The Handy Gift Every Cook Will Appreciate Is Less Than $50
Gift-giving is my love language, and I take it seriously. My greatest victory is picking something out that I know someone will not only love but will use all the time. I've also received my fair share of food-adjacent gifts that have done an excellent job of acquiring dust over the years (I wasn't necessarily racing to get my hands on a DIY kombucha set or an extensive flight of artisanal salts). It's hard to know what a person who loves to cook actually wants.
Related: 22 Gifts for Home Cooks
What also makes gift-giving so tricky is that things can get expensive—I'd love to throw a Dutch oven, a fancy espresso machine, or a chef's knife to all of my dear friends, but I'm not made of money. The challenge is finding a gift in your budget range and that they don't already own (like spatulas, mixing bowls, or aprons). Rather than stressing through the holiday season desperately trying to pick out a gift, I'm going to go ahead and pick it out for you. A pepper mill. And not just any pepper mill, but a Peugeot Pepper Mill.
These pepper mills are better than competitors and loved by so many other prominent home cooks; Martha Stewart has said that it's the only pepper mill she'll use. This classic French brand has been making pepper mills since 1840, and their mills are known for their durability (it should last you at least a decade), consistent grinds, sleek design, and the customizable coarseness feature. The 9-inch model is on sale right now for just $35. The 7-inch model is a great size too, and it's also under $50.
What's the big deal about a decent pepper mill, you ask? Freshly ground black pepper is a simple yet effective way to boost flavor in any dish. You probably already know that pre-ground black pepper is less than ideal, so having a reliable pepper mill is essential to any cook's line up of tools. There's no more generous gift than permission to throw out a cheap, grocery store one-time-use pepper mill. I am determined to gift all of my friends an excellent pepper mill at some point, solely so that no one will be burdened by the taste of stale pre-ground pepper.
Not only is the Peugeot pepper mill efficient at its job, but it also looks darn good doing it. It's great to have with you while you're cooking at the stove, but it looks just as nice at the table if you're entertaining. I gifted myself one a few years ago, and it's one of my favorite kitchen toys. It comes in a few different colors and sizes, so you can make the best bet on what you think your loved one might want. (Send some great whole peppercorns, while you're at it).
Unlike that DIY infused liquor kit, this pepper mill is going to be a serious workhorse in any kitchen. There's nothing better than a gift that you're going to get some mileage out of, so I can't think of a better tool than a sturdy, stunning pepper mill for gifting this holiday season.