07 November 2007

Foodie Gifts

I am going to be a total slacker on this post and did not do any research but took a page from what I am familiar with in my life. My fiance and I don't consider ourselves to be serious foodies, but we know what we like. We like to make meals with wholesome, high-quality ingredients. We enjoy dining at establishments that use as many local resources as possible and are locally-owned. So here are a few things that I love that you may consider for gifts for a couple you know.
CSA stands for community supported agriculture and the jist is that you buy a full-share or a half-share of the harvest at the beginning of the growing season from an organic farm or a group of farms. We pick up our half-share weekly from mid-November to early-April and get strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, honey, and an assortment of veggies. It is fun and challenging because the items are fresh and we don't always know what everything is. We are educated about what can grow locally and the farms provide events to invite CSA members to see exactly where their food comes from. To find a CSA near you or near a couple you are considering gifting with a share go to localharvest.org.

Bwahahahaha, we were surprised to find this huge cabbage in our box one day!

This was our first week's share last season. There was always a variety.
  • Slow Food Membership
The International Slow Food Association is the lead organization for an eco-gastronoimic movement to take the culinary experience back to the table with local, wholesome cuisine instead of the fast food and fast paced way that many of us are getting used to. I first learned of Slow Food when I heard an NPR story about the Terre Madre congress they held in Italy in 2006 where people of all kinds of culinary backgrounds were brought together to discuss their methods. They included people from waning indigenous cultures as well as high-profile chefs all showing their skills with food preparation.

You can join your local chapter (or convivium) when you sign up. Just research your local group first. I joined our Miami group in hopes of going to simple potlucks and helping with the gardening program they volunteer with in our local elementary schools but was a bit disappointed this year when most group activities were pricey dining events. Not all conviviums are like this though so do your research because there are a lot of local groups that do potlucks and share their culinary skills with each other.
  • Cooking School
I love small cooking schools for traveling. I was at a conference in New Orleans in 2006 and went to the New Orleans School of Cooking. It wasn't a hands-on school but it has piqued my interest to try cooking school experiences when I travel. If the couple is going on a trip or if there is something local to them consider a cooking experience for them. We are going to cooking school on our honeymoon in Italy at Organic Tuscany for the week.

  • Local Wine
There are wineries everywhere now! I have tasted decent wine in Montana, Oregon, and even here in south Florida. We live by Schnebly Winery, the southernmost winery in the continental United States, and have enjoyed their tastings and tours. This winery began when the owners had a lot of lychee fruit left over that wasn't fit to sell to their produce clients and someone suggested that they press it and ferment it. Now they have a line of six fruit varietal wines including lychee, carambola, passion fruit. Gift the couple you are thinking of some bottles and a winery tour.

  • Cookbook
There are so many cookbooks out there based on a variety of diets. My favorite gift book in this genre right now is "Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen" by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry. Only half of the book is recipes but the other half covers food issues ranging from additives to environmental justice. There is a lot of information about food systems here and how their ecology relates to what we put in our bodies but it isn't written in a way that makes it hard to read.

  • Kitchen stuff
Toaster convection ovens allow foods to cook quicker and at lower temperatures

Slow cookers are efficient at cooking meals using less energy than stove ovens

Bamboo kitchen ware is sustainable, strong, easy on cookware... think spatulas, cutting boards, salt keeper, etc.

Cloth napkins, towels, aprons. You can even make this stuff for the couple

Herb starter pack if they don't already garden or live in small quarters that don't allow an outdoor garden

Reliable cookware like a cast iron skillet or copper if they know how to take care of it. It can last generations.

Recycled glassware

There are a lot of "green" products out there so I don't feel a need to list where to get these items. Just think out of the box if you are looking for a unique gift or the couple isn't registered. Does anyone have any other kind of food-related gifts they are thinking of that they want or are giving?

1 comment:

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