If you are anything like me you will have left all your Christmas shopping to the very last minute. Then I usually dash around in a mad scramble trying to get the perfect gift in hot sweaty shops crowded with other insane people like me. Some year I will learn, some year I will start my shopping in November, buy everything online, and only buy thoughtful and considerate gifts…some year!
This year however will be more of the same. In an effort to help other like-minded people I am going to offer some help and advice on the perfect gift for the foodie in your life. There are a lot of bogus foodie presents out there that are marketed towards your food loving friend. Many of these gifts like flavoured oils, spice sets, salsa kits and most things with the word kit in the title are in fact most foodie’s worst nightmare. I can’t tell you the amount of Mediterranean flavoured oils and Cajun spice kits that I have languishing in the press, never to be used and just waiting to be thrown out in a spring cleaning frenzy. So, from what experience I have of terrible but well-meaning gifts, here are my lists of cool classics for the home-cook in your life.
- Tins! It’s an odd choice but a good tin will really help the home cook. For many years I ignorantly thought a tin, was a tin was a tin. However a good tin, never disappoints, gives you an evenly baked cake, and will last a lifetime. My preference is Silverwood tins. Not only are there tins durable and excellent to cook with, but they also come in a vast array of shapes and sizes. You can get spherical tins, Madeline tins, Battenberg tins. They are a little more expensive than the average tin, but they are definitely worth the investment. [My first Silverwood was used for my Rubik’s Cake and it was a Godsend on that hectic day].
- Copper cookware is something I don’t have, but a copper saucepan is something I really want. Copper pots are used by many of the professionals for their outstanding heat conductivity. They also look very cool and last a lifetime. The traditional French ones are really expensive and any foodie would be thrilled to get a gift of one.
- Le Creuset cocotte casserole dishes are so versatile, you can make stews, pies, desserts, breads, you name it in them. I love the medium sized round ones as they are perfect for a just a small gathering or the 20 inch for dinner a deux. I currently love this lovely bright teal coloured one.
- A good knife is an odd choice for a Christmas gift. If you are Irish [or Ray Mears] you will have to give a coin along with knife to prevent any superstitious severing of your friendship. But a good knife is always going to please and delight someone who loves to cook. A good knife makes cooking more enjoyable and takes away some of the hard grind. The definition of a good knife is a contentious issue as everyone has their favourite brands…Global, Sabatier etc. My personal favourite brand is Zwilling. This utility knife is sure to come in handy in any busy kitchen.
- I know I said anything with the word “kit” is not a good pressie option, but this year I will allow this one indulgence. For the foodie in your life that fancies themselves as a bit of a Heston, or for those that hanker after some school science experiments, the Molecule-R Gastronomy kit is a must. I always love gifts with lots of bits to it, recipe books, and magic. It’s the perfect fun and relatively cheap Christmas gift for the experimental home cook. Available online, or in Fallon and Byrne in Dublin.