Always wait until the last minute? Think every gift should involve eating? Same with Seattle Times food writer Bethany Jean Clement — and she took a look back at the year in Seattle-area food to find the best presents for those on your list (or just to elf yourself!).
OK, my fellow procrastinators — it’s time. Last year, at the last minute, I got my mom a gift certificate for a cooking class at Tom Douglas’ Hot Stove Society for her and a friend. She chose one taught by the great Bridget Charters and chose me as the friend, so that was a winner all around (hi, Mom!). My brother and I had decreed only edible gifts, so I got to stroll through selecting stuff for a big gift basket from Big John’s PFI — and then he, my sister-in-law and nephew got some very nice olive oil, sherry vinegar, tinned fish and all kinds of treats. (You could also go the sweets route at Big John’s, and some candy, cookies and chocolates shaped like ladybugs might also have made their way home … another win-win.)
Here are a dozen more gift ideas for those in your life who love food*, along with the Pacific Northwest stories from the past year that inspired them. (And if you’re better about getting out ahead of holiday giving than I am, these presents will also work for Valentine’s Day!)
• For the fan of all things old-school and charming: a copy of the pink-covered, spiral-bound cookbook called ‘Cook’ — from ‘Cook’: How an arts community provided the recipes for a perfect Northwest cookbook
• For the serious food nerd (and/or someone to whom you’d like to feed stuff blindfolded): a copy of local chef/author Becky Selengut’s book ‘How to Taste’ — from The Manhattan experiment: How one drink, served blindfolded, can change the way you taste
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• For those who’d be excited to make a sauce with a splash of wine straight out of their glass: a copy of new local cookbook ‘Searing Inspiration’ — from How one game-changing recipe can make you a better cook: Susan Volland’s ‘Searing Inspiration’
• For the armchair cheesemaker/bucolic-aspirational: copies of the Vashon Island love letters ‘Farm Food, Volume I: Fall & Winter’ and ‘Farm Food, Volume II: Spring & Summer’ — from Life on the farm: How Kurt Timmermeister opted out of the Seattle restaurant industry
• For those who’ve been looking for somewhere marvelous to stay (with a great restaurant, if that even needs saying) on the Washington coast: an overnight (or two) at the Tokeland Hotel — from The Tokeland Hotel: What happens when an excellent Seattle chef takes over Washington state’s oldest lodgings
• For the compulsive composter: a copy of local writer Jill Lightner’s ‘Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home’— from Food waste, and what to do about it — plus the best recipe for using up stale bread
• For your BFF/a film fan: dinner (and drinks!) at a movie at Seattle’s adorable Central Cinema, Bellevue’s posh Cinemark Reserve, Burien’s delightful Tin Room Bar & Theater or a Seattle El Gaucho/Big Picture double-feature happy hour — the favorites so far from Dinner at a Movie: The Series
• For the person who really, really loves seafood: a seafood-diet trip to Vancouver with brunches and dinners at Oddfish, Hook Seabar, Tetsu Sushi Bar, Popina and (my personal favorite) Coquille — from Vancouver’s new seafood restaurants make the city even better
• For someone you really, really love: a homemade punch-card good for dinner for two at Seattle’s very best, tried-and-true top-10 restaurants over the course of 2019 (the two including you, hopefully) — from 10 Essential Seattle Restaurants
• For someone you really, really love but to whom you’d like to show that fact in a more economical, but still very heartfelt, fashion: a bespoke gift card for a fancy dinner of fish en papillote made by you — from The pretty, fun and surprisingly easy way to cook fish: en papillote
• For a truly generous spirit: a donation in their honor to YouthCare to help Seattle youth experiencing homelessness (or gather another friend or two and volunteer to cook a meal) — from Home cooking counts: caring for youth experiencing homelessness in Seattle
Merry merry, everybody … let’s all love one another. Here’s to the solstice and the new year!
*And yes, despite the headline, we should still stop saying “foodie.”