Christmas presents for foodies: the 2018 edition

Here’s some of the Edinburgh Foody top tips on Christmas presents for foodies. This year’s suggestions range from gadgets to literature. from experiences to kindness.

Give the gift of a Christmas dinner to a homeless person, thanks to Social Bite

Give the gift of a Christmas dinner to a homeless person, thanks to Social Bite

Amy

My kitchen is pretty small, so I have to limit myself when it comes to gadgets. However, following my recent trip to Japan and a cooking course in Kyoto, I finally caved and bought a space-hungry rice cooker. It was totally worth it. Now, from an outlay of just £20, I can enjoy perfect rice.

We bought the rice cooker largely because we like to eat sushi rice, which is time consuming to make and difficult to get right. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much better all types of rice are out of the cooker. It’s a dream to use too, with just one button and a non-stick pan that’s easy to clean. If your friends have space to store one, I’d highly recommend a rice cooker for an unusual low cost gift!

Breakfast rice from the rice cooker: it cooks more than just rice. (Apples, dates, spices and almond oil. Super tasty. Super soothing.)

Breakfast rice from the rice cooker: it cooks more than just rice. (Apples, dates, spices and almond oil. Super tasty. Super soothing.)

Something quite different I’d also like to give my pals this festive season is cooking confidence. Naturally I have some very foody friends, but there are just as many who don’t cook for pleasure. By that I mean two things. One is simply being able to throw ingredients in a pot and know the results will turn out delicious. The other is a working knowledge of flavour, such as the properties of spices and how ingredients react together. I think acquiring this knowledge is a nice thing to do; through experimentation, sharing recipes or sampling different cuisines. And it’s even better if you can share the experience with someone else.

Caroline

After I saw Amy’s rice cooker I got one too and would recommend one to everyone. But I can’t be a copycat. Instead, I’ll go with two presents for people who are moving away from home: a stick blender and a copy of Cooking on a Bootstrap.  A stick blender is a brilliant tool! I use mine much more than I used the big food processor I had for a decade. The stick blender is small, compact, comes with a blender attachment and is inexpensive. (You can find an expensive one if you try: mine was about £25 quid.)

Rice, tarka dahl and gram cake. Also a generous dollop of lime pickle.

Rice, tarka dahl and gram cake from Cooking on a Bootstrap. (Also a generous dollop of lime pickle.) Comforting, easy to make and cheaper than chips.

Most of my friends have already set up their home and filled their kitchens. For people who have everything, and to not buy more stuff, home made sweets or treats are great. It’s too late to make batches of kimchi or lay down liqueur but it’s not too late to make ginger snaps, dark chocolate fudge or truffles.

Or, a book. I’ve found another foody manga and I recommend it to everyone: What Did You Eat Yesterday? is a charming tale of handsome lawyer Shiro and the dinners he cooks for his partner, Kenji. Shiro’s shopping and cooking is the core of the book and helps tell the stories of work, life and frienships. I love it. It’s sweet and charming and gives an insight into Japanese culture. And food: I’m fascinated by how Shiro uses his rice cooker and have learnt to press and steam silken tofu.

Shiro cooks for Kenji who is always appreciative. HEre, he gets one of his favourite dishes: stewed burgers with mushrooms.

Shiro cooks for Kenji who is always appreciative. Here, he gets one of his favourite dishes: stewed burgers with mushrooms. And you can cook it too. (And I love that Shiro says welcome back when Kenji gets home. That is so sweet.)

Kerry

Choosing presents for friends is always hard as we’re all so lucky to have so much, when so many have so little, but here’s a selection of foodie gifts that I’ll be sending this year.

I love fudge and tablet and I am a fan of supporting local, independent producers like The Loch Leven Tablet Company, who also happen to be fellow food bloggers, Boys Eat Scotland. Tablet can become addictive and once the bag or bar has been started it usually doesn’t last very long.

Sainsbury’s Magazine (£26 for 12 issues, if paying by Direct Debit) is my go to present for girlfriends.  I like it so much that I also buy myself an annual subscription – shallow I know, but it’s a great read with lots of inspirational recipes and it’s the gift that keeps giving each month.

A magazine subscription keeps on giving every month

A magazine subscription keeps on giving every month

And for those friends that have signed a Christmas pre-NUPP, as championed by Martin Lewis, why not mark the occasion by giving a gift to someone less fortunate, rather than wasting money on useless gifts that the receiver doesn’t want. For just £5, you can make an unimaginable difference to someone’s life. I’ll be donating to Social Bite, who will provide a homeless person a hot meal and somewhere to go on Christmas day, giving them the chance to eat Christmas dinner in a café with good company.

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

One Comment

  1. What lovely thoughtful suggestions- miss you guys!

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