Going for Seconds Gift Guide 2009

Tis the season for holiday shopping. Throughout the year, I’ve shared what I think has been interesting in the world of food. As the year closes and gift-giving is at the top of mind for most people, trying to find that perfect something for those near and dear to us can be challenging. Here are my suggestions on fun gifts for the food and wine aficionado on your list. Now let’s do our part to spur the economy!

First off, I want to list the items that I want someone to give to me. If anyone feels generous…

  • Kitchen-Aid 90th Anniversary Stand Mixer

I think this thing is awesome. And only because of the candy apple red and glass bowl. As I’ve been delving into more and more baking (and wanting to make my own pasta), I’ve been yearning after a Kitchen-Aid for awhile. You will be mine, oh yes, you will be.

  • Bob Kramer’s Meiji Knife by Shun

Having a great chef’s knife is key to working in a kitchen. Bob Kramer is one of the very best knifemakers in the world. He’s partnered with Shun to make knives and I’m taken with the beauty of their cutlery. This one in particular fits the bill for what I want out of a knife. Another wishlist item that I’d be thrilled to slice and dice with.

Now for a few more achievable gift items for those close to you; here are a few items worth looking into.

Gift guides are all over the place. Amanda and Merrill at Food52 listed theirs. The good folks at Serious Eats have been sharing pretty comprehensive lists over the past few weeks. Now it’s my turn. In fact, I wrote a gift guide last year that still has some great stuff, but here are the things that I would be stoked to get (if I didn’t already have them):

Wine

  • VinoTagz

Have you ever been at a dinner party where you lose track of your wine glass because it gets lost in the shuffle? Or you have to use a crappy metal charm that looks corny? Well VinoTagz is here to remove that awkward social situation. They are color-coded to know which glass is yours. Made of removable rubber to wrap around the stem. Easy to use. A friend gave me these and I thought they were goofy until I used them. They are great. An excellent stocking stuffer

  • Vinturi Red Wine Aerator

I first discovered the Vinturi Aerator while having dinner at Seattle’s Volterra. I noticed that the wine guy was using this device to pour our wine into a decanter. He mentioned that it was to help open up the wine and he liked that it could be used to pour into a glass or a decanter. I love mine because it creates energy into the wine through its aeration. Plus, it’s fun to use while taste testing with friends.

Books

  • Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan

This is my favorite cookbook of the moment. And that’s saying a lot as this last quarter of the year has seen an onslaught of great books. I love Momofuku because of the brilliant writing and the inspiring stories; notably, Meehan tells the story of how Chef Chang’s Momofuku empire has risen. It’s a great book, it has delicious recipes, it is elegantly designed, and it has a story to match the quality of the food it features. Your food friends will be smitten with this book. And the brussels sprouts recipe will surely convert anyone to loving brussels sprouts.

  • On the Line by Eric Ripert and Christine Muhlke

While this book came out last winter, it stills ranks up there as one of the best food books. Why? Because On The Line opens the curtain on what makes Le Bernardin one of the best restaurants in the world. Equal weight is featured on front of house and back of house. Chef Ripert shares his vantage point on seafood and while Maguy Le Coze shares her insight on how an experience at Le Bernardin is distinguished in terms of service. Dotted with recipes, factoids and personal stories. This is a wonderful book that hits all the notes on what makes a restaurant and its team great. I cannot recommend it enough.

A few more books throughout the year that I really liked:

We have 10 more days until Christmas! Can you believe it? I love this season and the opportunity to be with friends and family around the table. Eating, drinking, and sharing with those that are a part of our lives. Holiday shopping shouldn’t be stressful. The world of food is huge, but it always has the opportunity to feel more connected. Happy shopping and remember, I really do love that stand mixer. And that knife.

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