I am skeptical of the term “foodie.”
If you like to cook, you like to cook. If you like to eat, you’re like pretty much every goddamn person in the world. If you like molecular gastronomy and desserts made with helium… you’re a scientist? That said, some of us would rather get a microplane zester or a box of perfectly spicy candied pecans than an iTunes gift card. My family members are figuring this out AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER ABOUT. I am sure as hell going to use that multipurpose spatula-scraper-mixing tool for more badass kitchen debauchery than I’d ever use a Kindle for reading or building fires or whatever.
In the spirit of food lovers, cooking enthusiasts, and “foodies” everywhere, here is a list of 10 last minute food-related gifts that would be perfect as stocking stuffers, white elephant prezzies, or as a treats for yourself because, hey, you’ve just about survived from Black Friday until Christmas. I’ve got everything a food-lover might want from DIY to cheap Amazon finds to the great locally-made goodies, so read on!
1. Jar of high-quality peanut or almond butter
My favorite locally-made brand is Yumbutter. They make a variety of MMM-inducing nut butters including flavors like Dark Chocolate D’lishe and Cranberry & Coconutty. A jar of tasty peanut or almond butter goes a long way as a tasty but simple gift. Nut butters can also be prepared at home using my recipe here and packaged into a pretty jar!
2. Microplane zester
Like I said, I will always choose the handy-dandy functional kitchen tool over some froofy present that will gather dust on the shelf. This zester(pictured above) is the one I have. Great for the lemon zest in your lemon squares or to the ginger in your stir fry! Necessary for any and all peel enthusiasts.
3. Good sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is something I’ve gotten hooked on recently. It’s super flavorful and is high in Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats (84%, approx. 14% higher than olive oil), low in saturated fat, and is a nutritious alternative to other cooking oils. I buy local Driftless Organics unrefined sunflower oil!
4. Garlic Press
Chopping garlic is a BUMMER. Not only do my fingers end up smelling like I’m trying to ward off vampires for days, but somehow I always manage to get bored partway through cutting and am left with large uneven chunks. That’s what “minced” means, right? Do your friend or family member a favor and buy them a press (I like this OXO SteeL one), they’ll thank you.
In my book, spicy = nicey. Apple butter is a great way to get rid of a 4 pound bag of apples and an even better way to make toast, oatmeal, or baked good more delicious. Spiced appley goodness is perfect all fall and throughout the holidays (spiked spiced apple cider, need I say more?). It takes only takes a couple hours of stovetop simmerin’ to make a tasty and well thought out gift. Pick up a jar featuring local apples or make your own. Here’s my recipe!
6. Slotted Spatula
Slotted spatula…what the what? This is not your grandma’s cooking utensil and rightfully so. I use this dynamic spatula for my every flipping, turning, and sautéing need and it’s THE BOMB. It’s flexible and super thin so it slips under pancakes like a breeze. Seriously. Your pancakes won’t ever see it coming. Perfect for the cooking enthusiast in search of a flexible alternative to those rigid, boxy spatulas of yore.
7. Classy preserves
Similar to apple butter, preserves are a simple and freakin’ delicious addition to a holiday feast. If cheese (or perhaps nut cheese) floats your boat, pair some fig, orange, or pear preserves with nice crackers and you’ve got an h’ors d’oeuvre any French person would approve of. Local Madison homies Matt and Clare at Quince & Apple are churning out the tastiest preserves I’ve tried east of the Mississippi (or west, for that matter).
8. Mason Jar Mug
No list of foodie items would be complete without a mason jar. These guys are an adorably hip (or hiply adorable?) alternative to your average mason jar and are great for sipping beverages hot or cold. If you’re giving these as gifts you can fill them with candy, a homemade cookie mix (just add water!), buttons or some other cute shit like that.
9. High quality vanilla
(The Vanilla Beanery)
Is COMPLETELY underrated. Anyone who is a self-respecting cook should have some quality vanilla in the kitch. Madison is fortunate to have a totally baller vanilla-maker The Vanilla Beanery, which (fortunately for you!) ships vanilla all over. Giving vanilla as a gift is also super tricky and smart because it encourages that person in your life to make more baked goods and (hopefully) that means more cookies and cakes for YOU.
10. A homemade spiked cider kit
Nothing says, “goddamn it’s winter and I kinda like it!” like hot apple cider with bourbon. Put together a cheap but awesome present with a gallon of some nice local cider, a couple nibs of whiskey or bourbon, and a packet of spices. The recipe should be (roughly):
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 6 ounces hard cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried orange rind
Buy a cute little sack and fill it with spices. Write out a cute recipe card and attach it to the cider jug. Give it to your favorite booze-lovin’ pal. Get loaded.