Kitchen Shrink

Kitchen Shrink: The perfect gift for the mom with (almost) everything

Fruit Smoothie

Fruit Smoothie

(Catharine Kaufman)


With Mother’s Day around the corner, there’s still time to buy your special lady something thoughtful, practical and entertaining in the kitchen, whether she’s a butcher, a baker or a cheese and yogurt maker.

1. For crafty, do-it-yourselfers, there’s an array of creative kits. Yogurt and kefir lovers can whip up batches of these probiotic digestive warriors at home from thick and creamy Balkan- and Greek-style to low-fat and lactose-free versions. If her gut is cow intolerant, she can use milk from water buffalo, goat, sheep or non-dairy options like coconut, almond and hemp. Add seasonal fruits and flavorings of choice, and rejoice!

Cheese buffs can handcraft such fresh artisan favorites as mozzarella, ricotta, cheddar, goat and feta, while judiciously controlling fat and salt content along with purity of ingredients. Kits include cheese-making staples like cultures and mold powders, herbs, coloring and rennet (enzymes typically from the stomach of ruminants or vegetarian-based from plants or bacteria).


Wine aficionados can ferment grapes into their favorite organic wines. Do-it-yourself kits produce a dozen bottles in one month. Pair it with an electric wine bottle opener. Cheers!

Beekeeping at home is all the buzz, especially with the shrinking bee population caused by the alarming colony collapse disorder. Moms can raise bees, help save the planet and reap the fruits of their labor, including the harvesting of pure, organic honey.

2. Green thumb moms will appreciate attractive planter boxes filled with an assortment of organic germinating seedlings like heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers that all thrive in SoCal climes. Or a potted Mediterranean herb garden flourishing with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, along with basil, oregano, tarragon and fennel perfuming her kitchen windowsill or outdoor patio. Add a bag of organic potting soil, compost or coffee grounds, a gardening fork and a pair of herb scissors designed for both righties and southpaws to gently snip herbs. While mycophile moms can produce a crop of assorted ‘shrooms like oysters, shiitakes and criminis that sprout a fresh batch every two months from a hardwood log that sits countertop.

3. If she likes local, seasonal and organic produce but doesn’t have the penchant for gardening, then a subscription to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) would be the next best thing where these goodies are delivered weekly to her doorstep.


4. For movers and shakers, give some mighty kitchen power tools to ratchet-up her game like the Herculean Vitamix blender (known to pulverize a whole watermelon — rind and all — in seconds), food processors with a selection of designer blades, an immersion blender to whip up smoothies (recipe provided), marinades and sauces, or a pair of kitschy salt and pepper grinders, whether battery-powered or operated by elbow grease.

5. Short-cut moms too busy to cook elaborate and time-consuming meals, will appreciate home-delivered meal kits or one-pot wonder devices like ceramic Moroccan tagines, heavy-duty sheet pans and high-tech crockpots.

6. Every mom who loves to bake and create masterpieces from scratch should own a KitchenAid artisan stand mixer with a wide assortment of attachments. Concoct silky batters, creamy frostings, perfect dough balls. Grind beef, chicken and fish; spiralize, peel, core, slice; craft flawless pastas; sift and weigh; slice, dice, shred, or grind nuts, grains and seeds into a fine meal.

7. Use your bean for moms who love jo’ Appropriate gifts include anything from a glitzy espresso machine, cold brew pitcher and Keurig single-serve to an electric latte foam maker, mug warmer and sampler box of beans. For the teetotaler, how about a stainless steel French press, electric tea kettle or Japanese matcha green tea set to soothe the soul with this ceremonial drink.

8. For gadget lovers give microplanes of all manners to zest and grate citrus, cheeses, chocolate, garlic and hard spices like nutmeg and ginger; a bamboo chopping board with color-coded mats to prevent transfer of odors; the novelty toaster that can actually emblazon a person’s facial image on a piece of bread or anything personalized.

9. And for moms who hate to cook — a gift certificate to their favorite eatery!


Recipe: Mama Mia Mango Smoothie

Ingredients: 1 frozen banana; 1/2 cup frozen sliced mango; 3 frozen strawberries, leaves intact; 1/2 cup Greek or kefir yoghurt, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 teaspoon organic honey, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder or 1/4-inch fresh grated ginger


Method: Place ingredients in blender or cup of immersion blender. Process until smooth and creamy.

Catharine Kaufman can be reached by e-mail: and see more recipes at

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