This holiday season, you can bake cookies for your friends and family; you could watercolor landscapes on postcards; you can knit oven mitts or squeeze flowers or compose clever little fruit poems and handwrite them on scraps of vintage wallpaper. There really is no such thing as a personal touch, especially in a year where the personal touch has been hard to come by. Then again, you can always just buy things from the stores. It may be less loving and intimate than a kombucha scoby that you named after their favorite child. But if you’re considering giving gifts, it always helps that the gift actually exists – and if you’re like me, your creative ambitions are far greater than your ability to actually create, especially in (ahem) those uncertainties. time. So here is a collection of beautiful things that would make lovely gifts, mostly on the edible theme or the adjacent edible. Whatever you decide to donate, I suggest you throw in a sweatshirt, coffee mug, or baseball cap from a favorite restaurant (yours or the recipient’s), to help those essential small businesses and their workers stay afloat during the difficult winter ahead. Search each restaurant’s websites and social media accounts to see what kind of memorabilia they have, or check out sites like Merch4 Relief or Chan’s care, where you can find aggregations of material from restaurants across the country. (Nota Bene: It’s unlikely that any of them will arrive before Christmas. It’s OK Time is a misconception, especially this year.)
New York writers reflect on the ups and downs of the year.
Eleven feet of salami on a cable drum
“Making sausages is the result of an efficient butchering”: I came across these eight words several years ago on the Wikipedia page of “Sausage”, and since then I have considered it an ideal phrase. both concise and graceful. There is something equally appealing about this Bavarian Meat Wheel, which consists of 3.5 meters of a slender salami, wrapped, effectiveness of all efficiencies, around a wooden spit (around $ 18). The product page advertises that it “tastes really good” and is a great gift “for all real men.” . . whether at the pool, lake or beer garden. That’s right, but I would like to think that people of any gender could appreciate so many sausages. One downside: It ships from Germany, which decreases your chances of arriving before Christmas. One advantage: a DIY version could easily be fashioned with a few bundles of salami whips (about $ 12) and a coil of cord ($ 8.36).
The shortage of paper towels this year was a sign of the universe
Whether your loved one eats their meals at a dining table, on the sofa, or over the sink, cloth napkins will make their experience more enjoyable. Bolé Road Embroidered Ethiopian Cotton Towels ($ 95 for a set of four) are washing machine friendly and beautifully geometric; for the friend who is trying to turn his three hundred square foot apartment into a rustic Provencal farmhouse out of sheer will, try Ecru linen set from Food52 ($ 85 for four), lined with blue stripes. Even a plain cotton set will add liveliness to the table: I like these simple poplin napkins ($ 15.92 for eight, on sale), which come in cool colors for young people these days like dusty pink and mustard yellow. Or, depending on the nature of your relationship, just buy your loved one a set of five hundred shop towels ($ 94.99 for white, which is the only color worth getting, so you can spray them with bleach like a real housewife throwing a glass of Chardonnay) , the thin cotton rectangles designed for heavy industrial use. When Americans then sink into an irrational panic and overload our paper supply chains, whoever holds the durable fabric household items will hold all the cards.
Many varieties of bananas
Gros Michel (“Big Mike”) was the main banana cultivar until the 1950s, when a fungal wilt swept through a large swath of the world’s banana plantations. Within a few years, Gros Michels had all but disappeared from the market, and virtually all bananas marketed in the United States were of the Cavendish variety – less floral, less sweet, less delicious, but more disease resistant. If that knowledge fills you with a great sense of loss – if you yearn for the days of bananas with flesh as bright and dazzling as the sun – South Florida’s fruit and vegetable merchant Miami Fruit is here for you. help. His website boasts eighteen varieties of fresh bananas available to ship nationwide, including the vanilla Nam Wah, fluffy fleshy prayer hands and, of course, the long lost Fat Michel. If you can’t pick just one, spring for a pack of banana varieties ($ 57 and up), the Fruit Basket of Kings.
There is nothing wrong with wanting beautiful things
After a year spent largely within the confines of our homes, I hope that we are finally ready, as a culture, to reject the idea – sufficient, hateful, ultimately misogynistic – that getting pleasure from beautiful objects is in. somehow frivolous. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to look for the salt and find it not in a tattered box or in a blocked shaker but, rather, an olive tree cellar ($ 39.50), with its mesmerizing knots and whorls? Wouldn’t it be pleasant decant your daily liter of seltzer a faceted pink pitcher ($ 115), and sip it from a cup delicately tinted with green ($ 28)? Stand to look far ahead Jungalow Peach Woven Fruit Bowl ($ 75), finally reaching out to grab an apple? To rest an afternoon Martini on a Portuguese linen cocktail napkin in the shape of a fat-bellied pink elephant with a small swirling navel ($ 84 for four)? I can’t think of a better way to spice up her evening ice cream sundae than to spice it up. Martini glass Helle Mardahl that looks like an alien marshmallow ($ 420) using a ceramic spoon ($ 18) handmade by Aleisha Ellis, utility items, or a more dramatic counterweight to the drudgery of setting up than chopping garlic abstract geometrically cutting boards ($ 931 for a set of four) which when hung on the wall looks like a topographic map imagined by Ellsworth Kelly.
The saturated and glamorous absurdism of “Toiletpaper,” a biannual magazine produced by Italian artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, lends its exaggerated aesthetic exceptionally well to household items. Of course, they offer a duvet set printed all over with heavily sprinkled spaghetti ($ 330); to supercharge the effect, add a match spaghetti candle ($ 70).
A neat vintage French wine jug
In the early fifties, American singer Peggy Lee recorded “Apples, Peaches and Cherries”, a jazzy ballad, written by Abel Meeropol, warning young women against the erotic attraction of fruit sellers. It was such a success that in 1958 Sacha Distel, a French singer with a silky voice who until then was best known for being Brigitte Bardot’s boyfriend, released his own version, which soared to the top of the charts and cemented his career. as a superstar. Distel, alas, had never settled the case with Meeropol, who sued Distel and won what Meeropol’s son Robert (who, along with his brother Michael, was adopted by Meeropol after the federal execution of their parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg) described in his 2003 memoir as “a godsend”. The song’s chorus, a very jazzy “scooby-dooby-oo”, provided Distel with the title of his version – “Scoubidou” – which the French adopted as the name of the then popular plastic thread trade, in the United States, as a thong weave. Rather than using colored threads to make key chains or bracelets, in the tradition of summer camps, the French wrapped them around glass wine jugs in kaleidoscopic patterns. They are therefore fresh. You can find vintage scoubidou bottles in almost any French flea or antique market; if that’s not a viable buying plan by Christmas, dive into the massive stock available online, at fancy housewares stores or in online marketplaces like Etsy (prices vary; beware of international shipping costs).
Turn on your pantry
We’re living in the golden age of great pantry products with compelling stories, delivered in beautiful packaging, great for accidentally leaving Instagram food posts in the background, for the optimal oh-this-old moment. -thing. They are also great for cooking. Some of my favorites lately include Pie vinegars (and their candied lemon paste, if you can manage to grab a jar while they’re in stock); the Mala spice blend from Fly By Jing, a warm-fiery-sweet blend that’s brilliant all over; Chef while the dark is smoky-fiery dry dry rub; Shaquanda hot sauces, made by the iconic Brooklyn drag queen (I prefer the Mx. Green Sass strain, but they’re all terrific); LA pastry chef Max Boonthanakit’s Boon Pepper Oil, which increases the focus on the now ubiquitous condiment with the addition of anchovies; and Omnivorous salt, a blend of fennel and cayenne pepper seasonings whose packaging improbably bears the endorsement of Werner Herzog: “Congratulations Angelo! Finally, your salt is on the market and I no longer need to steal from your kitchen. “