After getting a few nifty gastronomy-centric gifts for my birthday this year, I realized another Miss Ginsu gift guide might be in order.
Thus, I give you: What to Buy for the Eater
The basic philosophy is this: if you already know your recipient loves food, all you have to do is just select one of the secondary characteristics listed below and voila... they're gift-ified! (And since most of the stuff here costs less than $30, you shouldn't have to smash the piggybank to make 'em smile.)
The Coolest Temporary Tattoos
Does your foodie have a sense of humor?
As Seattle's home of the goofy, Archie McPhee has always been a rich source of gifts for foodies, thanks to clever classics like the toast clock and the freeloader fork. And in keeping with our bacon-saturated times, there's even an entire page of bacon items.
But the recent addition of temporary tattoos for food lovers may be my favorite thing yet. All done in the retro "Sailor Jerry" school of 'tats, these sweet slicks are tempting arm candy... no commitment required.
Handmade Mesh Produce Bags
Is your foodie a farmer's market farmers' market fiend or co-op junkie?
Ooo! I know just the thing...
I bought a pack of reusable mesh produce bags off Etsy.com in the early spring, and I've been enjoying them all summer long.
They're cheap, too, so consider including a nice market tote bag. (And no. I'm not ashamed to recommend my own.)
These little guys are great because they're light, see-through, easy to open, they help you avoid collecting excess plastic... and they really do make you the envy of the farmers' market. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten envious looks and remarks on the lines of, "Oh! Those are so cool! Where'd you get them?"
Though the supplier I bought mine from is currently pursuing other things (i.e. has a life) there's lots of other folks who are selling them now in lots of pretty colors.
Is your foodie the hands-on/DIY type?
I saw Ricki Carroll's sweet little Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit at Grand Central Market and immediately knew I needed to look her up.
As it turns out, Ricki's the "Cheese Queen" of the interweb, and does a lot of cheese-making education.
Her kit seems like a really fun, accessible way to introduce food lovers — especially younger ones — to the pleasures of cheese-making.
Then again, if the easy-cheesy mozzarella kit seems a bit elementary for your advanced DIY-er, consider a kit for making homemade soda, wine or beer or maybe even a mustard-making kit.
Supremely Cute Salt & Pepper Shakers
Is your foodie a museum-lover? Possibly even... artsy?
The food geeks who are also design geeks are powerless in the face of designware from the MOMA shop.
A little caveat, since I realize any gourmand worth his or her, ahem... salt uses a pepper grinder instead of a pepper shaker for that freshly-ground goodness. I'm a sucker for the cute. And this Hugging Salt & Pepper set has the real cute. Oh! I am helpless in the face of its cuteness.
But if you know your gift recipient is way too sophisticated to be buffaloed by cuteness... you should probably go for the supercool Index Chopping Boards instead.
One For the Road
Is your foodie sentimental?
Consider a food gift that acknowledges a taste of reminiscence.
For those with a sweet tooth, Oldtimecandy and NostalgicCandy both feature retro packs that coordinate to the era of your recipient's youth.
Homesick former New Yorkers might appreciate things like the Frrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3, a classic deli-style lunch with the pastrami sandwich kit from Zingerman's or the ceramic version of NYC's ubiquitous We Are Happy To Serve You paper cup.
Yum on the Run
Is your foodie active? Maybe even... sporty?
Happy campers (or boaters, or hikers, or picnickers) will love something practical (and cool-looking) for their alfresco dining.
REI has fun stuff in general, but I really like their Light My Fire Meal Kit, which comes with a compact set of two plates, a lidded cup, a crazy spoon/fork utensil, a little waterproof box (for berries?) and a colander/cutting board.
Pretty colors (a whole range of 'em), recyclable, no metal to freak out the TSA staff at the airport... and it floats.
For the bean-worshipers, REI also features a nifty French Press Commuter Mug, which comes in a variety of colors and serves as a combo coffee press, travel mug and coffee caddy. Pretty slick.