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“Stuffing Your Stocking & Stuffing Your Face” — Food Gifting Guide 2010

Posted Dec 07 2010 9:19am

When it comes to holiday gifts, I’m a big fan of all things related to eating. I mean, holidays and food just go hand in hand.


Whether your person is a chef, a baker, or just an eater and drinker, I recommend using a simple formula:

[(Something Useful)(XY) + Something Edible] x So Them = The Best Food-Related Gift Ever.

In this equation, X = Technologically Advanced. It doesn’t have to be crazy advanced, like cookies that bake themselves, but it should be something kinda cool — hopefully something she has never seen before.

Y = Aesthetically Pleasing. Whether it’s adorable, chic, or the same exact color as his living room, it should be something you know will catch his eye.

When it comes to the Something Edible, the sky is the limit! It can be a jar filled with ingredients for cookies or it can be gourmet beer and pretzel caramels . The point is to find something that is (So Them).

Now, it’s up to you whether you blow your cash wad on the first part of the equation (Something Useful) or the second part of the equation (Something Edible). I recommend that you choose one thing to invest in and then go cheap on the other.

So, if you want to throw your efforts into the S.U., you should pick out the best kitchen gadget that still fits your budget. This is the main part of your gift, so you’re going to want to make it good. Whether it’s a $20 cast-iron skillet or a $200 stand mixer, make it sexy and useful!

Once you choose your S.U., you need something cheap for S.E. I think you should only spend a very small portion of your budget on the minor gift. You can find plenty of cheap options in either case, so you just need to get creative with making the minor gift look cute/fun/classy/expensive/cool.

Ned some examples? OK!

If the S.U. is the main part of your gift, try…

A vintage butter dish + a block of Irish Kerrygold butter.

The perfect lasagna pan + a jar of homemade tomato sauce .

A milk vibrator + a mini bag of coffee beans.

A grill thermometer + a homemade spice rub.

A toddy cold coffee maker + mini bottles of Kahlua.

A new apron + a stacking cooling rack (I bought this for my mom for Christmas and already sent it to her, because I know she’ll be making a ton of her perfect sugar cookies and will need the extra space!)

Mustached beer glasses + a six pack of something tasty.

Easy, right? And, of course, you should tie up the S.E. with some festive ribbon or put it in a cute container to make it more festive and therefore impressive.

If, on the other hand, you’re going to make the S.E. the main part of your gift, you should think “dish” or “small tool” for your your S.U. In this case, many times both the S.E. and the S.U. are pretty reasonably-priced, making for an economical gift overall!

If you go this route, you could do…

Williams-Sonoma gingerbread cookie mix + a  silicone rolling pin .

Homemade recipe of your choice + handmade tea towels .

A delicious block of cheese (Cracker Barrel cheddar is the bomb if you’re on a budget) + homemade beer bread (it costs like $2 a loaf) + a state-shaped cutting board .

In general, I’m a big fan of ingredients for the S.E. as opposed to actual finished baked goods. With ingredients, the recipient has the option of making it later. Nothing like being hungry in January and finding a jar of soup mix in your pantry to make your day! But with baked goods, she has to eat them before they go bad — and with so many treats floating around right now, she just might not appreciate the treat as much.

Oh, and don’t forget to try cookbooks in this equation! I recommend…

So Easy placed in a glass baking dish, topped with a pretty potholder, and tied with ribbon.

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School + a gift card to K-mart or Macy’s to buy any of her ten million gadgets.

Cook to Bang + two wine glasses + classy place mats.

You know I hate all things related to math, but this formula makes gifting so incredibly easy and spot-on, it’s hard to refuse it. And, I mean, mustached beer glasses? WATCH OUT.

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