Holiday
Mother's Day Gift Ideas from the Cast of America’s Test Kitchen TV
Our kitchen experts share what they're gifting the moms in their lives—or hoping to receive this year.
04-12-2019
America's Test Kitchen

Mother's Day is the day where you show the moms in your life how much you appreciate them. (But really, you should be doing that far more often than once a year. Reminder: you don't have to wait for a holiday to celebrate the people you love.) 

So what do you get a mom who has a passion for food or loves to cook? We posed that question to the cast of America's Test Kitchen TV and learned what they're gifting the moms in their lives—or hoping to receive this year. From a wine opener and an air fryer to caviar spreads and a Japanese chef's knife, here are our cast members' ideas for the perfect Mother's Day gifts.

Bridget Lancaster, America’s Test Kitchen Co-Host

Of course, the best gifts are the ones that a) will make Mom's life easier and b) is something that she will use often. So the very best all-purpose gift that I can think of is a great knife, and it would be hard to beat the Misono. Every time that Mom chops an onion with precision and ease (which is probably a lot) she's going to think of you.

Speaking of chopped onion, a few pieces always seem to make their way to my kitchen floor. I bet Mom would appreciate something to sweep up all of that mess. So how about a robot vacuum like our winner? Skynet just loves helping out in the kitchen.

Does Mom need a moment to herself? Why not have her put her feet up and pour her a glass of wine. Now, you probably won't always be there to open the bottle for her, so this cordless wine opener (which I was skeptical about until I tried it) will do the work for you. Warning: You or Mom might be tempted to open more bottles than you need just to play with this thing. Don't ask me how I know.

Finally, one of the best gifts you can give Mom is something that you make yourself, yet is fit for a queen. How about making dinner for Mom (and doing the dishes)? Or bake her a showstopping recipe like Strawberry Cream Cake or Raspberry Charlotte.

P.S. Just in case my kids are reading this, here's what I really want.

Julia Collin Davison, America's Test Kitchen Co-Host

A pretty bunch of spring flowers and a homemade card are the things I like to give and receive for Mother’s Day. In the past few years, however, small jars of caviar have begun to appear at our house on special occasions (thanks to my husband, Ian) and I think this is a spectacular way to celebrate. Sometimes Ian pulls out all the stops and makes a beautiful caviar spread with capers, hard-cooked egg, minced shallots, and blini on a beautiful slate serving tray. But other times he just opens a jar of Ossetra and hands it to me with the little shell spoon. It’s also worth noting that, while I am a huge fan of champagne, I find a mild lager to be the perfect pairing for good caviar.

Jack Bishop, Tasting Corner Expert and Chief Creative Officer

My mother-in-law is an amazing cook. She's taught me countless recipes that are now part of my repertoire, as well as the joys of cooking for a crowd. She also loves her gadgets, so when I was visiting last month we fell into a conversation about air fryers. She had never heard of them. (Clearly, she has to catch up on her Cook's Illustrated reading!) When she heard these countertop appliances can roast a whole chicken, cook salmon fillets, and fry potatoes. . . well, she was sold. I suggested the GoWise 5.8QT Air Fryer. She likes to entertain and this large model will give her more options. Now, I just have to get her a copy of Air Fryer Perfection and she’ll be all set.

Dan Souza, Onscreen Test Cook and Cook's Illustrated Editor-in-Chief

Just the other day my mom texted me that her coffee grinder had ground its last batch of beans and died. "That's great!" I replied, realizing that the perfect Mother's Day present idea had just fallen into my lap. As you might guess, she wasn't thrilled with my response. But that's okay, she will be when she opens her Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder on Mother's Day. Tastings and Testings editor Lauren Savoie did weeks and weeks of diligent burr grinder testing to arrive at this winning model, which is quiet, durable, and incredibly consistent.

Lisa McManus, Tastings and Testings Executive Editor

I fell in love the instant I picked up the Masamoto VG-10 Gyutou, the winner of our testing of hybrid Japanese/Western-style chef's knives. This blade is wicked sharp (hey, I'm in Boston), light, and agile. It felt like it leapt into my hand, ready to go. It passed all of our tests with flying colors. But I am a horrible cheapskate and didn't buy one for myself for years after we declared it the favorite. When I finally got one, it was love rediscovered. (What was I thinking, waiting all that time?) A word of caution: It's stain-resistant, not stainless, so I wipe it dry between uses. It's also a bit more delicate (the steel is thinner and more brittle) than my workhorse Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, which I still love and use. If I'm going to cut up something difficult, like a big old squash, that's still my trusty go-to. But for mincing and slicing and dicing like a rockstar (in my mind, anyway), my Masamoto is a dream. I think it would make a lovely gift.  

Becky Hays, Onscreen Test Cook and Cook's Illustrated Deputy Editor

Lately I've been cooking a lot of Indian food, which means that rice is a mainstay on our table. Thanks to the Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, I'm able to serve perfectly fluffy basmati without fail—regardless of how hectic things are in the kitchen. I simply spend a minute or two getting the rice going before I prepare the rest of the meal, and then the machine takes over, cooking the grains and keeping them warm until I'm ready for them. This would make a terrific gift for any mom that would find satisfaction in quickly checking a task off of her dinnertime list.

Elle Simone, Onscreen Test Cook and Food Stylist

For Mother’s Day this year, I'm gifting my mom a multicooker, along with our Multicooker Perfection cookbook. My mom loves entertaining friends and cooking, but often, in the midst of being a hostess, she forgets about the food and I turn into her kitchen assistant, rescuing food just in the knick of time! I would love for her to have this gadget so that she can make delicious meals to entertain with—but not have to keep such a close eye on it. She’ll be able to enjoy her guests without having to split her attention.

Lan Lam, Onscreen Test Cook and Cook's Illustrated Senior Editor

I'll be shopping for two moms this year: my mother and my sister. My sister's little one has days where he's really interested in trying new foods, followed by a week of demanding only berries and cheese. She's putting a lot of time and effort into introducing him to a variety of new foods. A multicooker will help her put together a quick meal in the evening or prepare something in the morning and come home to a mostly finished dinner.

My mom and I share a love of tea. I have an electric kettle at my desk so I can make tea without walking to the kitchen to heat water. I think she'll love having a Zojirushi Micom Water Boiler and Warmer in her office. This electric kettle brings water to a boil quickly and holds it at the proper brewing temperature for hours. She'll also love the little songs it plays when the water reaches the correct temperature.

Keith Dresser, Onscreen Test Cook and Cook's Illustrated Executive Food Editor

Since I’m a chef I do most (okay, all) of the cooking in our house. This has allowed my wife to focus on different aspects of dinner preparation—namely the wine! Several years ago, for Mother’s Day, I bought her the Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener with Vacuum Sealer. I had originally thought it would be a gimmicky gift that would only last a month or two, but it hasn’t failed us yet. From dry, brittle corks to tough synthetic ones, this powerful little tool has effortlessly removed every cork we have thrown its way.

Featured Equipment

Bridget's Pick Misono UX10 Santoku 7.0”

Our favorite santoku wowed testers of all abilities, who raved that it felt “agile, sharp, and really good in hand.

 

Bridget's Pick Neato Botvac D80

This D-shaped robot uses a special set of lasers to scan and map the room so it can chart an efficient path through the space.

 

Bridget and Keith's Pick Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener with Vacuum Sealer

This opener had a slow but steady corkscrew that drilled straight into the cork and removed it without wobbling the bottle or making us struggle to keep it or the bottle in place.

 

Jack's Pick GoWISE USA 3.7-Quart 7-in-1 Air Fryer

This air fryer cooked foods quickly and crisply, and its display was bright, large, and easy to read.

 

Lisa's Pick Masamoto VG-10 Gyutou, 8.2”

Feels fantastic when you pick it up: comfortable, light, ready.” “A dream” for cutting up chicken and dicing onions.

 

Becky's Pick Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

This inexpensive model produced perfectly tender-chewy white, brown, and sushi rice.

 

Dan's Pick Baratza Encore

Just select one of the 40 grind settings and turn it on; it mills beans until you turn it off.

 

Lan's Pick Zojirushi Micom Water Boiler & Warmer

This “water boiler” had the highest capacity and held water at a designated temperature for up to 10 hours.

 

Lan and Elle's Pick Zavor LUX LCD 8 QT Multicooker

This model made great food and had a clear LCD interface that was easy to use and always told us exactly what it was doing, whether it was preheating, pressure-cooking, slow-cooking, or keeping warm.

 

What's the best gift you've given or received for Mother's Day? Let us know in the comments!

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