The Eco-Friendly Kitchen Gadget Wishlist

by - Wednesday, November 15, 2017


My husband loves all kitchen gadgets. He loves the gadgets even more than he likes to cook. More than once, we have been rushed out of Bed Bath and Beyond because he just can't stop looking at that big wall of kitchen stuff. I can't complain, because he does all the cooking in our house. So life is good, even if we do spend an inordinate amount of time inspecting spatulas.


We are pretty practical gifters- I think we both like the feeling of accomplishing something, so a fun kitchen gadget is like the best of both worlds! It check something off the "Still Need" list but can give him something new to experiment with too. So here is his list and a couple of bonus gift ideas from me-

The Boy's List:
Mandolin
Kitchen Island
Vegetable Peeler
Potato Ricer
Mortar and Pestle

Now, before we get to it, I want to talk about my priorities when I shop. Lots of us are out shopping this time of year, and whole days are devoted to big deals so we can get the most out of our money. That's great, but it's not my first priority.

I love giving gifts, but I don't want to do it at the expense of other human beings or the environment. Overshopping has a lot of negative effects- it exacerbates climate change, wastes fossil fuels, creates tremendous waste, and makes us unrealizing endorsers of things like slavery and child labor.

Happy Holidays, indeed.

The good news is that since we are part of the problem, we can be part of the solution. A big part of this is to change how (and how much) we shop. So these are my gift giving priorities-

1. Buy Less- The goal isn't a huge pile of gifts but three awesome gifts that will get lots of use. Nothing wasteful.

2. Buy Used- Need to buy kitchen stuff? Go to a consignment store! Do you know how much amazing pyrex already exists in the world for like 50 cents? Almost every kitchen gadget your loved one has on their list is probably available secondhand already, so check! Buying secondhand is one of the greenest (and cheapest) things we can all do, so head out to what is nearby (or check out EBay- 7000+ results for Kitchenaid Mixer) and save the world.

3. Buy Local- More kitchen goods are still made in the US than you expect. Supporting American businesses and workers is great, but even better is that you AREN'T supporting companies that waste fossil fuels shipping things far distance so they can use unethical labor. Yes, it can be more expensive (it will LAST), but if you are buying less and used too, you may spend less money overall.

So, switching up your thinking can make your gifts so much greener. Ready for some inspiration? Let's do this.

Mandolin- "I've done enough slicing this year that I think a mandolin would be a real time save. Hopefully, that's true and it doesn't end up like the poor julienne peeler thing that is so lonely in the drawer." 
from npebaysale

I found this cool pre-used mandoline slicer on Etsy that came from an estate sale. The price is right and it looks pretty cool. Might be a winner. There are also 400 pre-owned mandolin slicers on Ebay if you can't find one at your local Goodwill.
from Lehman's
I did find this cool cabbage cutter at Lehman's, which may not work for every job, but seems like a fun toy to shred things with. And anything that makes lettuce more fun is probably a win.

Kitchen Island- "While I love our kitchen, the biggest downside is a lack of continuous counter space. The one long stretch has mostly been taken over by a dish drying rack, stand mixer, fruit bowl, and other miscellaneous stuff, leaving us with two smaller counters on either side of the stove for food prep, and they share the space with the knife block, paper towels, etc. Anyway, so while the kitchen feels large, it gets awfully cramped. A kitchen island can help us solve any counter space issues." 

I should have expected it, but I was honestly blown away by how many cool kitchen islands were on Etsy (and cheaper than a lot of what I have seen elsewhere). Seriously, if you are thinking about any gift this Christmas, check Etsy before you settle on your options, because they may have more than you expect! Also, you might find some inspiration and take on the task yourself!

from Herb's Furnishing
I think the winner might be one of these streamlined, simple, but gorgeous kitchen islands from Herb's Furnishings. Nothing fussy, but they make their furniture out of reclaimed wood, and we don't need a bunch of extra doodads.

Side note- We did get this last Christmas as his only gift, and I absolutely love it. Herb's Furnishings helped us get exactly what we needed, and the island probably gets more compliments than anything else in our house. 

You love the idea but want a different design aesthetic? I got you. Here are some more- 3 Hands Furniture (gorgeous),  2nd century furniture, NEFStudio, TheCrabbyLionStore, and Lapalletcreations.

If you are handy, you could also make one or transform another piece of furniture into one for the coolest Christmas gift EVER.

from Our Vintage Kitchen Co
I found a number of gorgeous kitchen islands that look like repurposed dressers, like these beauties from Our Vintage Kitchen Co. I think this particular one is a little feminine to give my husband for Christmas, but there are lots to choose from.

This one from CS Antiques rides that line between shabby chic dresser and clean, modern kitchen.  Maverick Industrial has a simple but masculine island to butch up a kitchen. This island from Ezekial and Stearns also feels a little rustic and masculine while staying light.
from amazon
We have eyed Catskill Craftsman kitchen islands for over a year now, but only the all wood islands are made in the United States. My favorite is the French Country Workcenter, which is very simple, but since we would move it back and forth, it is better to not have too much on it. They also have drop leaf ones, to make the worktop even larger. This would be my second choice, since it has that clean craftsman look that would match our kitchen (can you tell I've thought about these?).

John Boos and Co makes moveable islands and carts at Sur la Table. They are not cheap (WAY too expensive for Christmas gifts unless you are ridiculously swanky), but they do look beautiful, and it feels a shame to exclude them.

Vegetable Peeler- "The vegetable peeler is probably the most straightforward ask- we used to have two, but the first was super dull and unhelpful, so we ditched it. Now, the other one is starting to get dull too. Can you sharpen them? I don't know. But we peel a lot of veggies (especially carrots for the Bub)."

from amazon

Rada Cutlery makes Made in America vegetable peelers which are under 10 dollars and would do the trick. Definitely would be a winner! They also have a deluxe version. Done deal. You can also find a ton of vintage options from Etsy (for 8 bucks- why did I buy so many new things all these years? Screw you, Bed, Bath, and Beyond). I love this beauty from SandCreekWoodWorkshop as well.

Potato Ricer- "If we are going to perfect gnocchi, a potato ricer is key."

I had bad luck finding potato ricers that are made in America (a few on Amazon came up, but I couldn't verify that any were made Stateside). On the other hand, I found a number of awesome vintage options that are still ready to use!

from Taming Chaos
The majority of the vintage potato ricers look just like this one from Taming Chaos. They are steel and have a little bit of rust, but most are described as still ready for use. I also see 386 used ricers on Ebay. Just make sure you find a usable one, and you are golden!

I did buy him a potato ricer from Goodwill for a holiday this year (maybe Valentine's Day?). It's awesome. It was cheap. It riced those potatoes. 

Mortar and Pestle- "I want to do more of my own spice grinding. Right now, whenever I need to grind saffron or coriander seed, I end up either just trying to grind it with a spoon in a plastic bowl (saffron) or putting it between some paper towels and using a rolling pin (coriander). Neither method is very effective, nor do they look as magical as a mortar and pestle." 

A mortar and pestle can be a helpful tool that you can find in all sorts of pretty materials and makes. We already love Fletcher's Mill salt and pepper grinders, and they also make a mortar and pestle! We may do this, so we can continue to support a company we already love. Lehman's sells a marble mortar and pestle which looks simple, lovely, and cheap!
from Betelgeuse Pottery
Etsy has some great options as well- my favorites are probably ceramic mortar and pestles like these ones (with a notch, so smart) from Betelgeuse Pottery. It really just depends what kind you want. You can also find plenty of vintage options (yes, on Ebay too).

from Jenn Erickson Art

I am also seriously considering one from Jenn Erickson Art in Boston, because she has a nice variety of ceramic mortar and pestles in lots of colors. They are just rustic enough to be a good gift for a guy, but they also seem a little dainty and pretty. I love ones from Seabloom by Rainy, because they can be used in your kitchen or for your altar grinds. Multi-tasking! Backyard Ceramic sells a floral morter and pestle.

A Few More Ideas for the Foodie You Love 

If you are The Boy, go away! Seriously!

Experience Gifts

Cooking Classes- Seriously, how fun would this be? Especially if you can do it together. Look for classes nearby you can take or even a weekend thing in a city nearby. Learning something new together, gaining skills your loved one can use forever, just having fun! A perfect gift for a loved one who already seemingly has it all, because we can all learn something new.

A Trip to a New Restaurant- It doesn't have to be something really fancy, but any creative person needs inspiration. Whatever kind of food your loved one loves making, someone out there is doing it for money. Take a little trip and share a delicious meal. Perfect day and memory.


And More to Try...


from Urban Cheesecraft
DIY Cheesekit- I LOVE this idea from Urban Cheesecraft out of Portland, Oregon. You can make your own mozzarella! I feel like this is just the kind of project we would find fun, and it might just be a neat addition to his foodie arsenal.

A Co-op Sign Up- Check around where you live; co-ops or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes could be available where you live. These boxes are filled with local fruits and vegetables. So instead of buying your loved one more stuff, why not get them delicious, local, and packaging-free (or light) ingredients? What's better for a cook than something truly great to cook with?

Donate Food for Someone Else- If they appreciate food, they would probably understand how tragic it is that so many people go without. What about buying one small tool and then donating the rest of the money to a charity like Food Lifeline, Feeding America, OR a group working where you live!?

Oyster Knife- This may not be as fun as a Nessie Ladle or garlic carriage, but this Dexter-Russell oyster knife  might encourage The Boy's new plan to make oysters at home, because they are so expensive when you eat out. I may buy this one.

Jacob Bromwell Fanciness- Ok, I think maybe this 100+ year old company's products are the kind of thing you buy once you are a little more grown up, and you realize it's important to buy things that will last. We found one of their sifters at Goodwill, and jumped at that gem, and now I am considering buying him shredders or colander that will be part of our kitchen for the rest of our lives.

Pizza Cutter- These pizza cutters by Epicurean are eco-friendly, made in the US, and just look cool. I like that the shape is flat, so you can fit it easily in a drawer. In our house, we eat pizza a lot, so this might make a good gift, or it might work in your house! Anything from Epicurean (cutting boards, wooden spoons, so much!) is a slam dunk in my book- eco-friendly materials and made in the US. It doesn't get better than this company.

Graters- Microplane makes all sorts of graters, mostly in the US. I know we love ours. This is a medium ribbon one, in case you use a thicker cheese.

from amazon
Pans- USA Pans are made in Pittsburgh, and are basically the best pans made in the States. They manufacture for all the fancy kitchen stores, but you can also get their pans for perfectly reasonable/ comparable to lesser pan prices. If you are shopping for a cook, and something needs replaced, join me in supporting this awesome company.

Lastly, I will buy him this, because how can you not, really.

from Crafts Gone Awry
Hope this helped you get inspired to gift your favorite cook some used and Made in the US stuff! If you need more ideas, check out my gigantic list of EVERYTHING in a kitchen here and here as part of the Eco-friendly Wedding Registry. You can get all of your gifts secondhand, Made in America, or made of eco-friendly materials! Don't settle!



If you want more shopping inspiration, check out all the shopping lists here.

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3 comments

  1. I like all the different kitchen islands you posted ! A good set of bake wear is also helpful for the holidays !

    ReplyDelete
  2. I’ll definitely have to look into this! We are total foodies in my house. My fiancé is a sous chef and would really love a few more gadgets for the house.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such an interesting eco friendly list you have drawn up for your kitchen.

    ReplyDelete