gift ideas

Gift Guide 2018

Don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest you give away anything you bought at this year’s Bellevue Farmers Market and have been hoarding to tide you over until May 2019. My cans of St. Jude tuna and my jars of market-made jam aren’t going anywhere but in my family’s bellies. But Christmas is still coming and there are other gifts to be given.

Here. It’s not tuna, but I promise it’s still good. [Photo by  Kira auf der Heide  on  Unsplash   ]

Here. It’s not tuna, but I promise it’s still good. [Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash ]

For Someone Who Cooks:

A copy of a favorite cookbook. The one you have in your kitchen with the stained pages falling out and which naturally falls open to your most-frequently-made recipe. My sister mentioned that she and her husband were going to try going vegetarian for a while in January, so I quickly got her a copy of my much-much-used Deborah Madison. And, before I wrap it, I’m going to take a highlighter to the index to mark recipes I know they’ll enjoy.


A homemade mix for something. Those soups-in-a-jar are always fun to get, but I was making pancakes this morning and thought it’d be fun to get a pancake or waffle mix that had the grains already mixed up for you, along with baking soda, baking powder, salt, and a little sugar. The recipient would just add the wet ingredients: butter/milk, two eggs, vanilla.

For example, a mix for the Deborah Madison pancakes I made would include:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup rye flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

On the little label you include, you’d ask them to add 3 Tbsp melted butter, two eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1/2 cup milk (or all milk, but they come out flatter). Optional ingredients would be a sprinkling of sliced banana or blueberries. Mix all the ingredients and drop by 1/4 cupfuls on a medium-hot griddle. Proceed as normal for pancakes!

Your favorite kitchen utensil. Do you always reach for a particular spatula first? A certain pair of tongs? Have you, in the space of a month, managed to melt both your meat thermometers (ahem)? Chances are, if you like the design and functionality of that puppy, another cook will too.

[Photo by  Caroline Attwood  on  Unsplash   ]

[Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash ]

And how about gifts for the person who doesn’t cook much?

If they like to read and love history and/or southern food, this memoir was wonderful:


Chef and history re-enactor Michael W. Twitty goes in search of both family history and food history and finds how they intertwine. This book will make you want to eat, cry, travel to the south, travel to Africa, get your DNA done, and grow a garden.

Or say your recipient wanted to visit Paris but is now scared off by yellow-vest rioters. Maybe this gift could remove some of the disappointment:


The French-and-American author couple go from pre-Roman times right up to the present, regaling us with lots of mini food histories, collisions of culture, and who-knew? moments. Great fun.

And finally, if your loved one doesn’t cook much and doesn’t read much, but strangely you still like to hang out with such a person, there’s always a gift certificate for dinner at your house or a meal delivered to them. Because who doesn’t love home-cooked food?

Have a great week.