5 Father's Day Food Gifts That Won't Collect Dust In Your Basement

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Dads can be really hard to shop for. How many of us have prodded our fathers for gift ideas only to hear, "I really don't need anything" or "Save your money for something else"? With Father's Day approaching, it's a good time to recall that age-old wisdom that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and if your dad is a food enthusiast, there are a lot of great gift options out there.

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Of course, the last thing anyone wants is to see their gifts from years gone by sitting unused in the basement. There are all kinds of culinary gimcracks and gewgaws out there, but many of them have limited applications or simply don't work well. So, it's time to do away with the kitschy novelties and underwhelming, overhyped gadgets and find some gifts that will have your dad eating and drinking like a pampered patriarch for years (if not the rest of his life).

Elevate his grilling game with a Himalayan pink salt block

Himalayan pink salt is popularly used as a finishing salt for steaks, but did you know you can also use it to cook steaks? A Himalayan salt block is exactly what it sounds like — a big slab of salmon-colored salt that can be used for preparing and plating food. It is especially popular for grilling meats.

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Cooking with a salt block is simple. Just set it and get it nice and hot, then cook your food right on the searing surface of the salt. This effectively seasons the food as it cooks, and the flat surface is great for delicate items that can be tricky to handle on a grate, such as grilled scallops. It can be used on the stove as well as the grill. It's also a stylish serving platter, and if you chill it in the freezer, you can even make homemade ice cream on it.

A Himalayan salt block typically sells for around $30, depending on the size. It's easy to clean — just wipe it down with a damp towel and voila, you're done. The key to successfully cooking on a salt block is to let it heat up slowly, otherwise it can crack. As long as you're mindful of that, cooking with a salt block is basically the same as using cast iron, but with a flavorful boost.

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Kickstart his mornings with an AeroPress coffee maker

This one is ideal for both coffee lovers and techies. The AeroPress coffee maker is Silicon Valley's answer to coffee making. The brainchild of a former toy inventor, AeroPress combines the best assets of French press and pour-over coffee with the intensity of espresso. That might sound complicated, but it's actually incredibly simple to use. Just place the device over your cup, fill it with coffee grounds, and add hot water like a pour-over. You steep it briefly, French press-style, before straining it with a pressurized system that strengthens the brew like an espresso.

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The AeroPress has received rave reviews, and at $40, it's more affordable than most French presses and pour-over kettles. It also has the added benefit of portability. The AeroPress is compact, so dad can take it to work or travel with it. For fans of camping, there's even a version that comes with a built-in travel cup. It's ready to use anytime you have coffee grounds and water nearby, and the whole brewing process takes less than two minutes. That quick brew time isn't just convenient; it also keeps the coffee from tasting bitter.

Satisfy his sweet tooth with an ice cream subscription

For the dad who just wants to kick back and relax with a sweet snack, a subscription to the Jeni's Ice Cream Pint Club is just the ticket. Every month, he'll get not one, not two, not three, but four pints of ice cream, each one a unique flavor. Jeni's also likes to run new flavors by its Pint Club members before they go on sale in stores, so your dad will get to be one of the first to try the popular brand's latest creations. A subscription costs $199 for three months, $389 for six months, or $759 for an entire year.

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Although founded in Ohio, Jeni's specializes in Philadelphia-style ice cream, which is unique because it does not include eggs, which is typical of the more custardy French style. This makes Philadelphia ice cream lighter than other ice creams, and Jeni's ice cream, which is surprisingly fluffy, is no exception. The company also uses cream with a high butterfat content, which imparts a rich, creamy flavor and texture, and because there are no eggs in the mix, the taste of the cream and flavorings are the star of the show.

Make him feel like a kitchen pro with a quality chef's knife

Simply put, a chef's knife is the most important tool for anyone who's serious about cooking. It is the most versatile kind of kitchen knife, having a broad blade and a medium length between six and 10 inches. With broad strokes, you can slice meat and chop vegetables, but it's equally useful for precision tasks like mincing garlic and herbs. There are a lot of specialty knives on the market tailored to very specific tasks, but a chef's knife can do it all. Don't be surprised if this becomes your dad's most-used kitchen tool.

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Chef's knives are available across a wide price range. The Babish stainless steel chef's knife, from YouTube cooking star Andrew Rea (a.k.a. Binging with Babish) has been highly acclaimed for its quality, and at just $23, it's also one of the most affordable chef's knives on the market. At a higher price point, the Japanese brand MAC offers a broad selection of chef's knives ranging from $72 to $160, depending on their size. Many of its knives feature a dimpled blade to reduce friction and that smooth cut really helps to speed up prep work. Getting a high-quality chef's knife is the quickest way to go, from feeling like an amateur in the kitchen to having all the confidence of a pro. Just remind him to sharpen the knife regularly.

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Keep him cooking for years with a versatile and durable Dutch oven

A Dutch oven is kind of like the cookware version of a chef's knife — it's a jack of all trades. You can use it on the stovetop to sear, simmer, and deep-fry. In the oven, it's perfect for braised meat dishes and baked goods. If your dad makes bread, a Dutch oven will step up his baking game big time. It traps steam as the bread bakes, resulting in an artisan-style loaf with a perfect, crackly crust like you find in French boulangeries. The Dutch oven can even be used to store homemade sourdough bread after it's done baking.

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Arguably the most famous maker of Dutch ovens is Le Creuset, and its products are beloved for a reason. Made from enamel-coated cast iron, they conduct and hold heat incredibly well. Despite this, they're often lighter than your average cast iron pan. Le Creuset is known to be on the pricey side, with its most affordable option, a round Dutch oven, costing $260 to $625 depending on the size. However, this is an instance where you really get what you pay for. Le Creuset cookware is famous for its durability. The internet abounds with testimonials from home cooks and professional chefs alike who've had Le Creuset ovens for generations. This will keep your dad cooking for life, and who knows? It might even become a beloved family heirloom, with a legacy enriched by every meal made in it.

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