Holiday Bounty

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When it comes to gift-giving, it’s good to have a thing. Those without a thing are hard to buy gifts for: you choose between scarves and candles and ponder the merits of fuchsia vs. chartreuse or hyacinth vs. gardenia. But when someone has a thing, you just get them something that fits their thing. Like shopping for Bono or Michael Jordan or Sigfried & Roy–you buy them music, basketballs and magic trick sets, of course; and everyone’s happy. And those that have a thing can buy stuff for other people based on their own thing: like Bono can make you a mix tape, Michael Jordan can give you Air Jordans, and Sigfried & Roy can give you a white tiger. Having a thing is awesome.

Naturally, since food is my thing, buying gifts for me is easy (at least I think it is.) This year, on Christmas morning with Craig’s family, I received many awesome things that fit my thing. Like the big 80 pound book you see at the top of this post: that’s “A Day at El Bulli” and it was Craig’s big gift to me in anticipation of our big meal there this summer.

Craig’s parents bought me another thing that fits my thing (and a thing I’d casually mentioned to Craig that I’d wanted): “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis.

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This is a gorgeous book, full of good ideas and great recipes and gorgeous photos by Christopher Hirsheimer. It’s organized by season, which is the best way to organize a cookbook, in my opinion; and the text is witty and opinionated. Already I’m struggling to figure out which to make first: the squid-ink infused paella or the pork stew with chiles? Stay tuned for the answer.

Finally, my thing served me well in my stocking: I got an oven mitt (which I needed!), an Oxo measuring cup which lets you see what you’re measuring from above, Gourmet champagne mustard, and a shot glass that says, “I caught crabs in Bellingham, Washington.” Which, as you all know, is true.

As far as my thing determining what I got other people, again: having a thing made that easy. I did really good shopping at Fishs Eddy, the dinnerware store where I got my quirky, idiosyncratic plates. First, I got Craig’s mom an awesome Brooklyn serving dish so that as she eats cheese and other snacks, she can think of us over here in Brooklyn at the corner of her plate:

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Here’s the plate put to use with a triple cream brie which we enjoyed later that night:

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It was Craig’s sister Kristin, though, who fared the best, I think, with my favoritest gift I gifted this Christmas: Heroes of the Torah drinking glasses!

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Yes, each glass features a different famous rabbi with their name and picture engraved into the glass. What would these rabbis think to be gifted to a non-Jew on Christmas? “Oy vey!” probably, but we don’t have to tell them, do we?

For Craig’s dad Steve, a coffee lover, I got him a bag of espresso beans and a mug from Joe The Art of Coffee.

And thus my thing became everybody else’s thing this Christmas, though for Craig I kept my thing out of it because for the past three years he’s been dreaming of the day he’d get to frame his vintage Disneyland posters which he’s had for years and years. That’s why we have white walls in our bedroom: we’ve been waiting to get those posters framed. So, when he was gone a day before me, I dropped the posters off at Brooklyn Frameworks where they’re getting framed right now. Craig was very happy indeed; and now we won’t have white walls, we’ll have vintage Disneyland posters framed all around us.

I could end the post here, but my thing found its way into a gift for a very different sort of creature the day before I returned to New York. We stayed that last night with Craig’s friends David & Celia and they were housesitting their friends’ boa constrictor. What do you get your friend’s boa constrictor for Christmas? A gourmet rodent, of course!

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Sure, it’s not “A Day at El Bulli” or “A Platter of Figs” but look at the smile on this boa constrictor’s face:

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It’s enough to warm the cockles of your heart, even four days after Christmas. Hope your thing was represented well this Christmas/Hanukkah; and if you don’t have a thing, I hope you enjoyed your candles or scarves. Fuchsia looks lovely on you.

15 comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to gift-giving. It is especially difficult to shop for a kid who doesn’t have a “thing”. My kids got a lot of generic gifts until they developed particular interests.

  2. Ah, that’s awesome. My brother, the gourmet chef in the household, had “A Day at El Bulli” on his wish list, and sure enough, “Santa” had it under the tree.

    I have to say, it’s quite the gorgeous, massive book. And I’m quite envious you have a reservation there! Yes, it’ll be a while, but what’s better than to build up the anticipation?

  3. HAHAHA, my aunt gave my sister and cousins each one of those heroes of the torah glasses too. Weird coincidence being that we’re catholic and live on the west coast.

  4. HAHAHA, my aunt gave my sister and cousins each one of those heroes of the torah glasses too. Weird coincidence being that we’re catholic and live on the west coast.

  5. HAHAHAHA, my aunt gave my sister and cousins each one of those heroes of the torah glasses. Weird coincidence being that we’re on the west and celebrate christmas.

  6. I totally agree with the “thing” thing. Everything I got had to do with my food thing or my running thing. I didn’t have the guts to get other people gifts based on my thing though. It sends people the wrong message when you buy them running shoes…

  7. I totally agree with the “thing” thing. Everything I got had to do with my food thing or my running thing. I didn’t have the guts to get other people gifts based on my thing though. It sends people the wrong message when you buy them running shoes…

  8. Heroes of the Torah?! I’ve got to get my dad some of those…

    The “thing” is so key. It’s the difference between my sister and me — even growing up, I always had a “thing”, whether it was Nancy Drew or fencing, while she rarely did. Now, though, I’ve come to understand that my two things (knitting and food) come to the rescue every time I need to give a gift, and makes it so easy for others to find something for me.

    I think food, in particular, is a good “thing” to have because it’s less intimidating for gift givers: everyone knows something about food, if only where the nearest Williams Sonoma is, right? Versus an amateur astronomer or someone who’s really into model trains (I mean, do you really know which Guide to the Stars is best?).

  9. I wish everyone had a “thing”. Most of my friends don’t and it makes Christmas shopping pure torture for me every year.

    Then there are the people who don’t know me well enough but feel that they ought to get me something, so despite the fact that I have many “things”, I end up getting a lot of scarves and gloves every year!

  10. Heh… Heavenly Creatures is my favorite movie.

    In other news, what fantastic gifts! I finally got a proper spice/pepper grinder, which I’ve used to pepper and sea-salt up my food ridiculously since opening the box. Silly, I know, but we’ve been hand-crushing pepper with a tiny mortar and pestle for almost a year…

  11. So jealous of your books…and even more jealous you’ll be making the trek to El Bulli! I am a huge fan of Fishs Eddy–and in fact have the same plate (and matching mugs) and LOVE it! :) Happy New Year!

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