Five Gifts Foodies Will Love

I love, love, love this time of year. But I hate shopping for Christmas gifts. Wanna know why? Because I see stuff I want everywhere. And it’s on sale! And I have coupons! But I don’t want to blow my shopping budget on myself. That would be rude. It is agony.
So, I’ve decided that I will scratch the itch to buy these things by offering them up in a list to you. And if any of you are looking for a gift for your favorite food snob–wink, wink. Just kidding. Kinda.

No really. If you want to buy a gift for someone who likes to eat good food or is learning to cook at home, that person would definitely be thrilled with these kinds of things.
1. Numbero uno on my list is this Iberico Ham package from Food52’s offers page. I am seriously thinking about buying this for myself. Iberico ham is definitely on my foodie bucket list.

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What is so special about Iberico ham to charge $59 for, you may be asking. Well, Iberico ham is considered the best in the world. It is a Spanish product made from free-range pigs that roam the forests of a specific region and feast on only acorns and such. And, to add to the allure and mystique of this Spanish pork, until only recently, it was outlawed in the United States.

This package is ideal because there are several different products included, so you can sample the meat in different forms. Actually, there are a number of neat offerings on Food52‘s Shop. It would be a great place to shop for a foodie on your list.

2. Anyone on your list who might have expressed an interest in canning would love a Ball Canning Kit, that includes everything needed to wade into the waters of home food preservation through hot-water bath canning. This is a good deal for all the items shown at $55.

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 I was tickled to death to get one of these kits for Christmas a few years ago. Now my larder is lined with neat rows of jams, salsas, and fresh veggies that are there to enjoy year round. Water bath canning is so easy once you get started. There are only a few rules to keep in mind, and for that, you can add a copy of the Ball Blue Book to your gift. This book is the absolute authority on home canning, and has been so for more than 100 years.

And if you gift this to someone, you might receive a gift basket next year of home-canned goodies from the lucky recipient. So, it’s like a gift you get back.

3. Who doesn’t know someone who loves beer? With the explosion in popularity of craft and microbrews, everyone has a friend who’s curious about making their own brew. The Brooklyn Brew Shop makes it easy for a novice to jump in with their complete kits.

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I first heard of this shop on a documentary about beer in America that I watched a couple years ago. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the documentary, but the cute couple behind Brooklyn Brew Shop and their simple, straightforward attitude toward homebrewing stuck with me. I’ve bought beer kits before, like Mr. Beer brand, that have a powder that you just mix with hot water and leave sitting and that’s basically the beer. This one is different because the ingredients you get are raw-er (if that’s a word), meaning that you get the grains that you have to cook down and make the wort and take some extra steps. It’s a little truer to the actual process of making beer, I think. By the way, my secret ambition is to be a brewmaster. Wouldn’t that be the coolest job?

4.  One thing that drives me insane are bad kitchen knives. Why do they even sell them??? I don’t care what your income level is, there are plenty of decent knives out there at every price point. Sometimes people don’t know and think any old kitchen knife is as good as any other. But for the love of GOD, buying a knife set at the Dollar General store or similar retailer is NOT acceptable.

If you know someone who has a set of these dastardly devices, do them a favor and get them a decent set. Or even one or two good ones, if you don’t want to spring for a whole set. Take advantage of sales on kitchen items at department stores, or even big box stores. You don’t need to buy good knives from a fancy place like Williams Sonoma. Top brands include J. A. Henckles, Wustof, and Victorinox. These are great, but expensive. If you find a good deal on them, grab them–and one for yourself. But you can find decent sets at places like Target, which carry mid-level brands like Faberwear and Calphalon.

My set came from my wedding registry at Target, and it’s a Chicago Cutlery set. It wasn’t super expensive, and I’m satisfied with it. They are sturdy and there’s a variety of knives in the set. It has a sharpening stick which is nice. The most important thing about knives, is to keep them sharp, sharp, sharp. You’re more likely to cut yourself badly with a dull knife than you are with a sharp one, because the knife doesn’t go where you intend it to go when you’re cutting, and you have to force it sometimes. That is how people cut themselves–trust me, I know.

5. And finally, fancy-pants barware always pleases the hard to shop for set. I am drooling over the gorgeous pieces from the Target + Neiman Marcus Collection. You can give someone a really nice set at a fraction of the price you’d actually pay for it at Neiman Marcus. And the lucky recipient can toast the New Year with some seriously luxurious looking barware.

Altuzzara Shaker and Double Old Fashioned glasses, set of 4, both 49.99 each

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Hopefully you’ve all been good enough this year for Santa to bring you some of these things. At least, I’m hoping I have.


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