Edible Giving, a Food Lover's Gift Guide

What's that, not yet anything under your tree? Here's a little inspiration for edible giving.

For Food Artists: Playful, pretty and pratical, I Macaroons is hard to resist. I also heart Delicious, about the art and life of Wayne Thiebaud, who had a thing for hotdogs, gumballs, cupcakes and color. My favorite of his images is here.

For Collectors: I found this vintage pair of handmade s & p shakers, above, at my local thrift store, and already gifted them {lucky sister}, but I love these, remade from chair legs, on Etsy.

For New Yorkers: A subscription to The Diner Journal, the thoughtful food mag from the folks behind Marlow & Sons, and dinner for two at Locanda Verde would surely delight. If you haven't yet heard of Locanda Verde's chef, Andrew Carmellini, get with it. He's the bomb. And if nothing else, you've heard of Locanda's owner, DiNero.

For Backyard Farmers: The Kitchen Garden Box is easy learning for beginning seed savers, and delicate Vintage Silverware Garden Marker will help vanity gardeners mark the spot. Seasoned gardeners will love you for inspiring them to expand with The Backyard Orchardist, by Stella Otto, which may yield some delicious returns five years from now when their fruit trees mature.

For Heirloom Enthusiasts: A Membership to the Hudson Valley Seed Library is a very clever gift indeed, and comes with a set of heirloom seeds tucked into lovely packets that double as artwork.

For Food Ethicists: If they haven't already read it, Michael Pollan's Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food are invaluable guides, as is The Ethics of What we Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer.

For Little Gardeners: Beloved in my children's book collection are A Seed is Sleepy and The Curious Garden. I use both when teaching kids in gardens and classrooms. I particularly love The Curious Garden's reference to New York City's newest city garden and my daytime escape, The High Line.

For Teachers: Inspire the teacher in your life to think twice about the food their students {and they} eat with Edible Schoolyard, a Universal Idea, a docu-guide to Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard in Berkley. And for classroom reading, One Red Apple is bound to become a classic.

For Philanthropists {and Fashionistas}: Grab a FEED Bag for your friend to carry home goodies from the farmer’s market. The bonus for you both? Each bag helps the World Food Programme feed one child for a school year. That feels good.

For Dudes: The best gift I ever gave my brother was a Cast Iron skillet, a hearty set of steak knifes, a stack of chef's side towels {dude napkins}, paper french fry cones, a beer flight paddle and local craft beers. I called it Steak Night for the Guys, and tucked in my recipe for a cast-iron seared T-bone. Dude, I'm a good sis.

For Nostalgics: Score vintage or collector’s copies of Gourmet magazine on Ebay, and tack on a subscription to Delicious, the aptly named Brit magazine, to help the giftee mourn Gourmet's passing. It won't replace the hallowed journal, but the inspired images and recipes might turn them on to something new.

For Artisan Breakfast Junkies: Soap Stone Griddles make for perfect pancakes every time, and if seasoned correctly, it is nature's non-stick. They are also excellent for making homemade masa cakes, tortillas, and crispy pizzas. If you don't have any friends or loved ones in this category, I nominate myself for the role.

For Ethnic Eaters: Stone ground masa, used to make handmade tortillas or masa cakes on their new soap stone griddle, is a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who loves good eatin.

For Meat-a-vores: There are dozens of ways to indulge salumi fans, four of which include the book Salumi, a subscription to Meatpaper magazine, manly mortadella T's from Wooster Street Meats, and anything {imported or domestic} from Salumeria Rosi.

For Indie Foodies {aka. New-Age Food Snobs}: A Subscription to an Edible Communities publication, a series of award-winning indie mags that cover the local food scene in every major city or county across the country is the gift that keeps on giving, connecting readers to the source of their food. {note: I use the term New-Age Food Snob here as a compliment. I'm not talking 10k-gas-range owning gluttons who only eat at Michelin-rated restaurants {BTW, this explanation of a food snob is hilarious}. I'm talking about locavores, who'd sooner eat a shoe that a soft-shell-crab from an offending fishery. Hey, embrace it! It's cool to care about where your food comes from.}

For Serial Dieters: Hopefully, a read through Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck, or What to Eat by Marion Nestle will be enough to convince food pansies that real food {food your ancestors grew, picked and ate} is the way of the past, the present and the future.

For Food Geeks: Possibly one of the most accurate, well-written, thoroughly researched guides on produce, How to Pick a Peach by the LA Times food editor Russ Parsons, is as much bedside reading as reach-for reference for cooks, writers and recipe developers.

For Homesteaders: And now that your friends know how to pick a peach, the new book Quick Pickles which teach them how to pickle them. It's the definitive and beautiful guide to fast house-made pickles. A set of vintage Ball jars would go mighty fine with that too.

And by the way, though it has nothing to do with food, if you have a newlywed in your life, buy them an ornament. Most likely, they could use a few more. Here's a charming one for the new Mr. & Mrs.

Last but never least, when you give, consider giving to those who need it most. Share Our Strength feeds hungry families this season and every season, and you can give here.

P.S. The book under the vintage s & p shakers is Mad Hungary, one of this year's best, and a little preview to my 2009 Cookbook Guide, coming soon.


Liz said...

What a list! So thoughful, fun, meaningful and mirrors the spirit of the holidays. Thank you!

The Smiths in NYC said...

great ideas!! love them all

K is for Calligraphy said...

Wow, what a awesome gift guide! I love the idea of the meat magazine subscription! And the table leg salt and pepper shakers are so cool! Thank you so much for including my Mr. and Mrs. Holiday Ornament in this yummy and green gift guide! Happy Holidays! xo, Katy

Anonymous said...

L-O-V-E all the ideas!

Katherine said...

What a wonderful list Sarah! I'm so getting John-boy the beer paddles. I was stumped and now I've found! Thank you!!

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.