If you’re running out of time and options for Christmas gifts, and don’t want to resort to a gift certificate, consider signing your favorite foodie up for a cooking class of some kind as a present. The class schedules are posted well in advance, so no one has to know you waited until the last minute before a gift exchange to enroll.
Stores like Sur La Table and other specialty food stores often offer cooking classes at their shops after business hours, and if you live in or near a big city, you should be able to find a cooking school in your area. These businesses offer recreational classes (i.e. not full scale cooking programs) all the time on a variety of subjects, from sushi-making to bread-baking. They typically run anywhere from 1-4 hours and usually offer hands-on instruction on whatever topic is being discussed. Look for something that is a little unusual, like a caramel-themed class for someone who likes to bake, or a Tuscan cooking and wine pairing class for someone who loves Italian food. There are often kids classes available, as well.
If you’re having trouble finding cooking classes in your area, you can always turn to bulletin board sites like Craigslist, where local instructors often advertise, or to a website like Chow, where chowhounds in your town might have already checked out the local classes and can give you tips on picking a good one.
Once you’ve signed up (and yes, you should sign yourself up to go with your friend or family member, too!), just wrap up a nice card with the date and the description of the class and you’ll have something that will be a lot more memorable than a generic gift card.
raineyDecember 23, 2008
That’s actually an excellent idea but good luck finding any in the Valley area of Los Angeles. Sur la Table in Thousand Oaks doesn’t have a kitchen; the Santa Monica store converted theirs to office or storage space. Gelson’s in Calabasas has discontinued their classes. And Let’s Get Cooking in Thousand Oaks has been cancelling classes like crazy — plus theirs have a very disappointing mob-ish aspect to their hands-on classes and a very small constricted area for classes at that.
OTOH, perhaps you *do* know of cooking classes in the Valley in which case I’d be delighted to hear about them.
EllaDecember 29, 2008
This is actually what I got from my husband – a Gluten-free Baking class at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY! I’m so excited since I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy this year and baking with gluten-free flours can be a little perplexing. Such a thoughtful gift!
muttertagsgeschenkMay 1, 2009
Since when do you have a blog?