Looking for a gift for a foodie? A cook? Or simply someone who eats? I’ve got a few suggestions — ranging from the mundane to fabulous to the downright absurd (and no, I’m not getting paid one red cent for them, so you can click away knowing that no matter how many times you click, the Cleaner Plate Club will remain the Po’est Blog in Town).
Williams Sonoma abounds with gift opportunities, of course. Anyone looking for a gift for me, for example, might want to consider the charming powder-blue CornuFe convection oven by La Cornue (their most accessible model, at a mere $9,300, including white-glove delivery). They’ve got smaller-ticket items, of course. I recommend steering clear of specialty items, like their Hot Chocolate pot ($29.95), or bagel slicer ($25). In my house, at least, these would wind up in the back of a cabinet, never used, adding only to our general clutter, like the sandwich press I bought three sumers ago at a local tag sale ($3, North Hoosac Road, but they sold out with me). Fortunately, Williams Sonoma offers some good basics, like a decent set of glass mixing bowls ($34 for a set of ten), or a good cast-iron/enamel frying pan ($100).
What’s that you say? You prefer something a little less corporate? Local Harvest offers lots of good options for gifts, including such delicacies as the mysterious-sounding Kumquat Puree from La Vigne ($12.50), a yearly subscription of organic Kona Coffee ($204 for 8 oz), and gourmet raw honey with vanilla bean ($14.50). Whether or not mail-ordering these supplies actually is more environmentally friendly is questionable, but it does channel your money to smaller farmers, and it helps support rural economies.
The frilly cook and her equally frilly child can get the cutest little matching retro aprons from Bella Pamella in ruby polka dots ($40 for adult, $28 for the child). If you’re feeling really retro, you might even want to consider adding a matching Lucy hair shrug to keep hair out of one’s face ($10, and you really will look like Lucille Ball).
For the kids in your life, there’s always the Kids Cooking Club, which delivers a cooking project to their door each month ($56 for three months). It’s a nice idea, but it seems like most of their cooking projects are made from mixes. Instead, I might just get a bunch of inexpensive creative copper cookie cutters from H.O. Foose Tinsmithing (looking for a dragon and castle? A pirate? A monster truck? An Amish man? A pistol? A coffin? They’re all there, oh yes they are, $1.50 for most), then make up some sugar cookies from scratch.
Should those cookies burn, you will suddenly be reminded of every recommendation you ever heard from every firefighter you’ve ever met: that you should keep a fire extinguisher under the counter. You ignored those recommendations, of course; most of us do. Let this be the year you change that, with a sodium bicarbonate extinguisher, in stylish white ($16.95). Or, you could hope to be saved by a different kind of force altogether; the talking Jesus doll might not squelch your fire, but it will remind you that every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, which at least will provide some food for thought as the flames dance.
If you’ve got lots of both cash and time to spare, you can plunk down a $199 deposit on a Boneless Jamon Iberico Belotta Ham, available in America for the first time (final price: approximately $1,400, with delivery in July). You also might consider a course at the Culinary Institute of America, like their upcoming Healthy Cooking Boot Camp ($1,625 for an intensive four day program).
Can’t afford that cooking school? Then try Alice Waters’ latest cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, which Barbara at Tigers and Strawberries says is an “altogether lovely cookbook, worthy of a place in every budding locavore’s and newbie cook’s kitchen shelf where it can easily be referred to again and again.” ($20.99 on Amazon, unless you, like Barbara, are lucky enough to sent a copy from the publisher. For the record, I was not).
By far, though, my favorite gifts — I mean my OH-SO-FAVORITE ones — are those found on Etsy.com. For example, a sushi lover can pick up a handmade glazed ceramic sushi dinner set for two ($46), a sushi-themed wallet made completely from duct tape ($20), or a hand-sewn felt sushi play set for the wee one in her life ($12.97).
More into pasta? Consider a notebook crafted from a San Giorgio box ($2.20), a hand-thrown blue mod pasta bowl ($100), a set of quattro colori fleece tortellini magnets ($15), a surprisingly realistic macaroni and cheese necklace ($14.50), or this rather strange tile that tells a story involving a psychic reader and wet purple pasta ($70).
For the meat lover in your life — or simply an herbivore who loves the look of meat — Etsy’s got a fabric hambone from Sweet Meats ($33). Why? I have no idea, but it’s fantastic. The woman behind this project also makes other things, like nifty meat-themed jewelry, and a custom felt model of your intestines. Know someone who’s really bringing in the bacon? Consider adding to their bounty with hand-dipped bacon-scented incense, ($2.60 for a 15-pack). For a masculine meat-fancier, you might want to consider this necktie, silkscreened with an image of a pork meatgrinder ($30, available in fashion-forward white or pink). If your loved one is more a fan of “meat,” how about a nice Spam electric outlet cover ($8)?
And you’ll get excited about grocery errands with an earth-friendly canvas market tote from Modern Charm, complete with Amy Butler fabric trim ($12). Whatever you do, you’ll want to carry your grocery money in this felt coin purse that looks like a casette tape, from Lindsey Porter ($17).
More important than that money, though, or any of these gifts that you could purchase, is the only thing sure to make your loved one happy: a little more time to spend with you (priceless).
But that’s their New Year’s Resolution to make, isn’t it? In the meantime, you might just want to pick up Herbivore’s “Eat Like You Give a Damn” T-shirt — a great gift for anyone (herbivore or otherwise) who is trying to eat with a little more conscience ($21, and you’ll need to scroll down the page to see it). Not a bad stocking stuffer….and, in my opinion, a great theme for a new year.
Back to my own shopping, folks. Hope yours is going well.