We’re coming up on the time of year when we start thinking about
what to get that special someone. Although some think kitchen
appliances and gizmos are not appropriate gifts, I get positively
giddy over neat kitchen gadgets.

I recently found a few jewels to add to my collection and some
to my wish list, so Santa, listen up. These also are good gifts for
those who like to putter in the kitchen.

The following items can be found in the King Arthur Flour’s
Bakers Catalogue or online at www.kingarthurflour.com.

It’s fairly obvious I like to bake. A look in my oven shows that
I don’t like to clean the beast. I recently started using an
effective Teflon protector in the bottom of the oven. Now when
something spills over, it’s caught by the sheet.

The sheet is easily pulled out and rinses in the sink. When it’s
dry, slide it back in and bake away. Its suggested retail price is
$29.95, and it’s well worth the price for the effort it

For those who are tired of muffins stuck to pans, there are
silicone pans. These amazing pans allow the baker to pop the
muffins or tarts out with a great deal of ease. Storage is not a
problem because the pans are flexible and can fit into any

They straighten out and are ready to use in a flash. Because
they are flexible, they need to be placed on a cookie sheet to keep
them stable in the oven, but the ease is worth it.

The suggested retail price is $19.95. I have the fluted pan used
for brioche and muffins, but King Arthur Flour also sells them in
tart, mini-tart and Madelines pans.

Vegetable peelers are a requirement in any kitchen. I’ve tried
the kind you find in the grocery store. Some have swivel heads,
some have corers – some are sharper than others – but all do the
job with a lot of effort.

I finally found a grater that does the trick without a lot of
sweat. It’s sharp with a handle that’s easily gripped and peels in
both directions. Manufactured by Zyliss, this peeler sells for
$6.96 and is worth the extra money.

Zyliss also makes a can opener I can sing about. I have
constantly been disappointed in the electric beast that takes up
space on the kitchen counter and might or might not open a can
depending on the weather.

To counteract the temperament of my electric can opener, I’ve
always kept a manual can opener available.

With the Zyliss can opener I’ve sent my electric one packing.
It’s easy to use, makes a clean cut and stores nicely in a

Its best-selling feature for me is the lock. Once clamped to the
can, the opener locks into position. The suggested retail price is

Knives are a must in any kitchen. Chicago Cutlery and Oneida
have knives I trust. They are well-balanced and

When looking for a knife, always select ones where the blade is
riveted to the handle.

No kitchen should be without a bread knife. Oneida makes a
heavy-duty knife that can slice through dry bread with the same
ease it can when the bread is warm.

Oneida knives are sold at many department stores and can also be
purchased online at www.amazon.com. Priced at $25, the bread knife
will last a lifetime or two if properly taken care of.

For slicing meat deli thin, I’ve had good luck with a Black and
Decker electric knife, which can be found in most department stores
and sells for around $20.

Gadgets aside, I know cooks always appreciate a new

King Arthur Flour’s latest cookbook, “The Baker’s Companion,” at
$35, is an excellent resource.

The book is filled with delicious recipes, information about the
food item and variations. It’s easy to read and provides recipes
for the novice, the pro and everyone in between.

With step-by-step instructions, bakers can spread their wings
and make pastry that even a French chef would beam with pride

It also has a kitchen gadget list at the back that could easily
become a wish list.

For those who like to incorporate prepackaged foods or need
something fast, Pillsbury has “Dough Magic! Turn Refrigerated Dough
into Hundreds of Tasty Family Favorites!”

It’s a cookbook that uses prepared foods as a springboard for
the end result. Dough Magic can be found at local bookstores.
Retail price is $25.95.

Susan Dage-Ruby is a News-Press staff writer.