Ellen Clifford
December 06, 2015 12:36 pm

It is holiday time and we all have food lovers in our lives. Or maybe you are the food obsessive, wanting to write your wish list! And you want to give/get something a little more original than a fruit basket. Not that I’d reject a lovely basket of fruit, but there is nothing like really thinking about the food nerd in your life. What makes them unique? What’s their niche, and how can you fill it?

Taking the time to really think about your loved ones is one of the things I cherish about the holidays. Sure, I could get on my high horse and dismiss the season as a sign of consumerism and materialism but I prefer to concentrate on the positive side of things. I mean, how often do you stop to think about the people you really love and how you could bring them a little happiness?

These ideas run the gamut from low to high price. And there are some DIY’s in there for people who are on a budget or like to put a personal touch on gifts. A lot of these things I’ve either tried and loved, or been given myself and loved. And a few are things I have on my food nerd wish list. Check em’ out. If they inspire you great!

If You Are on a Budget

If you can just give that food lover the gift of TIME! Offer to get together with them to bake cookies. Or to watch a food-themed movie or documentary and discuss. When all else fails your company is what is important. Some interesting ones out there are Big Night, GMO OMG, Somm, Barista, Chef, Chocolat (share the joy of food and Johnny Depp), Bottle Shock, Julie and Julia, even the venerable Like Water For Chocolate…The fact that you are taking an interest in a passion of theirs, and sharing it with them is a gift.

For the Gadget Fiend

Okay, so I don’t have these things so am not speaking from experience but any budding chef would enjoy them. First up is a spiralizer! Because the joy of turning zucchini into noodles is greater than you would imagine.

Nextly, a kitchen blowtorch! You can make creme brûlée, flame your smores and toast the tops of Baked Alaska…anywhere you need the broiler effect, more or less. This is also on my wish list simply because fire is fun. Be safe kids.

For the Person Who Loves Cats as Much as Food (aka all of us)

A kitty kat popsicle mold and yes of course I already have this. My dear friend Alice gave it to me  because cranberry cat-sicles are how I roll:

For the Tea Lover

You may be thinking “what is so unique about tea?” But normally people think of tea as a health-oriented beg, and THIS TEA! You guys, this is dessert tea. Not gonna lie—it was a bit of a come to jesus moment when I tasted the Cococaramel Sea Salt flavor and that is just one of the four teas in Teavana’s Sweet Somethings Holiday set. You also get Gingerbread Tea, White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibus tea, and Chocolate Chai Black Tea, plus an infuser mug. I mean come on, how charming is this:

For the Chocolate-Loving Goth Girl

They are dark, darling and delicious. I taste-tested just to make sure I could recommend these FIKA chocolates. Tough job but I do what I can for you guys.

I mean, I know that skulls don’t scream “holidays” but they are GOLD! And they make large dark chocolate ones too. And if I ever find my Valentine he will give me the red version come V-day. Or maybe if I find a goth Valentine I’ll give it to him, bwahaha!

For the Cookie Creative

Why make gingerbread Santas when you could make gingerbread VELOCIRAPTORS!! Give a set of dinosaur cookie cutters  and make a cookie fiend your fan. The same friend who gave me a cat popsicle mold gifted me with these one year and they are among my faves:

For the Cold-brew Coffee Snob

Got a friend who is a cold-brew snob? *She says as she points at herself*. I love cold-brew because it makes a strong cup of coffee without getting acidic or overly roasted on you. I personally tend to think it is superior to most other ways of brewing. Technically you only need a bowl and a strainer (points at self again), but for someone who is intimidated by cold-brewing a Toddy is the choice of many. It makes making cold-brew foolproof. It is a step past even the sophistication of a Chemex or French-press.

For the Cookbook Collector

I want to recommend the one single cookbook every person who likes to cook needs. It is always and forever my favorite: The Joy of CookingIt is THE BEST. Bonus points if you find a vintage copy!

Another cool idea is to make your own! I collected all my family recipes and made cookbooks for everyone in the family one Christmas when I was on a particularly tight budget. They appreciated the time I took, and loved not needing to call around when they needed the recipes for my cranberry sauce, my Uncle’s mushrooms or my grandma’s lasagna. I keep the pdf on file for updating when new favorites are created at family events (and yes I hail from a food-obsessed fam).

For the Kitchen Chemist

The Food Lab cookbook is an obvious choice because it delves into the science behind the food. J Kenji Lopez-Alt delves into topics ranging from boiling water to choosing the correct starch content of potatoes. If this doesn’t sound interesting to you then…okay yes I am a nerd. And many others are too. For more on this and a sneak peak at the book’s sticky bun recipe (interesting to nerds and non-nerds alike!) go here.

For the Wine Savant

Even if you know quite a bit about wine already, The Essential Scratch n Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert by Richard Betts is a TON of fun. It is also a way to gift a wine lover if the wine you’d like to buy them is more than budget allows. I have this book. I adore it.

For the Mixology Nerd

You guyyyyys-I got this idea from the fabulous Elana’s Stir and Strain blog. It is the Barbarian 9-in-1 Multipurpose bar Tool. Because I find myself at parties wanting to whip up a drink and not having what I need and how BADASS is this army knife of bar tools?! Also (pro-tip!) if you like cocktails, go follow Elana’s blog. Stir and Strain is one of the best.

For the Homesick Texan 

My sweet tea-swilling Texan chums swear by this sweet tea vodka. Deep Eddy’s was created in Austin and is made in a Texas distillery with natural ingredients like local honey and real juices.

Before the Frivolous Stuff

Before I end on a frivolous note that I think a bit of goodwill best befits the season. I must mention you needn’t spend all this money on material stuff. Donate in your food nerd’s name to a food pantry, or Meals-on-Wheels! Bring foodie joy to those who need it.

The Dreams

Okay, these are just a few of the oh-my-that’s-too-expensive-but-a-food-nerd-can-dream items. Things I would get a kick out of both getting and giving:

A Vitamix or Blend-Tec. As I said a high-ticket item but the person you gift may well repay you with the nut butters, ice creams and soups they will be able to make you. I mean, these things whir so fast they can not only blend but also heat your soup for you. As a friend of mine once said “My other car is a Vitamix”.

A Wine Fridge can actually be less pricy than the high-speed blenders I lust after. And as wine bottles are gradually displacing my groceries in my refrigerator I am realizing I will soon possibly-maybe need one. If you have a wine lover in your life and ducats to spare you could make them REAL happy.

A bottle of this because it tastes good, is pretty, and you and your friend can pretend you are Jay-Z and Beyonce or some such merriment.(ace of spades)–I actually got to open a bottle of this on my birthday this year, not because I am a high-roller though. It’s because I have a friend who judges a wine competition and gets to take home a lot of free wine from it.

[Images via Amazon, Etsy]

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