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Gift Guide: The Cook 

The kitchen is an ever-expanding universe, with endless opportunities for welcomed gifts, from basic equipment for beginning chefs, like a collection of quality knives, to specific tools for the most advanced cook. Ginger's Kitchenware (Old Mill, 375 SW Powerhouse) has a varied collection of knives, including everything from a paring knife to butcher cleavers ($29.99-$280, Wisthof). For smaller gifts to help fill up your favorite cook's kitchen drawers, check out a ceramic peeler ($10), an infrared thermometer for measuring grill and surface temperatures ($45) and microplane graters, which are ideal for cheese and nutmeg shavings ($15). Good Grips has a nice line of accessories; from stoppers/pour spouts for oils ($11) to cheese slicers ($16), these are often pleasant additions to a cook's arsenal.

While it is a good rule of thumb not to buy your mom anything with a plug, a juicer is a good exception, as are any items that make cooking more fun and easier. Juice Fountain Plus is fast for fruit and vegetable drinks ($150, Breville). Another fun kitchen toy is "the pressed pie;" what looks like a modified Foreman grill, it quickly makes four individual pop-overs ($80, Breville). The Home Bakery Supreme is another great addition, perfect for large, freshly baked loaves of bread ($250, Zojirushi).

Downtown, Kitchen Complements, (137 NW Minnesota) has a wonderful selection of wooden cutting and carving boards, from $40 and upward. Kitchen Complements also has a varied collection of pasta making equipment, from a "rocking pizza cutter" that makes slicing pies easy and quick ($19.99) to pizza pans (starting at $18.99). They also have a good assortment of pasta-making tools, which can turn your favorite chef into an Italian master. Ravioli "stamps" ($4.50, Kitchen Supply) are simple tools that press, cut and seal dough into ravioli squares—and make great stocking stuffers. For making noodles, the "pasta bike" ($37.50, Marcato) looks like a miniature piece of farm equipment, with a roller of spiked cutters—and is a great starting tool for a budding pasta maker. Slightly more advanced, the Imperia Pasta Machine ($79.99) has a hand-crank, a feeder where sheets of dough go in and adjustable cutting widths, from angel hair to fettuccine.

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