Raising a little foodie or loving an adult foodie may find you reaching outside the toy and sock options as you holiday shop this year. As someone who loves to cook, and one who wants to nurture that in her own children, I have come up with some of my top foodie gift ideas for kids teeny to teen, as well a few for that special adult.
Unique Plates and Utensils
Young eaters of all ages and stages enjoy seeing a meal arranged on a fun plate that actually encourages them to play with their food. We’ve found a construction-themed plate and tools to be a great way to get our picky eater to “shovel” the food into his mouth. Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale has a variety of options for babies and young kids alike in-store and online. You’ll find everything from dinnerware sets in different themes to fun placemats from toxin-free baby spoons to suction bowls and more.
Safety Step Stools
For our smaller kitchen helpers, a step stool that will allow them to safely work at countertop height is a wonderful way to make them feel included. When gifting this to a younger child, you will get several years of use, so you want something that’s going to be durable as well as fit the style of your kitchen. With steps and handles, they do have a rather large footprint. This folding stool tucks away and even comes with a few bonus features. Target carries a more budget-friendly option in a range of colors. For an extra-special homemade version, follow these plans to build your own– or hand off to a grandparent who may take more pleasure in completing such a task.
An apron with your name on it clearly means you’re legit. Team aprons or hand-me-downs from someone special, like my daughter’s from her great grandma, illustrate to kids that they have officially earned a spot in the kitchen. Have a Cricut or know someone who does? Blank aprons can be found on Amazon for a simple, low-cost option, with the added bonus of being homemade. Let local crafter Growing Roots do the work for you by choosing from her array of apron options.
For the big foodie: I absolutely drooled when I stumbled across the Detroit Denim Company’s high quality and functional chef aprons. Any person who spends time in a kitchen would want to wear one of these. (Note to my husband: yes, this includes me.)
Knives and Tools
Knife skills are, hands-down, one of the most important things to learn in the kitchen. Ease your fears and move past the butter-knife stage with any number of silicone blades that are totally safe for little fingers. We have found our kids really take ownership in the kitchen with a few of their very own spatulas, stirring spoons, rolling pins, etc. Check out Wisconsin-based Curious Chef for kid-safe knives and more.
For the big foodie: Think outside the box and look for something unique like Damascus steel knives or specialty baking tools. Peep the collection and note what’s missing– don’t try to replace or improve upon your loved one’s favorites. If you’re looking to induce tears of joy at opening, splurge on a hand-made prize of a knife from Detroit Knife Company.
Subscription Boxes and Kits
There are a gajillion subscription services out there for kids. Little foodies will love getting a new recipe each month and will grow their chef skills with each box. Kits are generally fitting for ages 4-14+ and are available for most dietary needs. You can select a meal kit like Yumble Kids; a baking box like Foodstirs; or, an educational delivery like Veggie Buds Club. Prices can be as low as $8.99 for an emailed kit and up to $24.99 for a monthly subscription with options between and beyond.
One-time order kits are another fun choice– order sweet confection kits from Whisk Takers, or try out a month-to-month, cancel-anytime box from Harlow’s Harvest, which goes beyond just cooking with focus on history, geography, STEM, and budgeting.
For the big foodie: One of the best gifts I bought myself was a kit from Umai Dry. Their kits come with specialty bags, ingredients, and recipes for dry-aging steaks and charcuterie meats. All you need is the meat and a vacuum sealer (they also sell one). I make a great venison Bresaola with their recipe and bags.
Tried and true in our house, my kids love a cookbook geared toward them. Recipes are simple for mom to assist with or, for older kids, to complete on their own. There are many options out there for a range of ages and skill levels. My 9-year-old has prepared several recipes from the America’s Test Kitchen Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, and my 5-year-old loves choosing something to help make from the old classic, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls.
Educational experience in the kitchen is a lifelong gift for an older child or special adult. I tell my husband all the time that some of the best gifts he ever gave me were cooking classes. He agrees as he regularly enjoys the delicious foods I learned to make in those sessions. This is also a great way to get teen foodies out of the house and into hands-on instruction.
You may opt to select private classes from a local chef or restaurant, either in-home or on-location. In addition, look into local parks and recreation offerings as some do offer cooking classes.
I’ve compiled a list of some metro-Detroit spots that offer classes for kids; many offer parent-child classes and adult classes, as well. Be sure to confirm age requirements before booking. Availability calendars may not be updated for 2020, so you can purchase a gift certificate for your loved one to choose their future session.
12 Kitchen Elves South Lyon
Focused on kids classes. Age varies by class with many starting at age 6+. They also offer private parties and special events for adults.
Bake! Zingerman’s Bakehouse Ann Arbor
“The majority of our classes are intended for adults, ages 17 and up. We do occasionally offer family classes where adults can bake with their children, ages 7 and up, or summer kids camps for ages 10-15.”
Eastern Market Detroit
Adult classes and kids classes suitable for ages 8-12.
Flour Power Northville
“Preschool to Teens!”
Fustini’s Ann Arbor
“Anyone under 18 is welcome to attend a class with an adult. Two seats will need to be purchased to do so. For Interactive Classes, participants will be using heating elements and sharp cooking utensils and should be tall enough to comfortably reach the counter and stovetops to get the full experience. If you have questions, please call us, and we can help you determine if the class is the right fit.”
Sprouting Chefs Ann Arbor
“These ‘drop-off’ classes are open to children ages 8 to 16, unless otherwise indicated.”
Sur la Table Ann Arbor, Clinton Township, Novi, and Troy
Many classes offered at Ages 18+ and Ages 14+. (Paying adult must accompany ages 17 and under.) There are a few to be found at 6+ and 8+.
Williams Sonoma Ann Arbor, Novi, Rochester Hills, and Troy
Adult classes and Junior Chef classes suitable for ages 8-13.
Zee the Cook Dearborn Heights
Classes for kids 6-12, teens 13-17, and adults 18+.
Nurturing a tiny foodie with gifts of foodie love is sure to repay tenfold around the dinner table. Spending one-on-one time in the kitchen, teaching valuable life skills, and instilling a love for cooking are just some of the perks of raising little chefs. You’ll especially appreciate this down the road as you sit with your feet up, awaiting the next kitchen masterpiece from your grown-up little foodie.