With Thanksgiving leftovers still lingering in the fridge, the holiday gifting season is officially underway. And if you think I’m pulling your turkey leg, have a sip of this wake-up juice: Hanukah is less than three weeks away and Christmas is three weeks from Thursday. Hey, how did it get to be December, anyway?
With the economy in the garbage pail, it’s a tough year to feel merry and jolly and to dole out the dough for high-ticket items as in years past. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share gift ideas as they hit my desk, particularly if they’re fun to eat or play with (and even better if they’re easy on the wallet). If you come across something tasty, groovy and thrifty that would jingle-bell rock someone’s world this holiday season, please share your finds in the comments area.
Heirloom bean king Steve Sando has put together a gift box for cooks who can’t get enough of dried beans. Included are five one-pound bags of Rancho Gordo beans, a copy of Sando’s new cookbook, aptly called “Heirloom Beans” and a sporty-looking tote bag. Sando and his magic beans were featured in this space in 2007.
Price: $51.99, plus shipping
Trivial Pursuit for foodies is the best way to describe the board game Foodie Fight. If you heard about it last year but couldn’t get your hands on a copy, join the club. It seems that Chronicle Books, the game’s publisher, underestimated just how popular this game would become. At long last, a trivia game I can actually play! Even though I kicked Mister MA’s butt in a recent round, the 168-card pack covers a wide range of food topics that go beyond cooking school geekdom, including pop culture, table etiquette and famous chefs.
The gals at Loulies, a DC-based online cooking club, is serving up a variety of gift ideas in their “holiday market” section, depending on how much you want to spend. Their big-ticket item is a Smokin’ Holiday Box, a deluxe smorgasbord of goodies, all with a smoked theme. Think smoked paprika, chipotle caramels, pickled smoked okra – and all goods are handpicked from artisan producers from around the country. Price: $125.
At the lower end of the wallet spectrum is their Breakfast Holiday Box, a sweet combo pack of goodies, including ginger scone mix from Teaism, plum jam from foodie-cult fave We Love Jam and Fair Trade coffee roasted by Bluebird Artisanal Roasters in Baltimore.
Santa believers, when was the last time you had an Advent calendar hanging in your kitchen? Me too, it’s been ages. Check out the version (available in both milk and dark chocolate) produced by Divine Chocolate, a Fair Trade chocolate company partially owned by Kuapa Kokoo, a cocoa farmer cooperative in Ghana. I first learned about Divine last year when I interviewed two of Kuapa Kokoo’s farmers in this space .
Price: $5.99, at Whole Foods Market stores; also available online
Here’s another fun item that I saw for a hot second last holiday season only to vaporize when I was ready to place my order: the “I am not a paper cup” cup, made from thermal porcelain, with a silicone sippy top. Made from the wacky design team at Décor Craft Inc (I have their dead man trivet), this porcelain beauty is the most stylish eco coffee sipper I’ve seen -- maybe ever.
Talk gifts, post-Thanksgiving reports or anything else on your mind today at 1 ET for What's Cooking.
Mark Your Calendars: Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly and I will be on hand this Thursday, Dec. 4, 6 - 8 p.m., for an official meet-and-greet at D.C.'s M Bar at the Renaissance M St Hotel. Come on out. We can't wait to meet you.
By Kim ODonnel |
December 2, 2008; 8:30 AM ET
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