10 Couple's Gifts That You Can Both Enjoy This Valentine's Day

iStock.com/pixelfit
iStock.com/pixelfit

This Valentine’s Day, don’t just do the standard flowers and chocolates. Instead, get your sweetheart something that you can enjoy together. From ravioli-making kits to date-night games, here are 10 couple's gifts that you will both love.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Urban Cheesecraft Deluxe Cheese Kit

Urban Cheesecraft's cheese-making kit will fix up to 30 batches of five different kinds of cheese—mozzarella, ricotta, paneer, queso blanco, and chevre—all with easy-to-follow instructions that take just an hour. You just need is milk (either fresh or store-bought) and a little effort, and you and yours can be eating fresh, homemade cheese together in no time.

Get it at The Grommet for $55.

2. Repast Ravioli Making Gift Box

For an at-home date that rivals your favorite Italian joint, try out Repast Supply Co.'s easy ravioli-making kit. Repast provides all the necessary tools to get you started, including a special ravioli rolling pin, a ravioli cutter, olive oil, and semolina flour. Pasta night has never been so romantic.

Get it at The Grommet for $135.

3. Olympia Provisions Salami of the Month Club

Get the gift that keeps on giving: a cured meat subscription. The Olympia Provisions Salami of the Month Club sends out a new variety of sausage each month along with information about where each link is from and what it’s best paired with, so you can put together a perfectly curated appetizer plate for you and your significant other to enjoy. (If meat doesn’t fit your fancy, we also recommend the Pickle of the Month Club.)

Get it at Food52 for $160 for 12 months.

4. Marital Bliss Couple’s Card Game

Despite the name, the Marital Bliss card game is for couples of all kinds. The game is designed to inspire a full week of romantic gestures between two partners, sending both players on "secret missions" to carry groceries, cook dinner, and otherwise pamper each other while earning points. The person who has the most points at the end of the game can choose between a variety of rewards from their partner—like breakfast in bed or a romantic ice cream outing—but really, everybody wins.

Get it at UncommonGoods for $15.

5. Long Distance Friendship Lamp

If you’re far from your partner this Valentine’s Day, try out these lamps designed for long-distance pairs. Each of the two WiFi lamps alternates through an array of different colors when the other is touched, so you can wordlessly let your loved one know that you’re thinking of them, no matter how many miles separate the two of you.

Get them at UncommonGoods for $85 each.

6. Framed New York Times Crossword Puzzle

Show your partner how much a particular date in your relationship means with a framed copy of that day’s crossword puzzle from The New York Times. Signed by legendary crossword writer Will Shortz, the print comes with an extra copy of the puzzle so that you can solve it together without marking up your keepsake.

Get it at The New York Times Store for $150.

7. Omaha Steaks Valentine’s Day Dinner and Diamonds

Skip the steakhouse and cook up a romantic dinner for two at home with a Valentine's special from Omaha Steaks that includes everything you need to turn your kitchen into a fancy restaurant at a fraction of the price. This decadent surf ‘n’ turf dinner is specifically designed with date night in mind, and comes with a pair of free lab-made-diamond accent earrings—as if filet mignon and two chocolate lava cakes weren't romantic enough. (Even you already have plans for February 14, steak dinners are timeless—check out Omaha Steaks's other options for non-holiday feasts here.)

Get it at Omaha Steaks for $70 ($35 a person).

8. King Arthur Flour Bread Intensive

A baker rolls bread dough
iStock.com/ZoranZeremski

Homemade sourdough bread is all over Instagram these days, but whipping up a loaf yourself isn’t easy. If you or your loved one has recently gotten into baking bread, there’s no place to sharpen your skills quite like King Arthur Flour’s baking school. The trek to King Arthur’s locations in Vermont and Washington state might be a splurge, but for many amateur bakers, it’s worth it for the expert tutelage. Intensive workshops on bready topics like sourdough, whole grain, and pastry typically run between three and five days and cost between $375 and $700, depending on length and skill level. Sure, it sounds pricey, but think of the money you’ll save on store-bought bread once you’re both expert bakers.

Sign up at King Arthur Flour.

9. Wine & Design Paint-and-Sip Art Classes

A painter dips a brush into a palette that sits next to a glass of red wine
iStock.com/MarijaRadovic

Just because cooking isn't your thing doesn't mean you and your partner can't enjoy making something together. Show off your creative side at a boozy art class, where amateurs can learn how to paint in a low-key environment, usually with a little wine to loosen up your paintbrush. It's perfect for those who like a little Pinot with their Picasso, but even if you don't imbibe, it's a great way to get the creative juices flowing while meeting new people and learning from local artists.

There are plenty of local studios that specialize in these “paint and sip” classes, but one of the biggest chains is Wine & Design, which offers classes at 82 locations throughout the country.

Check out Wine & Design for locations, dates, and pricing. Prices vary by location.

10. Wine Down Box

If your main squeeze is a wine snob or a cheese lover, a Wine Down Box subscription is the perfect treat. Each month, the company sends out a curated gift box that contains a bottle of limited-production California wine, a cheese, a charcuterie pick, and crackers, with a sheet that explains ideal pairings for those specific items. It’s hard to skip out on date night when it’s delivered straight to your door every four weeks.

Get it from Wine Down Box for $70 per month for one month or $63 per month for 12 months. Shipping is included.

ThinkGeek Is Merging With GameStop, and Everything is 50 Percent Off Right Now

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek, that beloved destination for nerdy goods like Star Trek bathing suits, Game of Thrones doormats, and astronomy-themed jewelry, is moving. While the site isn't going out of business, it is merging operations with its parent company, GameStop, and shutting down its website in the process. "After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop," the site explains. And that's good news for you, if you're looking for a bargain. 

ThinkGeek is clearing out inventory by offering 50 percent off everything on its website. That includes 20-side-die-themed waffle makers, constellation lamps, unicorn wall sconces, and more. There are whimsical goods and apparel designed for fans of everything from Doctor Who to The Avengers to Star Wars to J.R.R. Tolkien to Harry Potter to Firefly to Pokemon. Love Funko POP! figurines? ThinkGeek has you covered. What about Super Mario Bros.? Heck yeah. This would be a great time to search for a Halloween costume.

Here are a few things that we would buy if we were you, but there are more cool designs available than we could ever highlight here. 


This 34-ounce TARDIS French press coffee maker is just $20.


ThinkGeek has a bunch of pop-culture themed wallets, but this Star Trek one is extra cool. And it is now just $10. (The NASA one is also great.)


This constellation backpack is out of this world. It's just $24 with the discount.


For $7.50, it's hard to resist this Mario-themed soap dispenser. Add a Mario-themed toothbrush holder to really make getting ready in the morning fun. If you're all about that bar soap, there's also a soap dish.


Wrap yourself in happiness with this Bob Ross-themed blanket that is just $17.50.


If you want to wear your fandom, this Harry Potter Deathly Hallows necklace set is an attractive choice. They're just $7.50 for two.


This handsome Mars watch doesn't have typical hour and minute hands. The moon Phobos orbits the Red Planet as the minute hand, the moon Deimos is the hour hand, and a miniature Mars rover takes the place of the second hand. It's a steal at just $20. 


When it's filled with hot liquid, this Game Boy mug changes from a blank screen to an image of Mario rescuing Daisy. It's only $7.50.


Several '90s cartoon-themed lunch boxes with puzzles are on sale, including ones celebrating Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. The puzzles that come inside the tin lunch boxes are 500 pieces. At less than $5 each, you should go ahead and buy all three.

Shop the sale here using the code MOVINGDAY until July 2. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sale, all purchases are final, and you'll have to pay for shipping.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

10 Surprisingly Cheap Items Everyone Should Have in Their Kitchen

iStock.com/4kodiak
iStock.com/4kodiak

When shopping for certain kitchen gadgets, sometimes paying a little extra is worth it. But there are plenty of supplies that can greatly improve your cooking skills without hurting your wallet. Some of the most essential tools to have in your kitchen are available from quality brands in the $10 to $30 range. If you want to take your food to the next level on a budget, these are the products you should own.

1. Wooden Spoon; $15 for Three

Three wooden spoons
OXO, Amazon

There are many fancy kitchen utensils available to home cooks today, but the best type of spoon for cooking is one that’s been around for centuries. Wooden spoons have several advantages over spoons made from metal or plastic: They don’t conduct heat well, they won’t scratch the bottom of your expensive pan, and they won’t leach chemicals into your food. They’re also just as durable as they are versatile. Wood is naturally antibacterial, and if you care for your spoon properly, it will last you through countless meals. OXO sells a set of three different wooden spoons for under $15. (We also like OXO's single corner spoon, which is sold out on Amazon right now—but you can still get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Silicone Mat; $25

Silpat with macarons.
Silpat, Amazon

Neater than cooking spray and less wasteful than foil or parchment paper, silicone mats are essential for home cooks and bakers. These reusable mats turn any surface into a nonstick surface. When a baking sheet is lined with a silicone mat, temperamental items like cookies slide off in one piece. The mats are also easy to wipe down and can survive thousands of baking sessions. They can also make cleanup easier when roasting savory items like vegetables and chicken wings.

But it from Amazon

3. Kitchen Shears; $20

Kitchen shears.
Apogee Culinary Designs, Amazon

Quality knives are vital in the kitchen, but no collection of cutting tools is complete without a good pair of scissors. A home cook needs kitchen shears for butchering jobs, like spatchcocking a chicken. Kitchen shears are also useful for trimming pie crusts, snipping herbs, and even cracking open lobster claws. And unlike decent chef’s knives, a great pair of shears can cost as little as $20.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Digital Scale; $18

Digital kitchen scale.
Etekcity, Amazon

If you’re serious about baking, invest in a kitchen scale. Baking is all about precision, and it’s hard to be precise when working with measuring cups and spoons. A digital scale, however, can measure your flour and sugar down to a fraction of an ounce. It’s also great for making recipes written in metric units. (Say, if you're cooking from Great British Bake Off recipes.)

Buy it: Amazon

5. Mortar and Pestle; $25

Mortar and pestle.
Fox Run, Amazon

A bulky mortar and pestle may seem antiquated in today’s modern kitchen, but it’s necessary if you want to take your cooking to the next level. Some spices—like fennel seeds, cardamom, and peppercorns—taste much better freshly ground than they do out of the jar. Using a mortar and pestle is also the key to making professional-tasting sauces and condiments, such as aioli, pesto, curry paste, hummus, and guacamole.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Box Grater; $12

Box grater.
Cuisinart, Amazon

Think of a box grater as more than a basic cheese grater. Each of the four sides serves a special purpose, from slicing to zesting. You can use it to shred potatoes for latkes, grate nutmeg for desserts, or slice zucchini for ratatouille. Of course, the cheese-grating capabilities alone are worth it if you like to make mac and cheese at home.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant-Read Thermometer; $27

Instant-read thermometer.
Lavatools, Amazon

There are many tricks you can use to gauge if your meat is cooked properly, but none are as foolproof as an instant-read thermometer. The tool makes cooking steak, chicken, and roasts much simpler and less stressful. It’s also essential for deep frying food or making candy like caramel at home. Sometimes an extra minute of heat is all it takes to push an ingredient from perfect to inedible, so the time it saves you compared to analog thermometers is definitely worth the price.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Citrus Juicer; $15

Citrus hand juicer.
Zulay Kitchen, Amazon

Fresh citrus juice is superior to the packaged stuff, but squeezing halved fruits by hand can get messy. With a manual press juicer, you can add bright, acidic notes of lemon and lime to your meals without stinging your fingers. This tool also catches the seeds for you, making squeezing citrus juice over your food almost as easy as squeezing it from a bottle. Even if you don't use it often while cooking, it's an essential component of any good bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Locking Tongs; $13

Pair of locking tongs.
OXO, Amazon

Bare hands are underrated tools in the kitchen, but some jobs just can’t be done without tongs. If you’re flipping hot meat on the grill, tossing wings in buffalo sauce, or serving pasta, you’ll need a decent pair of locking tongs to keep your hands clean and unburnt. Fortunately, durable, stainless steel tongs with smooth, pinch-free locks are easy to find for less than $15.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Cast Iron Skillet; $15

A cast iron skillet
Lodge, Amazon

Cast iron skillets seem like they should be expensive. They’re heavy, long-lasting, and they make food taste amazing. Steaks, potatoes, and hamburgers all benefit from the material’s unique heat-conducting properties. But you don’t need to blow your paycheck to own this tool chefs swear by: Some of the best cast irons available cost less than $25. As long as you care for it properly, buying a cast iron skillet is one of the cheapest ways to improve your cooking.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER