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Taking the Kids: Celebrating Dads (and Granddads) cooking prowess – at home and on vacation –18+ gift ideas

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Is the dad in your life suddenly waxing eloquent about camping trip meals? Has grandpa become an oenophile during the pandemic?

Maybe they’re missing their favorite vacation meals — or one they’ve always remembers — the fresh Canadian oysters, Southern barbecue, that picnic in Italy.

There’s no better time than Father’s Day to indulge their passion, whether for cooking, drinking (responsibly, of course) or simply enjoying food they haven’t been able to have in a long time. And, hopefully, as many more of us become vaccinated, you can share the experience, perhaps even on a vacation together.

For the camping dad, “Yeti coolers are the best in the world. Plus, the new king crab orange color is awesome! What dad wouldn’t want to fill one of these with his favorite cold beverage?” suggests Devan Cameron, chef and owner of, a food-focused website. Check out the popular Yeti Roadie that is now lighter weight, holds 20 percent more, 30 percent better thermally and slim enough to fit behind a passenger seat ($199 and you can add a dry goods basket and a seat cushion).

Knives are a great gift for any dad who loves cooking, whether at a campground, vacation rental or at home. The new ADVENTURE CHEF collection from Messermeister is a set of six chef-grade knives that fold and include a folding cutting board ($249, or just buy the Folding Chef’s knife for $79.95). Alternatively, gift dad a CUSTOM chef’s knife that has been personalized with colors, materials and an engraved blade ($89.95).

Darrian Wilkins, founder of, which reviews cookware and appliances, is a fan of the ($49.99) Herb & Grill 7 Piece BBQ Cooking Gift Set with wood chips and smoker box, BBQ rub, recipe guide and more. When vacationing at a friend’s house, Wilkins said, “We set up a boot camp in their backyard. I grilled pork and the flavor of it was so incredible.”


Bringing herb or spice mixes on a camping trip or to a vacation rental certainly can help elevate dishes, like the Global Flavors Spice Bundle (4 Pack, Gift wrapping available) $35 from the online Pinch Spice Market or one of The Spice Lab’s BBQ Seasoning Collections ($24.95). Gift the spice lover a farm-to-jar domestically sourced Basque Piment D’Espelettes chile powder collection made from peppers grown on the Booneville Farm in California ($36.99). It’s great for popcorn, veggies, meat and even chocolate sauce.

For the dad who searches out unique condiments, send him the Sauce Like A Boss ($31.99) from Good Food For Good, which includes organic barbecue sauce, ketchup, taco sauce and butter chicken sauce. Their Buy One, Feed One program has donated more than half a million meals to food banks.

And if he likes a little history to go with his barbecue, the prize-winning recipes for Old Arthur’s barbecue sauces and rubs have been passed down through five generations of the Watts family: Arthur Watts (dubbed “Old Arthur” because he lived to 108) was born a slave in Missouri where from childhood he prepared meals for his owner’s family over an open pit. The sauces and seasonings he crafted then enabled him to become a sought-after pit master after he became free. Opt for the essential grilling gift pack with rubs and sauce ($31.29) or the Pit Master’s larger gift pack ($54.29).

The eco-conscious cooking dad would like a gift set ($24.99) from Wildwood, featuring aromatic grilling planks made in a variety of wood too short to be used in construction and new rubs (try hippie gold spice and American jerk) that are just as good on vegetarian dishes. New Orleans-based GoodWood has recently launched a sustainable home accessories line that includes handmade tortilla presses ($100) and rolling pins ($35) all made from repurposed materials. You can custom stamp them with a monogram or message, maybe “Love you, Dad!)


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