Saturday, December 01, 2007

Obsessor's gift guide

Ok it is December, I am no longer in denial about the speed with which major holidays are approaching. For those of you in search of a gift for an obsessor in your life, or putting together your wish list to noodge those giving you gifts in the right direction, here are some ideas. This is stuff I'd like to receive if I didn't already have it--I don't think there is anything here over $20 and many are appropriately sized for stocking stuffing:

Kitchen:
  • Good tongs--I can't tell you how many times I've been at the house of a good cook and found that they somehow survive without a pair of tongs.
  • Roasted walnut oil (or hazelnut oil if you have a hazelnut freak on your hands. Me, I'm a walnut girl.) Makes the best vinaigrette dressing ever. I like the stuff from La Tourangelle and recently saw some of it hiding on a shelf at TJ Maxx of all places.
  • Pastry cloth and rolling pin cover--for making pie crust. I love this thing. Cook's Illustrated recently disparaged it--they prefer parchment paper--but with a thorough flouring of the cloth and cover, I have never had pastry stick to it. Of course Cook's Illustrated also mentioned that they wash the covers every time they use them to which I say--Ha! You don't have to worry about rancid bits of pie dough festering away on the thing between uses if you flour it thoroughly enough that the dough never gets a chance to stick. I sometimes do give mine a shake out the back door to get rid of excess flour before I fold it back up and store it in its ziplock baggie. But wash it? Too OCD for me.
  • Microplane zester--I've been contemplating getting a second one since I use my current one so much and sometimes have to wash it three times in an evening when lemon zest, Parmesan, and nutmeg all need to be produced. And for God's sake, get the one with the handle so your favorite cook doesn't grate off their palm.

Reading:
  • The Hummingbird's Daughter (in paperback!)--I raved about this book here.
  • The Welsh Girl--I raved about this book here.
  • The Goose Girl--And this one I think I forgot to rave about, but it is for those of you who are nurturing a young reading freak. I've always liked retellings of the classics and this one takes a Grimm tale and turns it into a compelling story about a young woman who learns to define who she is, rather than let others define her.
  • If your recipient can handle potentially tragic/depressing, yet really beautiful, literature as a holiday gift--some people are not so grateful to get a book that will make them cry--there is Half of a Yellow Sun and Flight.

Knitting/Crafting:
  • A skein of Crack-silk haze is a luxury that can be used in many ways. There are 33 colors and enough yardage in one skein to make a wispy scarf, or use it to make an ethereal trim on a chunkier sweater.
  • A subscription to Craft magazine or Interweave Knits--if you have a crafter who isn't addicted to the web then these paper magazines are pretty great. Not really so necessary for we blog addicted types...
  • Bias tape maker--this little thingy is fun! You cut strips of fabric on the bias and feed it through this gadget and it comes out ready to iron into perfect bias tape. Now I'm trying to think of what exactly I plan to do with 10 yards of bias tape....

Writing:
For chrissake just give any writer in your life a little time. That's the only gift that I'm asking for from my Mother in Law. She has been kid-tending while I take my Friday pastry class this autumn; as I'm not taking any cooking classes next semester, I'm hoping she'll keep kid-tending while I use my Friday to write. God knows, other than this blog, this year has not been a productive one on the writing front for me.

2 comments:

Mary Jean said...

Tongs are the best. I use them as much for reaching things on high shelves as I do for cooking. Microplaners are also the best.

TeacherPatti said...

I just used parchment paper for the first time (at the behest of Cook's Illustrated, no less) and now I am wondering where it's been all my life. I've never tried pastry cloth though...sounds like it works, despite CI's fussing. (CI fusses about weird things, sometimes)