Bread with butter and caviar$19.87.
a slice of cheese$5.75.
a cinnamon bun$13.99.
A necklace that is a metaphor
Consider the artichoke: spiky and unwelcoming on the outside, tender and docile at its heart. Surely you know someone like that. Get them a golden artichoke necklace ($80) from Delicacies Jewelry and, depending on how far along you are on your journey to reach the tender heart, don’t go into too much detail about why.
The discreet charm of charcuterie
A wooden board: round, dramatic, with handle ($135-$175); round, simple, without handle ($19.95); dark and moody ($115); plaid and colorful ($39); worn and recovered ($183); jubilant and seussian ($1,070). An arrangement of sausages: a Spanish variety pack from Campo Grande ($49); The best salumi in Indianafrom Smoking Goose ($49.95); a whole country ham from Elevation Meats of Denver ($175); Renegade Foods plant based salami sample ($42.75). A variety of cheeses: Murray’s silky Auvergne blue ($21 a pound); Wisconsin itself Spicy and semi-firm capriko ($7.33); a flight of Cheddars from Saxelby ($80); a sample of milk and funk from Cowgirl Creamery ($95). Buy some grapes at the supermarket. pour a little bold cheese knives ($35) from Fredericks & Mae, and maybe a fake camembert ($39) for the kids to play while you eat.
A big honking knife
The chef’s knife is a very personal tool that reflects the image of its bearer. A kitchen knife is something of precision, agile and sharp, a measure of the delicacy of one’s technique. A bread knife is a thing of respect, an emissary between the body and the bread, a tool that honors the work of the baker who made the bread and the yeast that leavened it. A serious cook is, almost by definition, a person with strong feelings about knives; Let’s not go too far in assuming that we know the details of his preferences. Instead, here’s what you should do: buy them a blade. A muscular, hulking and terrifyingly huge knife. There is nothing better than a Chinese model, like Chan Chi Kee’s huge butcher chopper ($119). I also like the forceful curvature of the Hand forged Suji blade ($99.95), the serious square angles of The Classic Forge to Table Blade ($124.95), and the somewhat murderous intensity of the Long Handled Knife with 8″ Jero Blade ($105). Everyone can make quick work of a coconut, pumpkin, or chicken that needs a spatula. Sometimes a person just needs to have a big, heavy, stupid knife.
Free your loved one from having to carry a free duffel bag with a subscription by offering them something to whet their appetite even more: a Puppets and Puppets. chocolate chip cookie bag ($425), a McDonald’s crossed fries ($59.90), a Incredibly realistic basket of cherries ($428.97), a Judith Leiber pepperoni minaudiere pizza ($5,695), a double cheeseburger with sequins ($128) by Betsey Johnson, Anya Hindmarch Heinz Ketchup Tote Bag ($895). A baguette bag ($38), not the designer kind, but the kind to carry real baguettes. TO soft pretzel bag ($42) with mustard zipper pull. TO bonito-tuna clutch ($56), for truly special formal affairs. TO fully articulated lobster ($34.95).
A drink and something to drink
As I mentioned before, a foolproof Christmas gift is a bottle of something nice plus a nice glass to drink it from. This year, give someone a bottle of Rum Paranubes Oaxaca ($44.50)—cane liquor, as it is known regionally, made from wildly fermented sugar cane juice grown on the farm of master distiller José Luis Carrera. “It has character for the pound,” said Ashtin Berry, the bartender, sommelier and activist, when he introduced me to the drink. “It’s reminiscent of an agricole, for rum nerds, and, for newbies, know that it’s some good shit that won’t leave you hungover.” Wrap it up with a set of Lexington Glassworks hand blown glasses ($40 each), clad in silver leaves that resemble distant mountains or the shadows of waves crashing on a sandy shore. For the most abstemious, a bottle of Non3 ($30), a zero-proof drink with notes of cinnamon and yuzu and a slightly tannic finish, paired with a Massimo Lunardon small and rare type cup ($155): Not its official name, but it’s certainly an accurate description of its strange little guy.
Win with cans
Helena, help me!
Send your questions by email about food, dining and anything food related, and Helen may respond in a future newsletter.
There’s something so satisfyingly efficient about food delivered in a metal container, and canned fish is just a starting point. Could you give someone a huge cylinder of Bonilla fries in sight ($58), for example, or a small cube of french sweets ($18.30), or a three-liter can of butter tunisian olive oil ($40.99) that will look beautiful on your kitchen counter. If you have canned fish lovers to appeal to, and they’re of the rarest, best school (which, let’s be honest, pretty much all canned fish are), they’ll be delighted with Fangst. Faroese salmon gently flavored with lemon verbena and sea buckthorn ($12), Ati Manel pickled mussels ($10), or the dramatic and almost extraterrestrial Minnow. snails in brine ($14.99), maybe with a Staub cast iron snail pan ($99.99) to cook them.
Picky Dining as an Art Form
There are those of us who prepare random meals for friends and hope that the sheer force of sociable affection will fill in the aesthetic and social gaps. Then there are the dining room artists, who carefully map out every detail: the guest list, the menu, the table decorations, the conversation topics, the caftan in which to greet guests, communicating a precise balance between elegance and insouciance. . These people know that hosting is a matter of skill and strategy, not chance. Help this person in their efforts with a leather table plan ($175), which will allow for the ideal seating arrangement, a set of bow shoulder cocktail napkins ($312 for four), or a some hand blown Murano glass mushrooms ($595 for three), just to add a little sparkle to the table. Your person probably already has a large collection of tablecloths, but it’s impossible to have too many. dazzling block printed flowers ($78), modernist touches of color (from $75), or embroidered trompe-l’oeil table arrangements ($1,200). Intriguing cutlery reliably sparks creative joy: utensils with red faux coral handles ($72 for a set of five), artist Natalia Criado gold plated hands ($180 per piece), Pan Am onboard cutlery ($63.16 for twenty-four pieces), or translucent neon green waving tadpoles ($150 for two sets of six). Every good host knows that a huge flower arrangement in the middle of the table is an obstacle to conversation; Decorations should be below the eye line and spaced between guests: a set of miniature rattan vases ($55 for three), say, or green glass vases ($49.99 for twenty-two) to fill with flowers and scatter nicely from here to there. Discerning dining doesn’t have to be limited to the home: offer a colorful and clever picnic basket ($498) or a vintage “picnic ball” from the seventies ($45): A complete set of colorful plastic salad plates, dinner plates, bowls and cups, neatly fitted into a modern sphere.
A bowl that looks like heaven
Just looking at a piece of Haand Ceramics Cloudware Line causes a feeling of calm. The bowls and cups are made with blue and white marbled clay; The result, organic, full of fluidity and movement, recalls a morning sky streaked with clouds (pieces from $25).
A whole Durian, in a gift box
A whole durian, in a gift box. ($134). Be a hero.
The prices listed above are accurate at the time of publication, but may fluctuate over time..