Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide
Traversing the globe may not feel like the move right now (not to mention, that would be a pricey gift), so get your wanderlust-suffering friend Gastro Obscura instead. In nearly 500 pages, they’ll learn about everything from a pecan pie vending machine in Texas to the onion soup mango in Malaysia, all without leaving home.
Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America
Mayukh Sen’s Taste Makers is a work that sets the record straight: With seven biographies of immigrant women who influenced how Americans eat today, it’s a cultural deep dive for the history buff in your life — or just someone who loves to read and think about food origins.
Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries
In Kristina Cho’s first cookbook, she celebrates the Chinese bakery: from the char siu buns to the custard egg tarts to the intricate seasonal mooncakes. For the baker who loves to recreate everything they find behind a pastry case, Cho’s book is a delight of treats — both savory and sweet — that will appeal to all ranges of baking skill levels.
High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America
This year’s impactful Netflix documentary, High on the Hog, is an essential exploration of the origins of African American cooking, and for the friend who couldn’t get enough of the historical series, consider giving them the Jessica B. Harris book that inspired the show.
Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure
You may know Eric Wareheim as an actor and a director, but in actuality he’s more of a bon vivant — a man about town who has learned how to make pizza, pasta, drinks, and even wine from some of the world’s greatest culinary experts. His cookbook is, as you can expect, extremely funny, full of illustrations, and with dishes like the Sexy Scraps Pasta and the Fish Freak, it’s a great gift for the cook who doesn’t take the kitchen too seriously.
Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, with Recipes
There seem to be as many pasta cookbooks as there are types of pasta, but accept no substitutes. For the friend who obsesses over the luscious texture of homemade pasta, Lilia and Misi’s Missy Robbins is about to become their patron saint.
Disclosure: Pasta is co-authored by Talia Baiocchi, the editor-in-chief of Punch, which is a media property of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media.
Arty Parties: An Entertaining Cookbook
Does your favorite party host seem a little rusty on the entertaining front? Julia Sherman’s Arty Parties is just what they need to turn on the fun again. From michelada recipes to cake decorating, Arty Parties is a one-stop shop for having a grand ole time.
Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora
It’s a rare cookbook that feels just as at home on the coffee table as it does in the kitchen, but Bryant Terry’s Black Food is not only a compendium of recipes that reflect on and center the idea of Black cooking, it also contains essays and artwork from over 100 Black icons on what the idea of Black food even is. A must-have for cooks and culturally curious non-cooks alike.
Supra Endura beeswax food wraps
A cling film habit can be hard to break, but artist Gabrielle Mandel’s beeswax food wraps will at least help soften the transition. Decorated in vibrant illustrations of bananas, papayas, and colorful abstract designs, Supra Endura’s beeswax wraps not only have the benefit of being more sustainable than single-use plastic wrap — they’re better looking, too.
The (mini) ReBoard cutting board
Every kitchen has a cutting board organization problem, where watermelons end up tasting like garlic and slices of bread like jalapenos. Give the gift of color-coded delineation with Material Kitchen’s sustainable mini cutting boards, made in bright colors with no virgin plastic. They’re just the right size for cutting garlic and onions.
Bamboozle compost bin
Due to their utilitarian nature, compost bins are frequently unattractive and undistinctive. And you know what, that’s fine! But for that one family member who is both eco-conscious and obsessed with design, this sleek variation on the theme is a few steps above the rest.
Click and Grow smart garden
The risk in buying a friend a plant is that you never know if they’ll actually keep it alive. Consider that problem solved with the Click and Grow smart garden, which has automatic watering technology and grow lights that will keep their veggies and herbs prospering, no matter what shade of green your gift-receiver’s thumb is.
Kale & herb razor
A perfect stocking stuffer to make life easier: a stainless-steel “razor” that de-stems kale and herbs without any of the fussy mess and mangled leaves. Buy it for the laid-back chef — but even a high-maintenance cook will appreciate the extra assistance.
Maine Grains pantry staples pack
If you know someone who got really into baking over the pandemic, it might be time to upgrade their pantry past grocery store flour. Maine Grains’ pantry staples pack is an excellent entry point to whole grains and stone-ground flours: With a bag of organic whole-wheat flour, a bag of all-purpose sifted wheat flour, and a bag of organic rolled oats, they’ll be upping their baking game in no time.
Heilala vanilla extract and paste bundle
Sourced sustainably from farmers in Tonga (who are also paid a fair wage), Heilala’s vanilla extract is a baker’s delight for its versatility and sustainability. Add vanilla paste to the gift box and you’ll impress your ice cream-making friend with the secret ingredient they always default to when they’ve run out of vanilla beans.
CRUXGG The ZONE air fryer
Air fryers had their moment in the spotlight recently, but this CRUXGG version takes the form to new heights. That’s because it’s a partnership between Crux Kitchen and Bronx-based culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, making it an essential cooking tool that looks cool, gives back, and frys well. A true triple threat.
Tofubud tofu press
Kitchens these days seem to have a tool for every task, but some are undeniably more useful than others. That one friend who laments that their tofu doesn’t crisp may be loathe to add a unitasker to their arsenal but their waterlogged tofu would do well with a tofu press: Squeeze all the liquid out and they’ll be on the path to tastier tofu in no time.
Tilit recycled work chef apron
The friend who has an abundant collection of chic chef clothes will love this Tilit apron, made from recycled hemp and cotton. Its pen pocket and hip pocket are practical, and the contrasting apron strings are fanciful. The best of both worlds.
Perla Valtierra 4 Color Plates
Made in Guanajuato, Mexico, by artisan Perla Valtierra, these beautiful four-color plates are perfect dinner party dishes, but they’re also pretty enough to put on display. Available in small, medium, and large sizes, any table would be lucky to have them.
Siafu Home olive wood serving spoons
Every house needs a beautiful set of serving spoons (is a salad even worth the effort without them?) and this Siafu Home pair are as lovely as they come. They’re hand-carved by artisans in Kenya from local olive wood, with handles engraved by hand.
Remark Glass pint glasses
Remark Glass wants to remind you that glass is infinitely recyclable, which is why its barware is made from melting down post-consumer glass and starting over again. The pint glasses are made from recycled kombucha bottles in Philly. Drinking beer never felt better.
Glass salt bowls
Portland glass artist Lynn Read is known for all manner of gorgeous works of glass, but if they aren’t in your budget, Read’s salt cellars are made from the leftover glass from his large-scale projects. It’s like gifting a piece of precious art — just on a smaller scale.
Sustainable Threads tablecloth
This tablecloth is handwoven by physically disabled artisans on manual looms in India, and it reflects Sustainable Threads’ mission to create textiles that are both beautiful and supportive of marginalized tribal communities. It’s a great addition to any dinner table.
The Qi x Sophie Lou Jacobsen Bloom teapot
As if flower tea rituals weren’t beautiful enough, designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen and the Qi, an herbal tea brand dedicated to all things floral, collaborated on a wavy-handled teapot to add whimsy to more meditative moments. Bonus: It comes in a clear and a multicolored option.
Dusen Dusen blue cloth napkins
While it is certainly possible to have too many tea towels, every house seems to, at one point, suffer from a shortage of cloth napkins. Dusen Dusen’s blue cloth napkins come in handy sets of four, with distinct patterns, so there won’t be a paper towel to be found at your friend or family member’s dinner party.
Pasta Life pasta straws
Here’s an easy way to avoid deciding between the moral quandary of a plastic straw and the soggy mess of a paper one: Drink iced coffee through a straw made from rice-flour pasta. Pasta Life straws are gluten-free and biodegradable, and take upward of 40 minutes to break down in a cold drink. Pasta saves the day once again.
Umeshiso Little Dipper coffee cupping spoons
For the coffee devotee in your life who feels alienated by the exclusivity and gatekeeping of third-wave coffee culture, Umeshisho’s coffee cupping spoons are the antidote. Designed in rainbow, rose, gold, and goth black colors, the spoons are a welcome pretension-free choice for anyone already invested in — or hoping to get into — coffee tasting at home. But they also work just as well for soups, ice cream, or anything else that would benefit from a great spoon.
Matiz seafood variety pack
Tinned fish is so hot right now and we’re not talking about Starkist. If you know someone who is getting really into the colorful, flavorful, interesting varieties of sardines, tuna, anchovies, and more that are being imported to America from all over, a Matiz seafood variety pack — wild-caught off the coast of Spain — is a great entry point.
Eater Wine Club
When in doubt, give the gift of wine. Luckily, the Eater Wine Club means you don’t have to worry about whether the bottle you chose is the right one for the occasion. Every month, Eater-approved experts from around the country will deliver their selections to the lucky person on the other end of your holiday card.
Ordinary Habit x One Stripe Chai puzzle and chai duo
Long before Netflix and chill, there were puzzles and chai. Prepare for the colder months inside with your partner by gifting them this puzzle and chai duo. Coziness incarnate!
Vesta vegan luxe chocolate box
Chocolate is the perfect go-to stocking stuffer, but when it comes to Vesta’s luxe chocolate box, it should be the main event. Packed with every kind of chocolate the heart can imagine — hot chocolate! chocolate almonds! chocolate spread! — it’s really more like several gifts in one.
Honeycup Uniquely Sharp honey mustard
Honey mustard can get a bad rap, for being a too-sweet version of an already excellent condiment. Honeycup’s Uniquely Sharp Stone Ground Mustard is just the right amount of sweet while still having the bracing flavor of spicy mustard. Leave the hummus and pita chips at home and bring a bag of extra-dark hard pretzels and a jar of Honeycup to the holiday party instead.
Hana Makgeolli Hwaju 12
At this season’s holiday get-togethers, bring something different and more exciting than a bottle of red. Hana Makgeolli’s hwaju is a Korean rice wine fermented with organic rice and infused with hydrangea and chrysanthemum flowers. Just prepare slightly in advance: The New York-based brewery recommends storing the wine in your fridge for 24 hours before opening.
Yesfolk kombucha vinegar
Vinegars are having a moment and Yesfolk’s tea flower kombucha vinegar will delight all the fermentation-friendly cooks in your life. Fermented for seven months longer than Yesfolk’s kombucha of the same style, a few splashes can elevate cocktails, braised meats, or anything in need of a little livening up.
Le Puzz Oops Puzzle
If they’re the type to spill milk (and then cry over it), get them the Oops puzzle from Le Puzz. A 500-piece puzzle of frozen-in-time spills, pours, and splatters, it’s much more entertaining — and much tidier — than making a mess in the kitchen.
More than just an extremely cute name, the game Sabobatage is the perfect party favor, too. In the game, players act as boba shop owners, competing to complete five drink sets with ingredients like lychee jelly and passionfruit.
Russ & Daughters lox hoodie
Filed under collaborations we never expected to see, Jake Gyllenhaal popped up over the pandemic in a partnership with New York appetizing shop Russ & Daughters, wearing a black-on-black hoodie emblazoned with the word LOX. Turns out, the streetwear is for a good cause — it helps raise money for NYC theater workers — so it’s guaranteed to please the friend who loves a Sunday bagel board but wants to look and feel good eating it, too.
Down North pizza shirt
Philly’s Down North Pizza is a pizza place with a mission: They hire formerly incarcerated folks at a fair wage, and it’s a directive that is as admirable as the crispy Detroit-style crusts. Even if you can’t make it to Philly, this long-sleeved tee supports Down North’s ongoing work, and it features a map on the back to end mass incarceration.
C’Mere gold food necklaces
Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve: Try wearing food around your neck. These C’Mere-brand 14k gold necklaces are the gift to give jewelry-inclined friends in your life for when they don’t want to choose between looking luxe and showing how much they truly love challah.
NY Food Bank x Liz Barclay prints
If you live on planet Earth, you’ve seen Liz Barclay’s photography of celebrities, food, and ephemera in action somewhere. With her Food Bank collaboration, that somewhere could even be your house: Each print (of classic New York foods like challah and cake from Sylvia’s in Harlem) raises money for the Food Bank For New York City. Looks good, feels good.
Rec’ommended by Sophia RoeMicrowavable nested storage bowls
Chef Sophia Roe swears to never bring a host gift that she knows the host will never use. Thus, one of her go-tos is a set of microwavable nested storage bowls — it might not be the most glamorous thing to give, but for the home cook, oftentimes function far outweighs fancy.
Rec’ommended by Pati JinichTony’s Chocolonely rainbow tasting pack
When chef and TV host Pati Jinich wants to do something indulgent for her and her boys, she buys Tony’s Chocolonely milk chocolate bars to share. Tony’s bars are fair trade and slavery-free, and they make for an excellent stocking stuffer.
Rec’ommended by Gerald StratfordBiscuiteers iced biscuits
If you know someone who got really into Bake Off over the pandemic, take a tip from big vegetable gardener and Twitter celeb Gerald Stratford and surprise them with a bouquet of delightfully iced biscuits. It was one of the best food gifts Stratford received recently, and though his biscuits were of vegetables and a mini version of himself, they can be personalized to your liking.
Rec’ommended by Eric WareheimSabering sword
To celebrate the Tim and Eric holiday party, Eric Wareheim’s pal John C. Reilly bought him a champagne sabering sword. “It was put to good use,” Wareheim recalls. No doubt if you show up to a holiday party with the gift of a sabering sword in tow, it will be put to good use there, too.
Rec’ommended by Julia ShermanA box of passionfruit from Rincon Tropics
Julia Sherman, author of Arty Parties and Salad for President, hopes that this year someone (hint hint) will send her a box of passionfruit from Rincon Tropics, a Carpinteria, California-based farm that has been growing fruit without pesticides since the 1870s. Rincon’s passionfruit are one of its specialties, and if you go for a large 7-pound box, you can divvy up the tart and juicy fruits to all the lucky people on your list.