Gift Guide 2020: A Bit Seedy

December 10, 2020

I’ve made a seed suggestion every year since I first began these Gift Guides. And I still think that anything from Hudson Valley Seed Company, with its beautiful packaging, makes a truly great gift.

But this year is different; seed sales are soaring, home gardens are burgeoning, and people who’ve never put their hands in the dirt before are getting in on the fun.

This year I’m suggesting seeds from Row Seven, a company whose organic seeds were developed, in the United States, simply for flavor. You won’t find more delicious vegetables anywhere.

The company offers a wide range of beautiful produce, like the purple peas at the top and the amazing beets just above. There is also this koginut squash and lovely potatoes (a very rewarding home crop).

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Gift Guide 2020: Menu Mania

December 9, 2020

I’ve written about Vintage Menus before – but never have they seemed more relevant than at this moment, when restaurants are so terribly threatened.

If you have a restaurant lover on your list, you’ll surely find something among the hundreds of vintage offerings to make them smile. And if you don’t, simply treat yourself to a walk down memory lane as you peruse these paeans to the past.

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Gift Guide 2020: Hot Stuff

December 8, 2020

If you have urban friends now living in rural areas, chances are they’re really missing the joy of eating in Chinese restaurants.

They’re probably muddling along, doing their best to recreate their favorite dishes. And they could probably use some help.

Here are two of my favorite resources. Mala Market has a wide range of Sichuan products – and they’ve put together a really wonderful complete Sichuan pantry kit. Any hot food fan would be thrilled to receive it.

If you’re looking for something more modest, Fly By Jing makes a superb group of sauces. Their Chili Crisp is a long time favorite – but they too offer a wide range of fabulous products.

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Gift Guide 2020: Warming Trend

December 7, 2020

What restaurants are going through is truly dire, and it’s up to those of us who love them to help them survive.

With that in mind, I found myself eating dinner outside with a few friends last week. It was a balmy 38 degrees on the closed off street, but we bundled up and snuggled under the heaters.

We had a very pleasant time. Still, I wished I’d brought a blanket. In fact, I wished I’d brought this blanket from King Restaurant. That way I would have been helping two restaurants at the same time.

There are plenty of beautiful, portable blankets on the market, and any one of them would make a great gift for a dedicated restaurant-goer. But buying one from a restaurant makes the gift that much more meaningful.

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Gift Guide 2020: Bring Home the Bacon

December 6, 2020

What is it about bacon? Americans go so crazy for the stuff that we bought more than 861 pounds this year. (That’s almost five billion dollars in bacon sales.) If you’ve got someone who contributed to that number, there are dozens of silly gifts you can offer them. Let’s begin with these bacon flavored toothpicks. A perfect stocking stuffer.

Then there’s bacon-scented soap. There are many different brands to choose from, and they’re selling out fast. My favorite, which looks just like bacon and comes packaged so realistically you’re tempted to toss it into a skillet, has already sold out.

But don’t worry; there are plenty of other possibities. You might want to consider this bacon-scented lipgloss.

The truth is, there are dozens of other bacon options, from face masks that let you breathe in the scent of bacon all day long to candles, bacon pillows, bacon scarves, bacon beard oil…. And that barely scratches the surface; if you want to bring home the bacon, there are plenty of ways to do it.

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