The holidays are officially upon us. There are exactly four weeks left to go out and obtain, acquire and consume in the name of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Every year I struggle to find the right gifts for my husband, parents, sisters, nephew, godson and step-children (a few years ago my friends and I established a tradition of skipping the gift exchange and all meeting for an indulgent dinner – the best Christmas present ever). While this process is painless and fun for birthdays, I absolutely dread doing it for Christmas. I become overwhelmed by having to focus on everyone instead of just one person. Finding the perfect gift seems too lofty a goal and I often struggle just to find something that will show I actually put some thought into it. If only they were chefs or foodies, it would be so easy.
If you have a chef or foodie in your life, here are a few gift ideas:
For the philanthropic foodie: Peace honey and Green Mountain Coffee’s Heifer Hope Blend. The purchase of either one of these culinary delights benefits Heifer International, a charity working to end world hunger, one chick, pig, or heifer at a time.
For the Restaurant Devotee: A night out at a new restaurant or one the giftee’s been dying to try (either with you or via gift certificate).
Food Network Addict: A cookbook or DVD collection from the addict’s favorite chef or some of their products. Spice rubs always make great gifts as does the Julia Child – The French ChefDVD set.
Exploratory Foodie: Live in a different part of the country than your foodie friend? Send them something that represents the cuisine of your region. For Washington I can choose from smoked salmon to cherries to apples to Tom Douglas spice rubs.
For the aspiring young baker: A pint-sized chef’s toque, baking sheet, and festive cookie cutters.
For a new cook: A festive oven mitt (always available for a steal on Black Friday) filled with cooking utensils. For a more experienced cook, fill the mitt with more esoteric items like . . . the Devil.
For the serious home chef who loves gadgets: A sous vide. Check out Salty Seattle for advice on how to pick one and recipes to try out once you’ve got one. Her delectable dishes almost have me salivating for a sous vide of my own. I’m just not sure where I would put it – maybe I could move the meat slicer to the basement?
For Everyone: Books
There are innumerable new cookbooks and books about food out just in time for Christmas. Costco has two coffee table worthy editions that I have my eye on: Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc and Bouchon.
My go to fav for foodies, however, is Jeffrey Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything His article on attempting to eat at subsistence level will have you laughing out loud and inspire you to give more to your local food bank.
Of course, if you have the time and the motivation, homemade jams, cookies, candies and breads are always beloved by the recipient. Tack on the recipe and watch the smile break out over your foodie’s face.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll be cooking, photographing and researching Black Friday deals for a Black Friday kitchen upgrade post . . .