As you might suspect, the Eater Slack channels are quite active when it comes to discussions of holiday meals. But perhaps no more robust conversation was generated than when a staffer asked whether or not it’s okay to bring your own kitchen tools to someone else’s house. (My stance, for what it’s worth, is yes if you’re the one who will be using them.) The reason one might do this is clear: The kitchen tools at the hosting kitchen aren’t up to par. And so that naturally leads to the question: Is it or is it not better to just give said host better cooking implements as a gift?
The answer is not as straightforward as it would appear. There are some people who would gladly accept and use a set of upgraded knives (incidentally a mini knife sharpener makes for a great stocking stuffer), but as some staffers pointed out, there are others, our parents and grandparents in particular, who have been producing stellar meals out of their kitchens with nothing but a single pot and paring knife. They don’t want or need a state-of-the-art spatula or multiple cutting boards to get things done. For these people, Jaya Saxena has a solution: Buy them kitchen tools with the full intention of using them yourself the next time you visit.
“Giving your family the kitchen basics may never mean they use them,” she explains. “But it means that when you cook there, you get the benefit of pristine utensils purchased to your tastes. You don’t have to pack your suitcase full of knives and pots and spices and appear to TSA like a very specific criminal. You can arrive and cook without worry.”
ME N U's new varsity jacket, a John Derian Christmas ornament, and an Ooni's baking steel.