Food-Loving Gifts

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?

Setting up for a round of Foodie Fight. (Kim O'Donnel)

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.
Price: $18.95

Breakfast eye candy from Loulie's. (Courtesy Suzanne Simon)

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.
Price: $35

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.
Price: $20

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 Gifts , Holiday Treats , Winter Holidays
Previous: A Turkey of a Thanksgiving | Next: Chat Leftovers: Runny Fruit Pie, Inauguration Treats


Please email us to report offensive comments.

A shotgun or rifle and some time with a professional guide so your SO, boss or friend can go out an put Bambi, Donald Duck or fresh goose on the table.

A nice custom engraved Benelli 12 gauge is on my Christmas list long with a street sweeper for the ultimate in home protection.

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | December 2, 2008 12:04 PM

Homemade mulling spices make a nice host/hostess gift. Even if they don't use it in a cider, they can set it out on the counter and enjoy the wonderful aroma it produces!

Posted by: Merdi | December 2, 2008 12:35 PM

Spiced nuts? Wasn't there a recipe in the blog recipe index? I'm planning on nuts and cookies for some gift-giving this year. Love the paper cup, too.

Posted by: CentreOfNowhere1 | December 2, 2008 12:37 PM

I second the idea of giving coffee. My mother loves good quality coffee beans but will never buy them for herself. I plan on buying her some good fair trade beans for her Christmas gift. While it is practical, it is still a nice treat.

A great gift idea for the elderly are gifts baskets with nice hot chocolate packets, apple cider, teas, and soup mixes. My aunt gave this as a gift to my grandmother one year and she loved it because she didn't have to get out in bad weather to go to the grocery store.

Posted by: Merdi | December 2, 2008 12:43 PM

I'm giving all my staff gift cards and catalogs from Stonewall Kitchen for them to select their own delicious jams, mustards, sauces, mixes and great items for cookware and entertaining. This York Maine company is a local favorite and their products are top notch. And I love giving edible presents since everyone seems to have a glut of "stuff" these days and not enough storage space.

Posted by: bosoxgal | December 2, 2008 3:08 PM

No affiliation, but I love gifts from The Spice House.

I live in Chicago, so I get to visit in person, and it is a really awesome shop. I can't leave without spending WAY too much money!

Posted by: sillyberry | December 2, 2008 7:53 PM

Consider assembling a cookbook set. Last year for my birthday, a friend got me an Indian cookbook and a bunch of spices unique to Indian cooking (fenugreek, garam masala, turmeric, etc). This cook work with just about any ethnic or specialty type of cooking.

Posted by: jwiley | December 3, 2008 1:01 PM

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