My Tasty 2012 Holiday Gift Guide
The holidays snuck up on me this year, so I hope it’s not too late to share some of my favorite gift ideas to inspire those on your list to have a healthy holiday and new year! My 3rd annual Tasty Holiday Gift Guide follows:
Best Gift for brand-new (or expectant) parents:
Little Green Pouch ($14.99 for four-pack): This is one of those products I *wish* I had known about when my littles were in their pureed food stage. While I made almost all of my own baby food at home, I was still spending a fortune on those convenient, organic squeezy pouches of baby food to take with us on trips or errands (they can cost up to $2.79 each!!). This is such a no-brainer: a reusable squeezy pouch that you can fill with your own homemade purees–or smoothies for older babies/toddlers, or storebought applesauce, for that matter. In fact, I invented this product in my head a million times, but filed it away with all of the other million dollar ideas I’ve had but was too busy/lazy to commercialize. Oh, well!
Best gift for your digestively-obsessed sibling or friend:
American Gut Project’s “Find Out Who’s In Your Gut” ($99): The squeamish among you may balk at the idea, but if you’ve got a friend or relative who spends an above-average time thinking about their diet in relation to the digestive process… this gift is sure to be a slam dunk. For a $99 contribution to the American Gut project– an ambitious research collaboration among 30 scientists which aims to identify the microorganisms that live in America’s collective digestive tract– you can gift an analysis of the bacteria that inhabit your recipient’s gut. That’s right: your designated giftee will receive a kit with which s/he can collect the biological specimen of his or her choice (oral, skin, fecal) and send it off to the University of Colorado for more thorough analysis. (Dog poop can be sent, too). The analysis will also include a comparison of the person’s individual bacterial footprint to that of other Americans, to help address any curiosities about how s/he stacks up.
Best gift for the major foodie home cook:
Modernist Cuisine at Home ($105): If you know someone who dreams of playing with liquid nitrogen, belongs to an underground supper club or has ever attempted to recreate a recipe from Top Chef, then this is a gift for them. Your foodie friend was undoubtedly aware of the $600, 6-volume, lucite-bound reference set called “Modernist Cuisine” that was published in 2011. The original 2500-page set was heralded as the new authority on modern food science, with instruction on and explanation of a host of recent high-tech ingredients and cooking techniques. This year, however, a scaled-down version for home cooks was released– at a much more affordable price. This home volume promises to elevate the quality of your dinner parties and weekday meals alike. It had better; I just shelled out a hundred bucks on a copy for my husband (who, let’s hope, does not read my blog. Surprise, dear!)
Best Gift for the newly-diagnosed Celiac:
Freebread (Gluten-free) Rolls ($15 for 6; $25 for 12… unit price gets cheaper the more you order): If your recently gluten-free friend is still mourning all of the bread she will never have again, give her some reason for optimism with an assortment of the AMAZING gluten-free rolls from Brooklyn-based Freebread. All products are also nut-free, soy-free, corn-free and sugar-free, so they can be enjoyed by folks on all ends of the digestive tolerance spectrum. The company ships nationwide via UPS, and rolls can be frozen and thawed as desired, so recipients can stockpile these babies to their heart’s content and never have to suffer awful GF bread again. If dairy isn’t a problem, I recommend skewing your order heavily toward the Jalaa– a jalapeno and cheese roll that is out of this world.
Best Gift for the Movie Buff:
Whirly Pop Popcorn Popper ($29.95): Now that we’re parents, movie night for us means Pay-per-View and home-popped popcorn after the kids are in bed. (Who can afford a babysitter + $12 movie tickets + movie popcorn for date night anymore??!) But microwave popcorn kind of sucks, and the fakey chemical responsible for its “butter flavor” (diacetyl) is suspect enough for me to want to keep my distance. Home-made popcorn is so much cheaper and so much tastier! My husband makes the best popcorn right on the stove by vigorously shaking a few tablespoons of corn kernels into hot oil in a covered stainless Dutch Oven. (He flavors it with pantry items like truffle oil, Nutritional Yeast, Parmesan cheese or a mixture of herbs/spices like rosemary, garlic and cayenne pepper… so delish!) To save him the elbow grease, I’m hoping his Secret Santa will buy him a hand-cranked Whirly Pop popper instead!
Best Gift for Gardeners, Wannabe Gardeners or Locavores:
Exotic Mushroom Log ($29.95): For the now-straight college roommate who “grew their own” in college, the officemate who delights in sourcing as much food locally as possible, or your mom whose busy gardener hands grow unhappily idle in winter: this is a great holiday gift. Logs are ‘pre-seeded’ with the desired mushroom spore, and recipients need only to soak them in water to kick-start mushroom growth. As mushrooms are harvested, they will continue to re-grow so long as the log is kept moist as directed. That means fancy mushrooms are always on hand for Sunday morning omelettes and exotic Asian stir fries alike! Williams Sonoma offers a small Oyster mushroom version or Shiitake mushroom version for $29.95; larger outdoor versions (and other mushroom species) are available from various online retailers by googling ‘mushroom log.’
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