Wednesday, December 23, 2009

what a girl wants

Getting gifts for foodie friends is soooooooo easy, ridiculously easy. We like everything. Everything edible. Even bad edible things are a treat because we would never buy them ourselves. Like a big bag of those new dark chocolate M&Ms for example. Foodies like food. What can I say?
Getting out the door to go gift shopping was a little challenging this weekend.

For good edible things how about some expensive olive oil? I like to go to Fairways olive oil tasting bar and taste ALL the oils and will occasionally buy one for myself as a treat. My latest favorite is a Spanish oil with lots of natural spice. I favor very assertive oils and use them on my salads and to garnish a dish. If I am heating the oil in cooking I will use the everyday supermarket extra virgin olive oil. But for raw oil I want tons of flavor.
These are a few of my favorite things. I am running low.

The spicy Spanish oil I am currently in love with is called ANIGUALA and the last time I went to Fairways in Red Hook, Brooklyn they didn't have any left!! Whah! I also have in my cupboard the last of another lovely bottle of Spanish oil, also cold extract extra virgin, called Mas Portell Arbequina. This one is much smoother, but with lots of body and character. Olive oil ALWAYS makes a great gift because you use it up and then NEED MORE!

There are not too many cookbooks this year that I am jonesing for as it turns out. I looked at a copy of Nigella Lawson's Nigella Christmas and it was very appealing. I wouldn't buy it for myself but I would love it as a gift. Nigella is hilarious and cool and the pictures in the book are great. She is such a homey cool mom type that I think Christmas would really be her thing so I suspect that the recipes in this book are pretty great. I wanted to cook some of the pictures as I leafed through it.
Not to get all food networky on you, but Jamie Oliver's book The Ministry of Food also looks great. It is his passionate attempt to introduce healthy cooking on a broad scale. Oliver is genuinely concerned with improving the food culture in Britain and now in the United States and he is trying to do something about it. All my respects to him in this monumental effort.
600 Curries by Raghavan Iyer is the book I am most excited about. It is right up my alley and the title says it all. I have not come across a copy yet but the reviews are very positive.
A few of my favorite cook books from last Christmas. Kylie Kwong is a super hip Australian chick who owns a restaurant in Sydney, but spends a lot of time in Hong Kong. Her books are fantastic for technique. 

The other disposable item that a hard core cook goes through like water is tea towels or dish towels if you prefer. I can't have enough of these as they don't last long in my hands. There are so many styles and colors to choose from to help keep a kitchen bound person happy and dry. Too many is not enough.
My current collection of dish towels. I pick them up wherever I go, in airports when I travel as a souvenir, in dollar stores on Queens Boulevard, and I am always looking for vintage ones in flea markets.

Of course nothing warms the heart of a foodie more than people eating, so a donation to your local food bank will always be a warmly welcomed gift. Sites like Feeding America offers a food bank locator to find the food bank nearest you.
Sharing a holiday meal with my (very large) family on Friday will bring me joy and the comfort of continuing a tradition with cooking and caring and lots of hugs and laughs. I can't wait to welcome my family into my home, including all my nieces and nephews home from college. It is going to be wonderful!

Best wishes for a happy holiday!

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