I’m feeling the holidays this year. Not in the red and silver tchotchke sense, but for the cheer. The lightness of being. The thoughtfulness that seems on the slight uptick, even in errands and work and travel. Of course, it goes without saying that LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE STUFF and consumerism = yuck, but I’m putting cynicism on the shelf this season. I’m angsty all year about society and technology and social injustice and and and and and... the list of things induce a palm to forehead gestures is long. In any case, the whole gift thing has gotten pretty polarizing over the years, but I’m going on a hunch that most of us will find ourselves in the position of giving and receiving this year. Here are a few good feel-good ideas for humans who like to read, eat, and savor the moment.
Yotam Ottolenghi: a master of the craft, in every sense of the word. I finally got my copy of Plenty More –– it’s the kind of cookbook you get through and think, does it get better than this? I think this collection is the perfect gift for a cook who loves daring and true recipes.
I’ve been head over heels for these gorgeous, American-made knives from New West Knifeworks since 2012. I send the Superbread knife out as gifts to clients, and my mom has requested a Santoku under the tree this year.
This “everything” bag from Winter Session, a colorado company, doubles as my market tote and travel bag. Pricey, but indestructible. I’ve had mine for two years and I anticipate it will last another decade.
Not Without Salt Cookie Mix… Does this even need introducing? The inimitable Ashley Rodriguez is at it again with this killer cookie chocolate chip cookie mix. I ordered two and went through them both in a week. Yeah, THAT good.
If a fire came roaring up over our hill, I’d grab a hard-drive of photos and our It’s OK pennant from Secret Holiday Co. It has hung in our 22nd Street bedroom, St. Paul living room, and now lives in our mountain kitchen. I’ve gifted the Be Brave and Yes banners before and still will yet. Simple daily reminders that, yes, life is crazy, but things are pretty darn good.
If it’s possible to choose a favorite work of Anne Lamott, it’s HELP THANKS WOW. A quick, soul-quenching read that leaves me feeling like I just took a giant exhale.
Quitokeeto Modern Steamer, where utility and elegance coalesce. Just like Heidi, shop owner, herself, I appreciate this tool for it’s understated beauty and practical application.
Heritage, by Sean Brock. I became a mega-fan of Brock’s after seasons 1 & 2 of Mind of a Chef, then planned a quick trip to Charleston to visit McCrady’s and Husk (heaven is his “On Top of Ol’ Sierra Madre” cocktail) and experience the way he honors and preserves the culinary history of the South.
Level with yourself about how many bags of coffee you really go through in a month and get fresh-roasted parcels delivered at your doorstep before you run out. My friends at Brown Water Coffee donate a fraction of each purchase to sustainable water projects in Nicaragua, how cool is that?
Is there a better way to sip whiskey than with a fancy hunk of ice? I think not.
I’d love to share my experience at Mama O’s (that’s Oprah Winfrey) Life You Want Tour a few weeks back, but I’m still marinating in the feel-good vibes I walked away with. In the meantime, I think her new release “Things I Know For Sure” makes a great stocking stuffer or addition to a homemade gift for your favorite girlfriends.
I’m in love with this irreverent, quirky 13×19″ print that reads: “I eat no gluten, sugar, dairy, saturated fat, or processed foods… I do, however eat men, women, and small children.” I have a few others from Retrowhale that complete the series. Still trying to figure out the best place to hang these in the new place.
Photos shouldn’t live on your computer. Artifact Uprising makes it easy to honor memories shared and captured with photo books, prints, and cards. Bonus: the folks behind the brand are the REAL deal. We were gifted wedding prints earlier this year, which I adore, and plan on paying it forward to my sister-in-law when she gets her photos in. AU is offering Happyolks readers 10% off any purchase with the following Discount code: BLGHY14.
These Lunar Calendars are for your “woo woo” friend or family member. Both beautiful in aesthetic and chock-a-block with astral insight, I love these calendars as they remind us that life, like the earth, rises and falls, waxes and wanes, and that there is always a new chance to try again.
Produce as a stocking stuffer? I think yes. I love the preserves from Mm Local, locally grown, organic products from Colorado farmers harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness. I can’t live without the spicy mustard or kale kimchi.
Get yourself (or a loved one that you see often) a turntable and play the 180′ South album while cooking. I love the balance of soulful, meaty, and light songs and the energy they create in the background while entertaining. Sample here.
The 9 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven is my kitchen workhorse. Expensive, yes, but wholeheartedly worth the investment and sure to make anyone’s eyes light up wrapped up under the tree. From soups to braising, to quick sautes, there is nothing this sucker can’t do.