The Gift Guide: Day Two

December 2, 2011

Vintage Cookbooks

Old cookbooks are the perfect present for a passionate cook, and I can’t think of anything more fun than spending a day browsing a vintage cookbook store to pick out exactly the right book for each of my friends. My latest discovery is Amber Unicorn in Las Vegas, a surprising place with thousands of old cookbooks (and wonderful proprietors); if you can’t make the trip, they’ve got a delightful website. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, even if you’re not in a shopping mood. The wonderful Omnivore Books in San Francisco is a lovely little store with a website so dangerously delicious that I have to limit my visits. You’re sure to come away with some fascinating book you never even knew existed.  Bonnie Slotnik Cookbooks, on the other hand, is dangerous only if you go there in person. Bonnie’s inventory is amazing, but her website’s not much.  On the other hand, few people are as knowledgable about old cookbooks, and when she invites you to call and talk, she really means it. 



The Gift Guide: Day One

December 1, 2011

It’s time to think about gifts again. Last year’s gift guide was so popular that I’m going to post gift suggestions every day until Christmas. Like last year, nobody is paying for product placement; these are just a few things I’d be very happy to find beneath my Christmas tree.

Last year’s guide began with pork. So let’s consider it a tradition. Here’s another pork product that I love. 

Benton’s Aged Whole Country Ham

Country ham is one of America’s glories, and at a time when everyone’s falling for prosciutto and jamon iberico, it’s time we appreciated what we have right here. People are making country hams all over this country, but I like Allan Benton’s best. Dry, complex, a little bit funky, it tastes wonderful on biscuits or sliced into scrambled eggs, and nothing looks more impressive on a party table.  At around fifteen pounds, it’s a real steal, a gift that will keep on giving for months. But order now. The waiting list is long.