Equipped with little more than a hibachi grill and an improvised chimney (a rusty old bottomless chicken-feed bucket that has been a part of his life for at least as long as I have), my father has expertly rendered some of the most delicious, perfectly cooked steaks of my life. On the other end of the spectrum, he’s also been known to make phone calls to the 800-number on the back of a frozen fish stick box to inquire whether or not said fish sticks could be microwaved rather than baked and how to do so.
Cooking can be uncertain ground with dads, but eating and gadgetry rarely are. So, gifted chef or Chef Boyardee, here’s a spectrum of gadgets and gizmos to satisfy all sorts of chow-loving pops.
'Equal Measure' Measuring Cup
If Dad’s a lover of trivia and does anything that might require the use of a measuring cup, the Equal Measure might be for him. Whether he’s mixing up marinades or cement, he’ll no doubt delight in discovering that one cup is only a smidge less than the volume of “water in a cumulus cloud the size of a bus” and lots of other interesting volumetric facts. $12.99, from ThinkGeek
Hog Wild Motorized Ice Cream Cone
The Hog Wild Motorized Ice Cream Cone augments the childish delight of ice cream indulgence by rotating it as you lick so you don’t have to. I’m not sure what you do once you’ve licked down far enough that you can’t reach the rest of the ice cream with your tongue (the internal bowl looks pretty deep), but I’m sure any father that likes his ice cream could figure it out. (For dads that prefer their ice cream through a straw, the same company offers a collection of single-serving milkshake mixers—automatic or hand-cranked). $9.94, from Hog Wild
Toastabag. Yes, that’s right—it’s a reusable bag that allows you to cook stuff, including omelets and pork chops (not sure about fish sticks), in the toaster. Simplicity and novelty for dads of all stripes. $9.95, from Firebox
Chinese Takeout Container
If the Toastabag outstrips Dad’s culinary inclinations, this fancy metal Chinese take-out container, complete with chopstick holster, might be more his speed, making ordering in a little more special and keeping his food warmer longer in the process. $58.00, from Satinbox
Waring Martini Mixer
I had planned on including Orvis’s Huge Flask in this list, just because it’s so darn cool, but since I’m keeping with gadgets, I bring you the Waring Martini Mixer, a nifty little cocktail shaking/stirring apparatus with a 5-year warranty. Sure, Pops could use a spoon and a mixing glass or a good old-fashioned cocktail shaker for the job, but where’s the fun in that? $49.99, from Kitchen Kaboodle
About the author: Amanda Clarke is a recovering restaurant pastry chef with a background in architecture. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes, tests, and develops recipes and works on freelance food-styling gigs between walkings and feedings of her two dogs and husband.