Confession time: We're nowhere near finished with our shopping for this holiday season. We like to think that we're gearing up to it, but in truth we've just been lazy about it.
If you're in a similar position, here are a few quick and low-cost gift ideas for you.
Order a subscription online, purchase a copy at the news stand to wrap up, and give one to the cook in your life.
- Give Gourmet
- Give Bon Appétit
- Give Everyday Food
- Give Food & Wine
- Give Martha Stewart Living
- Give Cook's Illustrated
- Give Saveur
Our all-time favorite food books are Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl's biographical trilogy, in which she shares her the story of her life with food. Many have read Garlic and Sapphires, about her travails as the New York Times restaurant critic. But more should read the first two books. The three as a set will make a nice gift for the readers on your list.
- Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
- Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table
- Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
If you're looking to give cookbooks, here are a few suggestions:
- Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food -- We received this at Christmas last year -- it's a useful book filled with basic but elegant recipes.
- How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition): 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food -- We have the original edition of this book and it is endlessly useful for both instruction and inspiration. Mark Bittman has created an indispensable cookbook.
Spices: For Zach's birthday, his aunt and uncle gave him a fantastic gift -- a catalog and gift certificate to Penzeys Spices. We ordered some crazy stuff, including Juniper Berries from Albania, Rogan Josh seasoning, Fenugreek Seed, Vindaloo Seasoning, Turkish Seasoning and Hot Curry powder. Cooks will love leafing through their vast assortment of spices and making selections.
A knife: One really great knife can be more useful than a whole set of mediocre ones. Last Christmas, we gave Zach's Granny a paring knife from Cutco, a great company that makes fantastic knives that aren't too pricey.
And speaking of knives, ever heard of a universal knife block? It's a great solution to a problem that we find ourselves facing: Some of the knives we've bought on their own don't fit in the slots of the block we have on our counter. With a universal block, every knife fits, no matter its size.
Okay, here's an item that's neither last-minute nor inexpensive, but we're really hoping to get one this Christmas. It's an electric food composter. The idea of it is great: no-mess composting that doesn't require worms or hand-turning the waste every day.
(Unfortunately, it might be a little too good to be true. We just came across this not-so-stellar review of one in the LA Times. Still, we really want to try it out. We create so much waste in our kitchen, and right now it's all just getting thrown away.)
Anyway, that's it for our list. Happy shopping!