2011 holiday gift guide

frozen apples, thanksgiving storm

Friends, it’s December! Which means that the holidays are imminent. Which means that there are all kinds of gift guide permeating the interwebs. Cool Gifts for Dad? Gifts Every Geek Will Love? What Not To Give Your Husband/Wife? [Hint: not a vacuum cleaner.] Currently, I’m searching for “Gifts For a Weather And Climate Enthusiast Who Also Loves Aviation And Politics”. If you have a list to send my way, I’ll be much obliged. For the moment, I’m still trying to memorize various cloud names: alto-stratus, cumulo-nimbus, etc. etc.

However, should you be looking for “Gifts for Kitchen Geeks” or “Gifts for the Culinary Inclined”, look no further. I’m going to attempt to help you out. Emphasis on attempt. Here goes. And happy giving!


“Brooklyn Butchers” Butcher Block:
I’ve been sighing over these for a year now. Beautiful, handmade butcher blocks. They are end-grain, made from walnut or cherry, lightly oiled, and of sturdy build. These will last you forever and are guaranteed to be beloved by anyone you bestow them upon. Bonus: they are handmade in Brooklyn – tres cool!


For those folks who are obsessed with all things coffee, the Chemex Coffee Maker might just make that superlative cup of coffee. There’s no bitter aftertaste, sediment, or contact with plastic – all while working without electricity or moving parts. We even registered for one! I should also add that I want one of everything at Kaufmann Mercantile, one of the stores that carries this contraption. When they emailed me early this year about their store front, I had to hold myself back from ordering everything. And I had to wait a whole year to tell you about them – I am one patient cookie!


Roost Apron from Terrain:
I have this thing for cute aprons. And by cute I don’t mean frilly, flowery, or lacy. The ones that steal my heart are more rustic and austere looking. And the apron from Terrain above is one of the most handsome ones I’ve seen. Of course, this is coming from a girl with six aprons and counting. But, like with shoes or handbags, one can never have too many.


Enameled Bowls, Serving Spoons, Etc.
Another item from KM. I’m currently obsessed with all things enameled. And this set is just darling – white enamel looks good with any kitchen style, decor, or color scheme.


Simon Pearce Ceramics:
I recommended Simon Pearce pie dishes last year, and they saw my post and generously sent me one of the pie dishes. That was amazingly thoughtful and totally unnecessary, but I was very grateful. This year, when Andrew and I got engaged, we registered for dishes and ceramics there. We loved the middle oval bowl, which we ended up getting as an engagement gift from Andrew’s brother and sister-in-law. It has a beautiful, simple, classic look – it already seems to act like an heirloom and will be beloved for years, nay decades, to come.


Vintage Dishes:
I think that just about everything at High Street Market is just striking. I’ve bought many gifts for friends and family in the past and this month, it’s featuring a stunning porcelain platter that will be a lovely addition to any home. But then again, just about everything there would.


Rustic Table Accessories:
We are not fine china people, Andrew and I. Which is probably why we skipped the matching 16 place setting flower print on fine bone china, and registered for some less fragile plates, bowls, and other dishes at Heath Ceramics. Besides dishes, they offer all kinds of beautiful, lovingly-made things for the home, among which are these elegant Commune Napkins. Yes, friends, we registered for these too. These will weather and age beautifully, and will last you forever.


Rae Dunn:
My future belle mere (aka MIL) gave us these Rae Dunn napkin rings and now all I want to do is throw a dinner party. Aren’t these adorable? Whimsical and perfectly capturing the job of gathering at a table, these are really, really pretty. Don’t you agree?


French Market Tote:
I’ve been wanting one ever since my first trip to Paris, years ago. I’m always jealous of all the ladies at the farmers’ market with these, and this year, I’m totally getting myself one. It holds all your groceries in place – the rigid structure keep things from sliding around and getting squished. And did I mention it looks so Parisian-chic? My favorite ones that I found are from an Australian site here. Alternatively, should you want something plus Americain, Lands’ End totes, in my humble opinion, leave other competition in the dark. With inside pockets, key clip, and a sturdy construction, it makes carrying groceries (or anything else for that matter) a more structure affair than if you were to just throw them into a plastic bag. Environmental awareness AND unbruised produce – a win-win in my book!


  • David

    I like those market totes as well. They’re nice and slender so you can wind your way through the stalls, and the shoulder strap is great when you’ve bought more than you intended (!)

  • Lys

    I have been looking for a good cutting board for ages! My Giada cutting board has warped and I’d like to retire it to a serving plate/cheese board. Thank you!

  • Anita

    I’ll have you know I would love a vacuum cleaner. The one I have just sprays kitty litter across my ankles…

  • Molly

    A visit to Washington DC? You two can visit the Air & Space Museum, and do a tour of Capital Hill. I think those will all be free. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is there, too. Not sure if they give tours, but it doesn’t hurt to call and see. NYC is so close to DC so you could really get there by plane, train, automobile and bus.

  • Radish

    Molly – Andrew has worked at NOAA and lived in DC so he has seen those things a million times, which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t do it again because he could live there! Plus we’ve family and lots of friends there so we love to come and visit the city. Great idea!!

  • Javi

    Had a bit of a question in regards to the butcher’s block. How easy is it to maintain over the years? We’ve had a bamboo cutting board for oh… about 4 years, tried to maintain it with oil and such but I recently found a crack in it *sadness*. We’re definitely looking for something that’ll last a while, especially if its going to cost a pretty penny.


  • Radish

    Javi – if you don’t wash the board in really hot water, use soap sparingly (when needed) and oil on a regular basis, you should have your butcher block last you many many many years. My friends’ boards have been around for a long time, and they take a lot of wear and tear every day. Also, never put it in the dishwasher, even if it says that it’s ok to do so. :)

  • art and lemons

    This is a great list! I’ve been thinking about getting a Chemex coffee maker since I broke my french press but have been putting it off. As for those vintage dishes and linens, oh, must photograph with them!

  • Amanda

    Lovely gift ideas! And btw, thank you for the gin fizz post! My goodness, so tasty. As for your climate enthusiast…he/ she would probably rather enjoy the book “Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller”. Especially if he/ she is a bit of a globalism nerd.

  • Radish

    Amanda – I have a sneaky suspicion it’s already on Andrew’s bookshelf. He’s quite a bibliophile. But I’ll check! And thank you!!

  • The Cozy Herbivore

    That tote is divine– I have so many reusable bags from supermarkets that are so flimsy and lightweight– all my CSA veggies tend to get crush before I get them home! I must hurry and put it on my Christmas list!

    Love the vintage plates as well– great gift guide!

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  • cooking blog reader

    We registered for dishes, everyday drinking and wine glasses, and many more things over at Heath last year and they are the best gifts we could have received. Besides my mixer, big pots, coffee maker, and a few other basics, we returned all of our registry items from Crate and Barrel. While I’m truly grateful for any gift we received, I almost wish we had only registered at Heath because many of our guest were not familiar and often chose the other sites over Heath.

  • Radish

    Desai – we already got quite a few of the Heath things. We didn’t bother registering at C&B because they didn’t have what we wanted/needed. Sadly, my demands for cookware are really high end :( on the bright side, we have a copper jam pot which I can’t wait to use in the summer!

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  • Tim Watkins

    I am Mr.Tim and would like to order(Butcher Blocks)and what would be the price for each unit so that i can Quote you with the Quantity i want to order..Also what types of credit card do you accept as payment..?Thank you and reply ASAP

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