It's Gift Guide Time, Baby!
Here are a bunch of our favorite things
I always find myself in a mad dash to finish our gift guide, because 1) I am an obsessive shopper and 2) I myself love gift guides, so I want ours to be as useful as possible. You’ll find textiles, gadgets, books, tableware, and — of course — food here. Enjoy, shop small whenever you can, and happy Thanksgiving!
The best handmade salad bowl
Sawdust Studio & Turnery was started by Suzanne Lenzer — a Bittman Team alum! — and her husband, Ken Rath (look how cute they are!). All of their work is turned or shaped from green logs found in and around their home in Connecticut, and all of it is gorgeous, but I especially love their salad bowls, like this one and this one. — KB
I got to visit New West KnifeWorks in Victor, Idaho, when I was in Jackson Hole for a Slow Foods gathering. The knives are gorgeous, varied, beautifully balanced (sharp, and good at keeping and taking an edge), and the people are super. — MB
Hawa Hassan is a gifted writer and cook, and her sauce line, Basbaas Foods, is equally fabulous. The variety pack, which includes tamarind date sauce and coconut cilantro chutney, is the optimal gift for anyone who loves rich, deeply flavored sauces inspired by the African continent. — KS
A wonderful introduction to — or expansion of — the Middle Eastern pantry
Whether you’re new to the joys of Middle Eastern flavors, or a seasoned (sorry) pro, New York Shuk is an excellent resource. Co-founders Ron Arazi and Leetal Arazi both have Middle Eastern roots, and their goal with their company is not to just keep their culinary heritage alive, but to bring it to a wider audience, to make their staples everyone’s staples. The spices are beautiful and enticing (as is the packaging). And their curated “Best of” gift set comes with this limited edition ceramic bowl (“Tomato Garden”) and spoon by Brooklyn-based artist, Shino Takeda. (Fans of shakshuka out there should know that New York Shuk’s Matbucha makes a wonderful base for it.) — KB
Boxes of things
We’ve written about Sitka Salmon Shares before, and countless people we know have subscribed to it and loved it; it’s expensive and it’s worth it — monthly shipments of the best Pacific northwest fish you can find. (Yes, it’s frozen. But very well.) They’ve also got a special Holiday Feast Box right now — with at least nine pounds of seafood in each.
Another option I love is a direct order from Taku River Reds, a small, carefully run (family run) fishery that specializes in salmon, black cod, halibut, and more.
Also: If you know someone who might enjoy a subscription box, we recommend a Burlap & Barrel spice club subscription. Spice Club members will receive a spice shipment every 3 months — and if you don’t know how much we love Burlap & Barrel, let us tell you again! — MB
Perhaps the sweetest gift of all
Fragrant, sweet, and simply gorgeous, Brightland's honeys are just as impressive as its olive oil line. The perfectly sweet flavor comes in a stunning, lovely package, making it perfect to show off on the kitchen counter. — KS
Dinners that are almost as good as homemade
I am an unapologetic lover of home cooking, but we all have nights (lately, for me, more than usual) where we just can’t do it. I find takeout to be expensive and mostly unsatisfying, and try to limit it. So I was really excited to find Ipsa — a frozen food company (now endorsed by Tom Colicchio) that offers a variety of really tasty options (Autumn Mac & Greens, Beef & Kimchi Stew, really good Stuffed Shells), delivered. It’s cheaper and better than takeout, and it’s become my go-to on nights that I really can’t get it together to cook. Get a few meals (or a gift card — now through Dec 24, when you get a gift card for $75 or more, you’ll get a $25 gift card for yourself) for someone in your life who’s overwhelmed — it’s a real comfort. (The catch is that right now it’s just in the New York metro area — NYC, Westchester, and parts of New Jersey — but they’re launching shipping in early 2022.) — KB
A peek into the Syrian kitchen
In Sumac: Recipes and stories from Syria, Anas Atassi takes readers on a journey through Syria, a country rich in culinary history and tradition. Named for a spice that's ubiquitous in the region, Sumac brings readers into Atassi's perspective, highlighting a Syria that is comforting, beautiful, and full of flavor. Recipes for eggplant and beef pilaf, and stuffed parsnips in tomato sauce are enticing, while tales of Atassi's family will most certainly charm readers. — KB
Mark and Kerri’s Bittman Bread !!!
I am in no way obligated to say this, I swear, but: I love this book. I’ve made a bunch from it already (including many loaves of THE BREAD), and I’m going to work my way through the rest. You won’t believe how easy it is to make homemade focaccia! You can pair the book with this cool bread box (the lid doubles as a cutting board), or what we call “The Pot” — perfect for making THE BREAD. — KB
Glasses made from recycled beer bottles
Everything in the Moroccan handblown glassware collection from Verve Culture is gorgeous, but we especially like this set of six green, cone-shaped drinking glasses made from recycled Heineken bottles — the most consumed beer in Morocco. (I bought them for my mom and she loves them.) — MD
Beautiful kitchen textiles
Heath Ceramics, as always, has a variety of beautiful kitchen accessories. I’m a fan of these napkins (hot pink is usually a yes for me) and these coasters, this table runner, and — more napkins. Oh, are we talking about napkins? — I also recently discovered Jenny Pennywood. — KB
Suribachi & Surikogi set
The grooves in these Japanese-style mortars make grinding seeds and spices almost effortless. You can pulverize toasted cumin and garlic, add the rest of the ingredients for your vinaigrette and give it a quick rinse with soapy water right after; the glazed surface ensures that it will rinse easily and stay odor-free. It makes a great display piece, as well. — MD
Jamie Oliver’s Together
The hook to Jamie Oliver’s new book, Together, is bringing people there, and it works. Comb through it to find full menus for every kind of meal you want to make — brunches, picnics, elegant dinners. I like that the work is done for me because I’m kind of a mess when it comes to the delicate process of matching a dish to another. There are so many recipes I want to try: Honey Focaccia, Crispy Pesto Chicken, Comforting Red Rice, maybe even Extraordinary Seafood Parcels. — KB
José Andrés tapas
For some, assembling the tapas platter is half the fun of the “tapeo,” but it can require a lot of prep (especially if you are making croquetas) and the best ingredients can be hard to source. José Andrés has prepared a platter with chicken croquetas, jamón, chorizo and salchichon Ibérico de Bellota, Manchego cheese and pan con tomate; it’s available now on Goldbelly. A platter feeds 4-6 and would make a great gift for a small family or work team. — MD
Lots of Chocolate
We recommend Dandelion Chocolate every year, and with good reason: It’s one of Mark’s favorites and it’s a decadent treat — and beautifully packaged for gifting. They have a big variety of gift sets this year; perhaps notable is the Ferry Building Collection, which includes black sesame toffee brittle, sea salt caramels encased in chocolate, chocolate orange walnut toffee, a tasting flight of five distinctive 70% chocolate bars, and a vial of the brand’s café classic house hot chocolate mix. — KB
Extend the Seasons
Amp up and extend the flavor of the seasons with the Brod & Taylor SAHARA folding dehydrator. Try it with dried cherry tomatoes in winter soups or stews, rice, grains, or pasta sauces. Dry oil-cured olives and pulse them in a spice grinder for a crisp, flavorful topping. Use it for mushrooms you can reconstitute for any dish. Dehydrate apples or strawberries for intense-flavored, more nutritious snacks than off-the-shelf versions with preservatives. Try your hand at making jerky. Or use it for more economical dog treats (better for the pup, too). The SAHARA dehydrator features seven shelves and folds for easy storage. — MM
Mariangela Montanari’s 3-year aged Balsamic condiment
One of the few women producers of balsamic in Modena, Italy, Mariangela Montanari makes this 3-year-aged Saba, a sweet and savory condiment made from grape must, that’s great as an everyday salad dressing or drizzle atop greens, eggs, or a Caprese salad. — MM