© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

When Gifts Don't 'Register': Shopping For The Kitchen


Most gift registries focus on the kitchen, and one list I perused recently was no exception. Among the usual pots, flatware and dishes I saw several gadgets: a digital rice cooker, egg slicer and an apple wedger.

I shook my head. After 38 years, I’ve never owned those last three items, but I’ve somehow prepared more than 21,000 meals.

Yes, I remember my own new days in an apartment, and later as a bride in a townhouse in Hickory. We had received my fair share of useless kitchen gifts. A Hot Dogger appliance for cooking – you guessed it – hot dogs. A mixer that took up a third of my precious counter space, a crepe maker that was used maybe once.

Cooking rice isn’t rocket science. Toss a cup of dry rice and two cups of salted water in a pot, bring to a boil, place the lid on top and turn off the heat. The rice will work its magic.

Egg slicing and apple wedging? A simple paring knife will do the job.

The last thing one needs in a cramped apartment – or really, in any kitchen – is bulky, single-use appliances. The same goes for gadgets that will spend the rest of their life in the back of the drawer.

Here are my kitchen must-haves:

·         A set of quality stainless pots and pans with handles that don’t conduct heat. I like my Wolfgang Puck set, but they have metal handles. Ouch! I still reach for my tried-and-true Revere Ware.

·         A 10-inch seasoned iron skillet. Keep it out of the dishwater and it will last generations.

·         A sturdy cookie sheet that won’t rust into oblivion. Use it for cookies, biscuits, rolls, pizza. Yes, pizza can be made square.

·         A stain-resistant white table cloth. You need this. Trust me.

·         A large picnic basket with a removable shelf. This practical wedding present has accompanied us to potlucks, progressive dinners and even picnics. And it doubles as a storage container.

·         A sturdy electric food processor to slice, dice, shred and whip. My workhorse model is 30 years old and still going strong.

·         A basic cookbook. I’ve worn out my old standby – the orange Betty Crocker binder cookbook. A thoughtful gift is cooking lessons.

·         And finally, a nice flower vase. Nothing says elegance like fresh blooms on the table.