Here are some gift ideas for the culinarily inclined or just generally awesome people…basically this is a list of what I want and therefore think everyone else must want as well or things I already have and think everyone else absolutely needs.
1. Coltellerie Berti Knives: I recently gave myself quite a lovely gift of new knives. Not just any knives though. The most beautiful knives I have ever seen (and they actually work too!!). A whole set of knives is an expensive gift to give, but it is the perfect gift to receive! The Berti family has been making these knives for 100 years and seem to be pretty darn good at it.
2. Coltellerie Berti Cake Server: If you don’t want to dive right into the knife set, the cake server in that style is really beautiful and the best part is that it will still get used whether the cake is homemade or store-bought.
3. Wind & Willow Salad Bowls: These bowls are just merry and bright.
4. Riess Enamel Colander: I love the look of this colander and who wouldn’t want to wash their fruit in such style!
5. Riess Enamelware Set: Why not make it a set with the ladle and slotted spoon?
6. English Steel Counterweight Scale: Ok, I might be alone on this one but I think this vintage scale is really cool. I would keep it out and use it as a fruit bowl. Fun fact: a lot of bakers refuse to enter the digital age and still use this kind of scale because it never breaks or needs batteries!
7. Cookbooks: Cookbooks can be a great gift but only if you put some effort into it. There are a lot of really terrible and mediocre cookbooks out there, not to mention the internet, so a cookbook really has to be more than the sum of its parts – for me its about trust and knowing that any recipe I pick from my favorite book will be spectacular. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Homesick Texan – Lisa Fain – Great Southwestern food that is easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.
Baking Handbook – Martha Stewart – the basics, where I look when I want to make a sugar cookie or an angel food cake.
Baking With Julia – Dori Greenspan + Julia Child – more advanced basics (ie french basics) like croissants or genoise cake.
Whole Grain Breads – Peter Reinhart – for those that make bread, Peter Reinhart is a master and this is his most recent book.
The Bread Bible – Rose Levy Bernbaum – every kind of bread you can imagine and then some.
Tartine Bread – Chad Roberts – to be honest I do not really bake from this book (because the recipes call for a starter which I am too lazy to make) but it is the most beautiful book and gives great technical insight into the making of bread.
The Art of Mexican Cooking – Diana Kennedy – you have to be somewhat familiar with Mexican food because there are no pictures but Diana Kennedy is THE authority on authentic Mexican cooking.
The Art of Simple Food – Alice Waters – the same says it all.
The Art of Simple Food II – Alice Waters – clearly I liked the first one enough to get the second.
Japanese Farm Food – Nancy Singleton Hachisu – this is an incredible book written by an American woman who was traveling in Japan at age 20, intending to stay for a year but met and fell in love with a farmer and never left. She has spent the last 20 years farming and cooking.
Jerusalem – Yotam Ottolenghi + Sami Tamimi – delicious food and beautiful pictures.
Plenty – Yotam Ottolenghi – the vegetarian complement to Jerusalem.
8. If you are just too “millenial” for actual books, there are plenty of new publications that are pretty enough to be coffee table books. A gift subscription is the gift that keeps on giving and there is something for every kind of foodie.