Everyone loves to get something in the mail – particularly when that something is a big, tempting package to open and not just another bill. This is why gift subscriptions make fantastic presents: your giftee will get a new surprise every month when the next package arrives. There are some great services out there – both classic and creative – offering monthly subscription services that are tailored for food lovers of all kinds. The prices vary and you can pick out a short or long term subscription. One other bonus is that, since these gifts are delivered over a period of a couple of weeks or months, you don’t need to worry about rushing to stores and last minute gift wrapping, since your gift comes with direct delivery included – although a card letting your recipient know would be a nice touch.
- The Fruit of the Month Club from Harry and David is a class subscription service and still a favorite for many. They send out huge boxes of premium fruit every month, choosing something wonderful and in-season every time. They even offer an organic fruit of the month club now. My favorite, without question, is their famous Royal Riviera Pears, although I always enjoy their fruit. All of these boxes are hand-packed and they guarantee their products, which means that they will replace anything that isn’t quite right so that you really will always end up with perfect fruit..
- Great Food for A Great Cause Boxes from Love with Food contain a selection of up to eight different gourmet food samples each month, ranging from preserves to cookies to tea. There is a lot of variety here and, as with many subscription services, this is a great way to introduce yourself to some new brands and small producers that you might not already be familiar with. For each box shipped, Love with Food will also donate a meal to a hungry child.
The last time you probably used flash cards was when studying for a vocabulary test of some kind in school. They’re usually set up with a word on one side of the card and a definition on the other, giving you an easy way to quiz yourself with a deck. They will work for just about any subject, and these Foodie Flashcards are designed to give you a crash course in foodie terminology. The deck contains 50 cards featuring different foodie vocabulary words. Each card features a word on one side, and the definition, pronunciation and examples of how it is used on the back. They’re humorous cards, so while they really will clear up some terms you might not have been familiar with, they’ll definitely do it in a way that will put a smile on your face, too.
You really will be able to improve your foodie vocabulary and get a clearer idea of what terms like “locavore” and “umami” mean, but even if you’re familiar with the terms, you’ll enjoy the way that they’re presented. The cards also include a foodie game insert, which gives you ideas for things to do while waiting at the food truck for your fusion taco order to come up. This is a fun gift for a foodie friend, but the cards can also be fun to go through if you’re with a bunch of other food-loving friends and want to quiz each other a little bit.
Aprons are good for many things. For instance, they are good for helping you keep splashes of food off of your clothes while you’re cooking, giving you quick place to wipe flour off your hands and, if they have pockets, a place to stash a whisk, microplane or can opener until you need it. In the Oven Mitt Apron, classic aprons get a new functionality, doubling as potholders and making aprons an even more multipurpose kitchen item. The apron has thickly padded oven mitts built right into it, with pockets behind so that you can easily slip them on and grab a hot pan or baking sheet. Compared to a more traditional apron, it does look a bit silly when the potholder parts are dangling down – the look more like pant legs than a skirt – but they will definitely come in handy and there is nothing silly about not burning yourself in the kitchen!
The apron is made from cotton and is unisex, coming in just one size with an adjustable band at the waist. It has a more masculine look to it than many aprons, so it might be a good choice for someone who likes to grill and might need a little protection from hot grates and hot dishes.
I have a set of Cookeys, Oreo cookie-shaped plastic key covers. They’re cute, food-related and certainly make my keys easy to spot. I’ve noticed that more and more key covers are coming out, both food related and not. I’ve seen donuts and robots, but this set of Cupcake Key Covers jumped out at me as being just about as cute as my sandwich cookie set. The set comes with six key caps, each of which is a cupcake with a different color scheme and expression to it. The fact that there are six covers in the set is nice if you have a lot of keys that you want to cover, but it also makes identifying a particular key that several people share (say, the key to a shared storage space or house key) very easy. This makes a great stocking stuffer for the holidays and is a great little gift for a cupcake lover in general – or if you just want to spoil yourself with some cute cupcake gear!
Vanilla is one of the most important ingredients that a baker can have in his or her pantry, but it is not the only flavoring that plays a big role in baked goods. Williams Sonoma put together a Baker’s Spice Kit in recognition of this fact, grouping some high quality spices that most bakers would say are kitchen staples into a lovely gift set. The kit includes whole allspice, whole gloves, whole nutmeg, cocoa powder, ground Saigon cinnamon and – because we can’t skip the vanilla – vanilla sugar. This set is especially good for holiday baking, as each of these spices would go well in a gingerbread or pumpkin pie.
Because most of the spices in this kit are whole spices, you will need some additional equipment to use them. A spice grinder or coffee grinder will make short work of the allspice and cloves when you need them, and for the nutmeg you’ll want a nutmeg mill or a microplane. It may sound like a lot more work to grind the spices when you need them instead of scooping them out of a jar, but the flavors are much bolder when freshly ground and the spices last a lot longer when they’re kept whole. Plus, if you are considering a spicy set as a holiday gift, a spice grinder and nutmeg mill might make picking additional gifts for the baker in your life quite easy.