At the top of my list at the moment is Brendan Connell's Lives of Notorious Cooks, a very recent release from Chômu Press. It contains biographies for fifty one fictional cooks, and early reviews, though brief, are promising. I only had to read as far as "eel hash in the shape of slippers" before I was sold on it, but I have graciously held off on buying it for myself so that you may have the opportunity to delight me with it.
"clementine, a bowl" napkins, $20
from knife in the water on Etsy here.
Do you know any food people with pets? Think carefully about this, because there are some adorable food-themed presents for kitties on Etsy.
Catnip sardines, $12, from Miso Handmade on Etsy.
I'm probably alone in wanting one of these Italian beechwood drying racks for Christmas. It's lo-fi and I'm into that. Drying your own foodstuffs is an easy way to preserve them, and how great would it be to open a jar of home-dried currants from the summer farmers' market and shake some into your winter oatmeal? Or to obsessively, compulsively tend to a batch of fascinating mushrooms or unusual, chance-encountered peppers, turning them over and repositioning them just so while making long-range plans for them? OK, just me then.
That same person would probably love a copy of Vivien Weise's Cooking Weeds, which I'm planning to write about soon. It's a slim little book filled with vegetarian recipes for things like spruce ice cream, comfrey-hazelnut butter, daisy soup, and nipplewort minestrone. It's somehow very Tiny Banquet Committee, actually — a friend flipping through it in my apartment said "this book is, like, 30 blog posts."
Guaranteed to please any kitchen-centric hippie, a set of durable cotton, hemp, and beeswax storage thingies to replace plastic wrap. They're good for cheese fiends too, because they allow cheeses to breathe a bit without drying out.
For the outdoorsy hiker-cook, how about a camping stove by Biolite that can also charge their gadgets? I haven't tried one yet myself but I've seen several reviews of it, all positive. You don't have to bring any fuel into the woods with you because it's powered by kindling. Don't delay if you're thinking of buying one — the last date to order before Christmas is December 14th.
For anyone and everyone: I've got three of these little knives and they're among my most-often-reached-for. They're perfect for picnicking or car trips, too, because they come with covers for their blades. If you're in NYC, Bowery Kitchen Supply in Chelsea Market has them in every color of the rainbow, temptingly close to the cash register. I always have to remind myself that I don't really need one more.
Buying things made in Maine makes me happy. I've got a well-established, long-standing thing for Maine. This organic linen tea towel is hand-printed with mussels by Mainers.
Would it be unreasonable to suggest that you have a gorgeous blue teapot shipped from Australia? I suppose the answer depends on where you are. It's hand-built and beautifully glazed and I can't stop looking at it.
Beer people get a calendar of their own by designer and illustrator Heidi Schweigert, with a beer and an ideal food pairing for each month.
If you happen to know that your cook likes a clean, graphic, possibly Scandinavian-influenced style and has a bare spot on his or her kitchen wall, how about a print of winter fruits?
It's 19" x 25" and there's a handsome summer fruit one, too.
Indigo pomegranate giclée print by anek,
$80 on Etsy here.
on Etsy here.
Last but not least, you know what makes me happier than just about any other box of holiday this-or-that? Other than really fancy marzipan? Impeccably candied fruit, glowing from within. These clementines from Confiserie Florian are plump and gorgeous. Might as well pick up a packet of candied angelica and some Provençal flower-flavored syrups at the same time, no? I have a feeling that bowls of vanilla ice cream drizzled with mimosa and violet syrup would make January and February a little easier to get through.