The 2022 gift guide includes iconic design gifts for each room.
The most trusted kitchen tools have been around for ages (literally—just think of the mortar and pestle or the cast iron pan), so when a must-have utensil gets a makeover it’s noticeable. And when the makeover becomes standard, well, that’s when it becomes iconic kitchenware.
For our 2022 gift guide we collected our favorite iconic kitchenware designs that anyone would recognize—and grab to use—in an instant. Plus, if you gift something for the kitchen, just maybe you’ll receive a good meal in return.
1. Le Creuset Dutch Oven
The round Dutch oven from Le Creuset is the epitome of useful beauty. Perfect for stews, fries, braising, and baking, the Dutch oven from Le Creuset has been a kitchen must-have since 1925. Crafted by French artisans, the Le Creuset is to Dutch ovens as Google is to search engines. Its exceptional heat retention and quality design comes in beautiful, easily cleaned porcelain enamel in colors for every personality.
2. KitchenAid Stand Mixer
The first thing on any self-respecting, aspiring home baker’s wish list is a KitchenAid stand mixer. Though the first KitchenAid was patented in 1919, the popular version of the stand mixer seen in kitchens (even Julia Child’s) is a version of the low-cost K model, designed in 1937 by designer and artist Egmont Arens. If your giftee already has one, there are countless accessories and attachments to add to the machine’s usefulness (a favorite in my household is the slicer/shredder, perfect for cheese). And it comes in pretty colors.
3. Bialetti Moka Pot
Know a Starbucks addict? That’s very 2014. Help them wean off and stay closer to home with a timeless Moka Pot. Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka pot in 1933, and while the Art Déco style has remained, the usability and cleanability has improved. The Moka Express from Bialetti is as stylish as coffee is tasty, so it’s a win-win.
4. Duralex Picardie Tumblers
These glasses make you feel like you’re at a French cafe and are nearly impossible to break. The Picardie tumblers from Duralex are functional, stylish, and sit comfortably in the hand. The 1940s design is named after the Picardie province in northern France, known for its French gothic cathedrals.
5. Zeroll Ice Cream Dipper
There’s magic in design that just makes sense—like the metal ice cream scoop from Zeroll. Sherman Kelly saw an ice cream server with blisters on her hands and decided to build a better tool. The Zeroll Ice Cream Dipper is made of cast aluminum with fluid in its core that transfers heat from the user’s hand, defrosting the scoop and making it easier to get a perfect ball of ice cream. The dipper was released in 1934, during the Great Depression, and became a quick hit because the rolled, uncompressed scoops of frozen dessert resulted in 10 to 20% more servings per gallon.
6. Cibi Old Fashioned glass
The perfect gift to take a (movie buff’s) bar cart to the next level are these Cibi Old Fashioned glasses, designed by Cini Boeri, a student of Giò Ponti, in 1973. The handcrafted crystal glass is notable for its X-shaped body, easy to hold and creating beautiful liquid movement. But it is perhaps most famous for appearing in Harrison Ford’s hand in the original Blade Runner movie, making the glasses truly iconic kitchenware.
7. Kit-Cat Klock
If your recipient has a sense of humor, a bad sense of time, or a passion for cats, the Kit-Cat Klock just might be perfect for them. Instantly recognizable and distinctly American, the clock was designed by Earl Arnault in 1932. With its signature wagging tail, roaming eyes, and silly smile, its popularity boomed in the 1950s. The clock is sure to produce grins and chortles alike—consider it for your next white elephant, perhaps.
8. Town and Country “Shmoo” Shakers
In the 1940s, legendary Hungarian-American designer Eva Zeisel designed the Town and Country tableware collection, complete with these playful salt and pepper shakers lovingly known as “Shmoo.” The shakers embrace, inspired by a parent and child’s relationship. The figures are among the more sweet and beautiful kitchen gifts to give and receive.
9. Krenit Bowl
Danish material scientist Herbert Krenchel was obsessed with creating a perfectly thin edge, like a millimeter-thin steel plate. He also really enjoyed eating salad. Thanks to his two fascinations, he designed the Krenit bowl in 1953: a perfectly minimal icon of Scandinavian design, perfect for holding your leafy greens. At its edges, a black matte exterior meets colored enamel on the inside of the bowl, which resumed production in 2016.