This is the right time of year to post a holiday gift guide. My holiday gift guide is always the same, and very short: please buy honey, as much of it as you can, from small-scale,reputableproducers. They don't even have to be local to you, though this tool can help you find someone who is (or isn't, or--in a neat parlor trick--is local to the recipient). Supporting these stewards of the most powerful force for the future of food is the best combo platter of activism, altruism, and gifting I know of.
If that doesn't cut the mustard for you, fortunately so many other people have done a bang-up job of writing guides that all I need to provide is a compass:
- Shopping for people who love to be in the kitchen and make stuff? Marisa's series of guides to kitchen gizmos are a super help, and her books are a home-run choice for any People Of The Jar in your life, who doubtless will also be charmed by anything on her list of mason jar modifying doodads.
- Shopping for people in the age group "halfway between Lego and Scotch"? Catherine Newman has years of guidance archived that you can access from here, (the most current incarnation). You can't buy her new book yet, but be aware, if you are shopping for a parental type, that Waiting For Birdy, her last one, is a rock-solid selection. I have been saying, to my own endless amusement, "was I SO SAD about the nuts?" ever since I finished it.
- If you are shopping for young readers, let my friend Laura tell you what books they will clutch to their bosoms with rapture..
- If you plan to bake your way through your list of who is naughty and nice and want to mix up your cookie game so no one gets left on the wrong side of the gate, try this guide to gluten-free cookies, or this guide to cookies of even more stripes than that. If treats to astonish 'people who think gluten-free treats are an oxymoron' are your goal, but messing up your own kitchen is not, you cannot fail by ordering something here.
If you usually get a present from me in December and you are hoping for cookies, I have just promised my sister that baking like Martha on crack is the item I am eliminating from my holiday to-do list. Your little basket (spoiler alter!) is more likely to run through this territory, or this one. I'm sorry, but my sister is likely to take decisive action if I fink on this promise, and I simply cannot run that risk, other than to bake a batch just for my friend Geri, who let me droop around her house and watch seals frolic in the bay out her picture window whenever I was sad in college and to whom I specifically promised cookies (with no raisins).
If you do not usually get a present from me in December, all hope is not lost (provided the news about no cookies doesn't kill your enthusiasm). R&P now has a facebook page, the final nail in the coffin PLATFORM that already includes this forum and my wildly popular Instagram feed, full of close-up pictures of my dogs' snouts. It's quite an empire. If you'd be so kind as to like the fb page, follow me on Instagram and/or subscribe here, each of those tiny actions (when reported below in the comments) will enter you in a drawing for a comprehensive (if cookie-free) compendium of treats and treasures. If you are already doing any of those things, believe me I know and am very grateful, and just still crow about it here so can I put your name into the hat. It's a highly scientific and proprietary process involving an actual hat, two sheep and the light of the moon, and the only way in is through the comments.
Wishing you deep breaths, large salads (more on that topic shortly) and an easy time keeping up with the wash.