... a cast iron skillet;
... a French coffee press;
... black turtle beans;
... and a sapling apple tree.
For many years I've been hearing and reading the horror stories about what the teflon coating on our cookware does to our bodies. It's not pretty. Of course Dupont and the other companies that manufacture these, admittedly, amazing technologies will beg to differ with regard to the negative research findings about their products, but being the sort of person I am, I like to err on the side of caution.
My mother is still using the same set of *not coated* stainless steel cookware she bought when I was a kid. I even remember when she bought it. Some guy came to our house with a bunch of pans and other really cool gourmet cooking equipment (like this awesome manual food slicer/dicer/mincer thingy). Then, he cooked us dinner, to demonstrate all of the neat things his cookware would do, and my mother spent a couple hundred dollars (a LOT of money back in the day) buying this cookware. I'm pretty sure my dad didn't like how much she spent, but I hope he appreciates the fact that, many years later, they still have the same cookware.
I covet her cookware, and I've been looking at replacing all of mine - one piece at a time, because I can only afford one piece of really good, high-quality, long-lasting, not-mass-produced-in-China cookware at a time.
But to start, I have my favorite piece of cookware - a cast-iron skillet, which was a gift from my children.
Like stainless steel, cast-iron is pretty durable. Further, once it's seasoned, the non-stick surface is far superior to anything Dupont could come up with. In addition, cooking with cast-iron might actually be good for one's health. And, the best part, I can use metal utensils in my cast-iron pan ... which are also more durable than their plastic counterparts.
As I said, my cast-iron skillet was a gift, and since then, I've added a dutch oven and two more, smaller skillets. Next, I'd like to add a stockpot, and if I had my druthers, I'd have a sauce pan, too.
There's one more thing that makes cast-iron far superior to the chemically coated cookware (especially for the prepper-minded), cast-iron can be used for cooking on a rocket stove or over an open fire. Try that with teflon and be prepared to eat plastic.
For the not-prepper-minded cook, receiving a gift of cast-iron won't even raise an eyebrow, and any cook worth his/her salt will see the value in such an extravagant gift.
And, maybe, that person will be compelled to be very generous ... and cook dinner ;).