It's the gift-giving time of year and if you have someone on your list who enjoys food – eating it and/or cooking it, here are some foodie gift giving ideas for you to consider.
Let's start with a cookbook. I know, you can Google up any recipe you want online these days, but a true foodie is likely to appreciate a real book. Many of us food lovers collect cookbooks or just like to read them even if we never cook a single recipe from them. I highly recommend "The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook" with 1,840 recipes from 23 years of public television's most-watched cooking show. That's every recipe from every episode. The latest edition features not only failproof recipes, but also great photos and an up-to-date buying guide of top-rated equipment and ingredient reviews. My dear friend Kimmie loves to cook and has this book. She's made dozens of recipes from it and swears by it. Find it on sale online and in bookstores right now.
Another idea would be a magazine subscription. Here's a short list of a few of my favorite publications: "Food Network" magazine, "Cook's Illustrated," "Bon Appetit," "Food & Wine," and Christopher Kimball's "Milk Street." And if your favorite foodie prefers digital, most magazines offer a digital subscription these days.
For the baker on your list, silicone baking mats to replace parchment paper are a great idea. Most baking mats come in half sheet and or quarter sheet sizes perfect for the typical baking sheet for home use. These are excellent, nonstick alternatives to using paper or oil or butter which can also double as a work surface or an under mat for cutting boards.
While I'm not a big fan of gadgets in the kitchen, other than a sharp knife and a can opener, there are some other simple tools that make great gifts. A rubber or silicone spatula is one of them. It's a versatile tool that you find yourself reaching for again and again for things like scraping cake batter out of the mixing bowl and gently turning scrambled eggs. It's nice to have more than one of them so trust me, a real foodie will not be disappointed to get a couple as a gift.
Another versatile tool that makes a good gift is a Microplane zester/grater. It's a long, thin metal tool used to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses. They go dull if used often so getting a new one from time to time is necessary and receiving one as a gift is a bonus.
How about food items for someone who's into food? Salts and spices are always welcomed gifts for the home cook. Getting a package of Jacobsen Salt Co.'s signature Flake Finishing Salt is a gift that brings a smile and a reminder of the gift giver every time a pinch of the salt is sprinkled on a dish. Jacobsen Salt Co. is the first company to harvest salt in the Pacific Northwest since the 1800s. That finishing salt I just mentioned is hand-harvested from Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast and it's so very delicious!
Another place chock full of gift giving ideas is Savory Spice Shop in the Old Mill District. They have so many seasonings, rubs, dip mixes, etc. and recipe suggestions to go along with them and the staff is so helpful. It's a fun store to browse even if cooking isn't your favorite hobby; you're bound to leave inspired no matter what.
While you're there in the Old Mill, go ahead and pop into Kara's Kitchenware, next door to Savory Spice. It's Bend's local kitchenware store featuring well-known brands such as LeCreuset, Riedel glassware and Wüsthof & Shun Knives, among others. They also carry cookware, bakeware, dishes, glassware, gadgets and kitchen tools as well as specialty foods and other local products. And Kara's offers cooking classes in its upstairs area; a gift certificate to a cooking class could be a wonderful gift for someone on your list. The calendar of classes is online at karaskitchenware.com.
Gift cards to favorite restaurants is another solid idea for those who love to eat. And finally, a basket full of local foodstuffs is another nice thing to give. From hot sauce to gourmet chocolates, Central Oregon has an abundance of food artisans and makers. The idea being, you could gift the foodie on your list with a lovely assortment of locally handcrafted food and drink items in a gift basket or you could give a single luxury food item, such as a box of buttery toffee from Holm Made Toffee Co.
We are also lucky enough to have several grocery stores overflowing with terrific gifts for those who love food. Newport Avenue Market, Central Oregon Locavore, Market of Choice and Oliver Lemons in Sisters and Terrebonne are awesome stores for buying weekly food items, but also wonderful places to find gifts for those who love food.
Local Places to Find Gifts for the Food Lover in Your Life