Food-related gift ideas: ‘History is Delicious’ book, sake subscription, city culinary tour, and more

Every year there are more foodie gifts from which to choose. These are a few of Evan Kleiman’s favorites.

Fly by Jing
Jing, who we knew back in the day as Jenny Gao, was one of the first to create a small-batch chile crisp business. She’s gone on to develop a whole line of foods and condiments that are on repeat in my house. Her most recent launch is a line of frozen dumplings that are the best I’ve ever had. To accompany them, I recommend her Zhong Sauce, a craveable tangy, spicy, umami and slightly sweet accompaniment for those frozen dumplings. 

History is Delicious” by Josh Lurie
Josh Lurie is a longtime LA-based food writer. His new book is just the thing for that food-obsessed child in your life. The adults will be delighted to read it as well. 

Ototo Sake Club subscription
Courtney Kaplan, the co-owner of Ototo, is a sake savant who’s known for guiding the uninitiated and the experienced through joyous sake explorations. Get three 10-ounce bottles of sake a month. They can be picked up locally or shipped within California.

Diaspora Spice Co. gift pack
With Consumer Reports coming out with a huge expose about spices, it’s a good time to reassess what’s in your cupboard. Diaspora Spice Co. has been slowly building relationships with farmers directly to bring you dated harvests of the freshest spices you’ve ever used. Once you start using them, you can’t go back to dusty bottles with no zip of aroma.

Culinary Backstreets Food Tour 
The renowned city food tour company has finally landed in Los Angeles. Always listened to KCRW’s Good Food but been reluctant to get out of your comfort zone? Want to go beyond your usual stops? Gift a friend a tour and go along for the ride. Or give a friend new to the city a taste of what energizes our town. There are both public group tours and options for private, bespoke adventures.


Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program
We blithely talk about growing our own food in our backyards, on balconies, or in a community garden — or maybe starting a school garden but we need help. Master Gardeners are specially trained experts who  fan out through communities to pass on what they’ve learned. From speaking engagements to helping create school gardens, to home-based and community gardens, they are generous in sharing knowledge. Like many public programs, it is starved for the funds needed to train more Master Gardeners to fill our county's expanding need.  

Food Forward
This is Southern California’s largest produce rescue organization. They recover fruits and vegetables that would have been wasted from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, farmers markets, and the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, and then send it along to the food insecure through hunger relief agencies in Southern California and tribal lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The total value of the produce recovered and passed on so far is $271,191,000.

Fast Forward is SoCal’s largest produce rescue organization. Credit: Fast Forward. 

Tree People
For 40 years Tree People has inspired a vast network of volunteers to plant and care for more than 3 million trees throughout Southern California. Planting trees creates shadier communities, allows rain to be harvested, and renews depleted landscapes. All of this leads to a more climate change-resilient and water-secure Southern California. Their gift giving program allows the donor to purchase trees in the name of a friend, family member or organization.