Does your friend need another cook book? If you have to ask, they’re probably not a confirmed foodie. You might want to consider a gift necktie or scarf instead. But for the adventuresome cooks on your shopping list, there are never too many cook books or kitchen gadgets. Here are a few items that would warm the heart of any foodie.
A New Turn in the South ($22.79) by Hugh Acheson, the James Beard Award winning chef and author. The subtitle is Southern Flavors Re-invented for Your Kitchen. The Athens, Georgia, based chef has recreated Southern cooking, but kept the ingredients and flavors alive in his easy to follow recipes using procurable ingredients. In the beautifully designed book, Hugh has included heart-felt, regional stories that instill a desire to eat good food, well prepared.
Serious Delish ($18.96) by Jessica Merchant is on my Christmas list. The creator of the popular How Sweet Eats is playful and inventive in her first cookbook designed for “people who totally love food.” The 150 recipes laced with colorful photos and humorous comments, make it a book you’ll enjoy reading from cover to cover, not just browse.
Sodastream Water Fizzer ($160 at Williams-Sonoma).
The penguin-shaped device quickly transforms ordinary tap water into sparkling water with the environmentally friendly soda charger. Add lime, lemon or other flavorings and create your own carbonated beverages.
No batteries or electricity required. Includes refillable Co2 cylinder that carbonates up to sixty, 20-oz carafes.
Paderno Spiralizer (about $39). This simple-to-use machine produces spiral cuts, shoestrings and vegetable “noodles” for adding new texture to pasta dishes, stir-fries and salads. You can make long ribbons of cucumber, carrots and radishes for salads, or apple spirals for apple slaw. Cut onion rings, potato chips, shoestring potatoes or curly sweet potato fries in seconds. No batteries or electrical outlet required.
Cooking Class at the Kitchen Conservatory (most classes are in the $50-$60 range), 8021 Clayton Rd. Kitchen Conservatory offers more than 800 different cooking classes every year. The fun sessions are taught by the best chefs from the best restaurants, plus fabulous culinary educators who share their kitchen specialties. Fully participatory classes and demonstration classes feature a wide variety of menus and themes from beginner to gourmet to ethnic cooking.
Penzey’s Spice Gift Box ($15 and up) 7338 Manchester.
Various size spice collections are designed for the baker, the griller, the zesty cook, and the classic one. Or assemble your own spice collection. Boxes come laced with usable bay leaves.
Subscription to Cooks’ Illustrated ($24.95; 6 issues). This handsome magazine features fool-proof recipes for home cooking, each developed in Cooks 2,500-foot test kitchen. Ratings and reviews of cookware and kitchen equipment are especially helpful.
Cooks taste test supermarket ingredients and kitchen staples, so you know which brands taste best, and which to avoid. Because the magazine is 100% advertising free, you get unbiased, objective information.
Wine of the Month ($40 and up) The Wine Merchant, 20 S. Hanley, Clayton; email@example.com. Get two hand-selected bottles of wine every month. Or choose how many months you want and they’ll take care of the rest.
Your gift recipient will receive an email when the wines are ready for pickup. Or pick a Gift Basket of wine, nuts, cookies, and mini chocolates, beginning at $40. If you can’t decide, leave the selection to the receiver by choosing a Gift Card.