes in two sizes - two-slice and four-slice - and is designed to make toast up to 65 percent faster than other models, taking less than two minutes to toast bread. It has wide slots that can be tightened to grip bread, as well as buttons for reheating food and toasting frozen foods. The retro design, in red or black, adds an eye-catching touch to any kitchen counter.
» Price: $79.99-$99.99.
» Where to buy: www.amazon.com; www.russellhobbs.com.
Chicago Metallic introduces the latest color for bakeware just in time for your holiday gift-giving. Rose bronze looks almost too pretty to be used, but it's one tough cookie that's pretty enough to go from oven to table and durable enough to stand up to the pressures of baking. The line includes cupcake pans, cake pans, loaf pans, a pie pan and cookie sheets in various sizes. It's extremely durable with a diamond nonstick finish that should remain scratch-free for years to come. Ideal for all your holiday baking or that of your favorite pastry chef.
» Price: Individual pieces start at $8.99.
» Where to buy: www.amazon.com.
TRENDY CAST IRON
On the local front, Lodge cast iron has a new look for a beautiful blue Christmas. The company's new line of Indigo blue enamaled cast-iron was chosen as this year's color because it was forecasted as a popular color by the Pantone Color Institute, but you may choose it because it's so attractive and different from other pieces of cast-iron cookware. There are several pieces in the new blue line, so you can wrap up a cast-iron skillet, a gorgeous 2-quart oval casserole or a 6-quart Dutch oven with lid and have it ready and waiting under the tree. And you know it will last for generations. After all, it's made by Lodge in the USA.
» Price: Individual pieces start at $49.95.
» Where to buy: www.walmart.com; World Market (in store and online); www.lodgemfg.com; or at the Lodge Factory Store in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
Black & Decker's new air fryer/toaster oven is a two-in-one device that just hit the market. It will give you more counter space since it can take the place of an old toaster oven that may need the old heave-ho-ho-ho anyway. The clever technology can air-fry a potato in minutes, but it will taste as if it's baked for an hour. Microwave baked potatoes just can't compare. And it can toast a piece of bread, broil a piece of fish or cook any other foods just like a traditional toaster oven. Whoever on your list gets this will be so happy. It's ideal for someone with a small kitchen, tiny apartment or a dorm room where there's little extra space.
» Price: $74.99.
» Where to buy: www.wayfair.com; www.kohls.com.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.