Holiday Gift Guide for Cooks, Armchair Gourmands and All Around Food Geeks

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In the spirit of the holiday round up, here is a list of gift ideas for the…dare I say?foodie in your life. This list includes something for every budget and every type of food geek from the hobby molecular gastronomist to the food lover who is more apt to store booze in the pantry then artisinal flours. Here are my top 12 for 2012….

Tenugui Linens

These 100% cotton hand-dyed Japanese linens make colorful napkins on the dinner table. I buy them at Tortoise General Store on Abbot Kinney which also sells a lust worthy array of delicate teapots, cast iron cookware and unique trivets that you won’t find elsewhere.

DIY Gifts: Coasters, Aprons and Dish Towels

One of the best gifts I ever received were those two little lemons to the left. They were made of felt and to this day sit prominently in my kitchen. The folks over at Purl in New York have a slew of DIY knitting, crocheting and sewing ideas (with patterns and material lists) that translate to perfect gifts for food lovers. A few of my personal favorites are these coffee cozies, this handsome apron and these nautical napkins.

Bellocq Teas

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a beautiful box of expensive teas and at Bellocq the price tag is justified; plus, they get an A+ for presentation.

TONX Coffee

The gift that keeps on giving, TONX offers coffee subscriptions based upon how much coffee you brew each day. That way your beans are always full and always fresh. Our very own Evan Kleiman has been a subscriber ever since she interviewed founder Tony Konecny this year.

Temporary Tattoos for the Food Obsessed

News flash! Food loving hipsters love ironic temporary tattoos of whisks and latte art.  Slip this into that special someone’s holiday card or make it a stocking stuffer. Or better yet, give them out as favors at your next dinner party.

*Also makes for a good ice breaker.*

For the Armchair Cook: Faviken

Chef Magnus Nilsson (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Reminiscent of the NOMA coffeetable cookbook, this work of art from Phaidon is best viewed next to a fireplace in a rustic cottage in snowy Swedish forest, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed in December in LA with this digital yule log streaming on your ipad in the background.

For the No Fuss Home Cook: Canal House Cooks Every Day

The beloved quarterly journal Canal House Cooking has come out with a tome for home cooks. It’s a perfect gift for both novice cooks and seasoned pros. Their photograph of deviled eggs 10 ways will have you boiling water in no time.

For the Dinner Party Cook: Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a must have. It was on Evan Kleiman’s 5 Top cookbooks of 2012 list, need I say more? One taste of the tahini rich hummus or spice rubbed leg of lamb and you will fall in love with Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook. His style of cooking effortlessly fits into our California lifestyle, and a spread of his salads, dips and simple roast chicken makes perfect dinner party fare.


Really great salt is an incredible gift. I especially like this starter set from The Meadow which features 6 salts, each with different textures and mineral qualities. From their website…“with every dish comes a new discovery as infinite variations of mineral contents and moisture contents and crystal structures and crystal sizes combine in your mouth along with the flavors, textures, and aromatics of your food.” 

Olive Oil

Like salt, you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of olive oil. Every year I buy Christmas presents for family at We Olive. I prefer to go to the store for the best selection, the closest to LA are in Costa Mesa and Ventura, but you can also shop their online store. They offer gift sets of course, and an olive oil club membership but I typically like the Olio Nuovo which is the first press of the season. Meant to be used within a few months, Olio Nuovo is harvested in November and has a bright assertive flavor that is unique to the young oil.


Wine is so 2011. Give the gift of beer! For the budding home brewer combine Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune‘s new book Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing Tips, Tricks and Rule-Breaking Recipes with a recipe kit from their Beer Chicks Brew Shop. And for those who prefer to drink rather than brew their own, local brewery Eagle Rock has gift baskets in two sizes. Or just stop by and pick up a growler as a host gift.

Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Now for the big blow out gift. I realize this may be a bit out of reach for most of us, if not for the price tag than for the lack of counter space. And I understand that a sous vide circulator is unrealistic for about 98% of home cooks. That said, in a dreamworld this kitchen gadget would be at the top of my list. Fingers crossed Santa Clause reads the Good Food Blog.