Sometimes it’s hard to know what that crazy cook in your life would really like for Christmas. And because of that, since we too are crazy cooks, sometimes we don’t always get our heart’s desire either!
Last year for Christmas one of my sons gave me something truly adventurous to try in the kitchen—a Molecular Gastronomy Kit. That’s a mouthful all by itself. It is a selection of natural texturing agents that can be used to deconstruct any dish or cocktail using molecular techniques. Still don’t get it? Me either until I tried it out. Lots of fun and adventure here.
So let’s get shopping! There isn’t much time left. Most everything can be purchased online to make gift giving easier for us last-minute people. Luckily “cyber Monday” has become “cyber Everyday ‘Til Christmas!” There are lots of sales yet to be found.
Top Ten Gifts for An Adventurous Cooking Life
10. Cookie Cutters from cookiecutter.com. Yes they have a lot of cookie cutters including for Christmas but also for all the other holidays AND you can have a custom designed cookie cutter made! Now that’s a cool idea! Shipping is free for all orders over $50.
9. Suzanne’s Specialties brown rice syrup. Traditional rice syrup plus flavored syrup such as chocolate, maple, raspberry and more! High quality, no sugar, complex carb sweetener with flair. Maybe your favorite health-conscious cook will make you some cookies! You can get a mix and match pack of 4 or 12 of these through Christina Pirello’s website, Christina Cooks. (Yes, I confess, I just bought a four-pack for myself the other day.) The pricing is good and includes shipping. About $30.
8. Winter Forest Soaps and Lotions from Williams Sonoma. I usually don’t go in much for scented things but this one made with essential oils, Winter Forest, really captures my imagination and it is delightful! It comes in a dish soap, a counter cleaner and a hand lotion. My Hubbin’ gets this for me almost every year! $12-$42.
7. The R-Evolution Molecular Gastronomy Kit. This is the one I described. There are several places to order this from and here’s one—Cookswarehouse About $60.
6. Teavana Perfect Tea Maker. I saw this demonstrated at my local Teavana store and I have asked Santa for one (Pleeeease!) If you love loose leaf teas you know that they can be messy and it’s easy to waste the tea. You can put the tea in an unbleached tea bag, But it is not so easy to reuse the tea for a second cup. If you try to use the tea loose in the tea pot, you have to strain it out and the clean up is tedious as well as wasteful. This little glass teamaker comes in two sizes and is very reasonably priced. Teavana does have a website. $20.
5. Vitamix on QVC. I always wanted a Vitamix and two years ago I saw it on a great sale on the QVC on TV. They ship it to you when you order and you can make payments. This turned out to be a less painful way for me to purchase—and immediately receive—my Vitamix which I love love love. So if you’re favorite cook has this expensive piece of equipment at the top of his or her list, I highly recommend getting on the QVC website and watching for those holiday sales and easy payments. It is very well worthwhile. $500.
4. Back by popular demand! Flavored high-quality balsamic vinegars from Oleaceae. No limit to what an adventurous chef can come up with using these! Cocktails, dessert sauces, dressings and marinades all from vinegar? Yes! Unfortunately it is too late to get a delivery by Christmas but don’t let that stop you! These are incredible gifts even if late. $20 a bottle.
3. DIY photographic light box. If your chef is also a food blogger, maybe you’ve seen how frustrating it can be to take decent photos of food! Believe me it is really hard to get a good result unless you can control the environment your photographing in—especially the light! What could be more thoughtful than a hand made gift that takes about 20 minutes to make and uses only a few common and inexpensive materials? (Etsy entrepreneurs would also love this.) Learn how to make a light box here. $10 or so and a little of your time.
2. Personalized Chef gear from Chefwear. I once got a personalized chef hat and chef pants for Christmas and wore them and wore them. What a fun way to acknowledge the chef in your life! They even have them in kids’ sizes! $10.95-$32 plus personalized embroidery.
and the number one fabulous gift for the chef in your life . . . . .
1. Every chef enjoys a night off from the kitchen. Or a long weekend. Or even a week! But if your fave chef is very health and natural food conscious, you probably know that he or she has a hard time finding ANY restaurant or resort that serves meals that are up to their own standards. I can tell you that around my city, I’m the best chef I know and I enjoy my cooking better than any I can buy in any restaurant. What’s a hard-working chef to do?
How about a Healthy Cruise!!!!? Now you’re talkin’! This is the one to take.
Holistic Holiday at Sea March 12-15, 2015 Features macrobiotics, vegan, T. Collin Campbell, seminars, excursions and cruise ship entertainment and amenities. $3,000 – $8,000 or so per couple.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!