Our Resident Minimalist's Faves for a Happy Kitchen & Home

These small-but-mighty (and mighty useful) gifts are sure to bring joy to everyone on your list.

December  4, 2020

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. And this week, columnist Emma Laperruque is showing us her go-to tools that help those recipes come to life.

Long before I was an editor at Food52, I was a reader—and a shopper. In particular, I remember one holiday (or was it an anniversary?), not long after my husband and I started dating, when we both surprised each other with gifts from The Shop. He got me a pizza stone that our future cat would shatter—don’t ask—and I got him a tiffin that he no longer uses now that we both work remotely.

In the years since, we’ve found way too many favorites to list in full—but these are the ones I use every day, for Big Little Recipes and everything else.

Emma's Big Little Gift Guide

Five Two Silicone Oven Mitts

I used to work in a bakery, which means I used to burn my fingers and wrists and forearms constantly. So I’m no stranger to blisters and scars—but that doesn’t mean I like them! These mitts are sturdy and oversized enough to protect me even on my clumsiest days.

Handmade Felt Flower & Eucalyptus Bouquets

I’ve killed almost every plant I’ve owned. But! These felt flowers are an exception. You don’t need to water them, you don’t need to place them near a window—you don’t need to do anything but place them in a pretty vase.

Danish Modernist Vessels

Speaking of which, this is my favorite vase: buttercup yellow and confidently matte. It’s my favorite way to brighten up any room, which is why I’m known to move it around depending on wherever I want a little sunshine that day.

Stackable Bodega Glasses

When my husband and I moved into our home, I was thrilled (elated! euphoric!) that the kitchen included open shelves. It was the perfect excuse to ditch our hodgepodge collection of empty jam slash olive slash sauerkraut jars—and snag this set of simple, stackable glasses.

Ortwo Hand-held Pepper Grinder

I resisted a pepper grinder for years. But then I started to crave the romance (the romance?) of having one at the table, for sprinkling over pasta and eggs and everything else. This model is pretty and mighty and, honestly, I wish I bought it sooner.

Dish Rack With Drain Spout

Likewise, I resisted a dish rack for years. Because why would I want something so, um, unfortunate-looking taking up half my counter space? Then I stumbled upon this looker.

Specialty Cheese Knife & Slicer Set

Ending a workday with a glass of funky wine (see those glasses above) and a wedge of funkier cheese (see these oh-so pretty knives) really makes me feel like I have my whole life together. Even if the laundry is unfolded and the trash is overflowing and dinner isn’t planned.

What are you picking up for loved ones this year? Anything on this list? Let us know in the comments.
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.