Sometimes, there is just no better or more appropriate gift than food. Take my brother, for example. He recently landed an excellent job (the lucky bastard) and is now able to buy himself virtually anything he wants, meaning that his Christmas list is pretty empty. Not to mention that I shot my gift wad last year when I bought my philhellene brother a deluxe leather-bound edition of the Homeric epics. So since I can’t afford to buy him a trip to Greece, what the hell do I get him this year?
Food. Food is what I get him. While his shelves may reach their capacity and his room may brim with all the useless crap he can afford to buy on impulse, his stomach will always welcome more food. I’m not sure I can think of anything more useful or more universally loved than food and food-related supplies. Since you know better than I do what your friends and loved ones like to eat, this guide will focus mostly on the latter.
Last year, said brother got a “Make Your Own Beer” kit. While it seems ideal for him, the time commitment was not worth it when he could much more easily buy himself a six-pack. However, this DIY Juice to Alcohol Kit sits for only two days and produces a sparkling alcoholic beverage from grocery store fruit juice. Win. Or, if your intended recipient would really like to pass on the whole make-your-own-booze thing, thanks, you can always go for a set of bottle opener rings (quick note: they’re stainless steel, which means non-adjustable, so these might be better strung on a chain than worn on the finger for some people).
For beverages with less alcohol and more caffeine, tea- and coffee-drinkers who love sci-fi will appreciate the TARDIS Mug: pour in a hot beverage, and watch the TARDIS disappear from the street and reappear in space on the other side of the mug. This useful bit of pop art in the form of a We Are Happy To Serve You cup is perfect for anybody who loves and/or misses New York City.
Home cooks who love to try new recipes but are often turned off by the hard-to-find ingredients and unfamiliar techniques in “exotic” cookbooks will appreciate The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman. His recipes are always accessible and delicious. Bakers of all levels will love The Nutella Cookbook Zine from Etsy seller saucerville. I can attest to the deliciousness of her Nutella cookie recipe.
For anyone who has trouble keeping their measuring cups in one place (does anybody actually not have that problem? I definitely do), these Russian doll measuring cups are a perfect solution. Kitschy and ingenious. More subtle but just as useful is this beautiful double-tagine condiment dish.
Finally, anybody will heartily welcome a lovingly made batch of cookies or a jar of butterscotch sauce. If you have a recipe for something that you’re good at making, whip up a batch and wrap it with pretty ribbon and a card, and you’re golden.