Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Taking the kids: And celebrating Dads (and Granddads) cooking prowess – at home and on vacation –18+ gift ideas

Taking the kids: And celebrating Dads (and Granddads) cooking prowess – at home and on vacation –18+ gift ideas

  • Updated

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!)

For that wine lover, Wine Access, which delivers expertly curated wines, has partnered with the Michelin guide to create a wine subscription service put together by sommeliers from Michelin-starred restaurants ($160, including shipping).

“A favorite Father’s Day gift for me is a hand-picked gift basket with three to four craft beers and four to six sweet and savory snacks chosen by my wife and kids,” offered Nick Quentero, who works in the food industry.

And if you have a craft beer fan with a sweet tooth, Hilliards features the Craft Beer Collection ($32.00) combining its popular Craft Beer Brittle and its award-winning Craft Beer Caramels for a salty, sweet and hoppy treat for the beer enthusiast. Infused with Shovel Town Double IPA Beer. They were a hit for the beer drinkers in my family.

Once we left New England for Colorado, we were glad when our kids gifted us lobsters overnighted from Maine. But I was skeptical that fresh oysters would survive overnight shipping until I tried Two Dozen PEI Oysters ($47.99 ) from Northeastern Canada. They tasted like they had just come out of the arctic waters.

For the dad (or grandad, or favorite uncle) pining for Italy, send an Olive & Cocoa Italian Market Snacks, ($98) with a gourmet collection of farmhouse cheese, rustic crackers, salami, basil pesto, bruschetta spread, mixed nuts, and handmade sea salt caramels.

And for the dad who keeps talking about the paella with all that weird seafood he had in Spain 20 years ago, order a Paella Dinner Box by ($99), complete with two pounds of live PEI mussels, two pounds of frozen, cleaned shrimp, two dozen live Littleneck clams and two pounds of fresh squid tubes and tentacles.

For the Francophile, send France’s most popular dry-cured ham Jambon de Bayonne (starting at $9.99 for 3.5 ounces) a welcome addition to any charcuterie board or sandwich, especially when paired with French Maille mustard (a four-pack variety pack is $14.56) and a fresh baguette. A ham can only be certified as a Bayonne Ham if produced in very specific areas from pigs that are raised in southwest France, the production the same for 1,000 years.

Happy eating! And Happy Father’s Day!

(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The Kid’s Guide to Philadelphia, the 13th in the kid’s guide series, was published in 2020, with The Kid’s Guide to Camping coming in 2021.)


Need to get away?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Rear view mirrors are getting a lot of use these days, with both 2020 slipping into them and a staggering three-quarters of us raring to go on our next adventure. However, not everyone is excited to get on an airplane, especially with kids. Families are much more likely to take road trips this summer than flights, so pack extra snacks for that beach weekend as there will be levels of traffic not seen in a long while. You’ll also want to lock down summer plans now, as everything from beaches to national parks and even theme parks are seeing crowds...

Capital One and Chase both just announced that they're entering the airport lounge business. Capital One will start with locations in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Washington/Dulles; Chase at Boston; both probably opening in 2022, and both programs planned for additional big-airport locations. These big card issuers follow American Express, which already operates Centurion and American Express Lounges at 27 big airports worldwide and plans for a handful more.

From January through October of every year, tennis star Sloane Stephens is in a different city competing. Based out of Florida, she visits her mother in Los Angeles as often as she can — and also checks in on the Sloane Stephens Foundation, which utilizes education and tennis to uplift vulnerable children. “I honestly don’t remember where exactly (my first tennis tournament was), but I do remember that I had a lot of fun and met friends that I grew close to and continued to see at tournaments,” Sloane said from Paris, where she was competing in the French Open. “That positive first experience with tennis is why I stuck with it. That is the type of environment we create with the kids at the Sloane Stephens Foundation. We give you all the tools to take tennis as far as you want, but the most important thing is that you are finding a pathway to be healthy, happy and have a positive experience.” Stephens — who serves on the WTA Players’ Council — stays in touch with fans on Instagram (, Twitter ( and Facebook (

Part of a trip to-do list can be purchasing travel insurance. A good travel insurance plan can help pay trip medical expenses, reimburse you for deposits lost if you have to cancel the tip and much more. But you don’t want the insurance purchase to break the bank. The biggest price factors in travel insurance […]

The Mattsons were supposed to be in Alaska. Instead, the Kansas family were exploring the Southwest for the first time, riding horses, rock climbing and, honing their archery skills at White Stallion Ranch outside Tucson, and despite temperatures in the 90s, they couldn’t be happier.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News