Gift Guide 2023
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I am always envious of people, like my sister, who complete their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. I have never done this nor do I think I ever will. If you fall into this latter camp, there are some ideas below.
As always, this year’s gift guide is meant to inspire if nothing else. If you have any items you are excited about gifting this year, please share them in the comments — I love hearing them!
My perennial favorite kitchen (and other) items can be found in The Shop. And at the very end of the post, I’ve included my favorite local and online retailers.
PS: These Mother’s Day Gift Ideas might provide additional inspiration.
An Avocado Subscription from Primavera Avocados
Last year, I joined Primavera Avocado’s first subscription season, and I loved it so much for so many reasons, namely the avocados were delicious. If you live on the East Coast, you have likely at some point spent many dollars on a couple of avocados only to have them ripen and be inedible. I got tired of doing this. A monthly subscription was such a treat, and truly, the avocados were perfect every time. My kids loved consistently having a supply of delicious avocados on hand.
Note: You will be gifting the promise of perfect avocados in the recipient’s future: the season starts in March and goes through July but you can pre-order now. Use “alexandracooks” at checkout for 15% off or follow this link for the discount to be automatically applied: Primavera Avocados.
Iwachu Cast Iron Omelet/Egg Pan
The little nonstick pan I used for a number of years needed replacing earlier this year, so I tried out this pan, and I love it. I bought mine through Milkstreet, which is sold out, but it’s being sold in other places like here and here. One note: the handle gets hot, so you need to hold it with a towel as you make eggs — I don’t mind this, but if you’re used to a handle that stays cool, this will be an adjustment. Worth it!
Sardine (or other) Felt Ornament
Should you find the sardine ornament somewhere, you could pair it with…
… a selection of sardines! I found these all at Whole Foods.
My friend Danny works for Truffleist and gave me a few goodies one day, and I was kind of blown away — the mayonnaise (not pictured, because I ate it too quickly) was so delicious as was the olive oil (made with Italian olive oil and truffles) and everything else I eventually tasted. I served the mayonnaise with roasted (from frozen) artichokes, and it was such a treat, and I drizzled the oil over this mushroom-polenta bake one night, and it was heavenly.
I read about The Bread Mat on Andrew Janjigian’s Word Loaf and I’ve been so pleased with it — for the bread baker in your life who likes to make crusty boules in Dutch ovens, this would be a lovely gift.
For the pizza lover in your life, I have several ideas below from condiments to baking equipment.
tie-dye pizza-loving person in your life. Incidentally, I am going to share how to make this pizza in my pizza newsletter next Friday. So, should you purchase the kit, you will soon be able to pair it with a printed recipe.
I do not own this oven (yet), but my friend Christy Alia, who is an Ooni ambassador, swears by it, and I’m very tempted. Christy and I recently cooked 4 pizzas from Pizza Night in it and made a video about it, during which Christy shares some great tips and tricks along the way. Watch the full video here.
Chicago-style giardiniera (pickled first, then marinated) is wonderful on pizza but also in sandwiches of all kinds. Two jars of Hank’s Giardiniera would make the pizza lover, Italian-beef lover, or The Bear-watcher in your life very happy. Also: If you live near Sprouts Market, look for Hank’s Giardiniera in the deli section — it’s currently being sold at all Sprouts locations nationwide.
You likely know about Mike’s Hot Honey, which you can find everywhere now and which is great, but have you heard of Zab’s? For the real pizza nerd in your life, a bottle of Zab’s would be a real treat.
A New Baking Steel
If the pizza maker in your life still does not own a Baking Steel, it’s time! I have the original but I recently added the Pro to my collection, which I like for its slightly larger size. Warning: it is HEAVY. The Original Baking Steel is great and much easier to maneuver in and out of the oven.
Every time I use this rocker in a video, someone asks where it’s from. I love it.
Vintage (or other) Plates
I received a set of 4 glass plates as a wedding gift, which I loved for many reasons, including how they looked in food photos. When the last one broke earlier this year, I set out to replace them and found this simple set on Replacements, LTD, which I do love for photographs but also for salads, toast, desserts, etc. They are unfortunately sold out (though the slightly larger size is in stock), but available on Ebay. The point here is not to necessarily get this set, but a set of vintage plates you think the vintage-plate-loving person in your life might like.
I also love these Hellerware plates, both the dinner and salad plates.
I also think these Bread and Butter plates are super cute:
Stackable Bodega Glasses: I love these. I bought the set of 18, and they are so nice to have on hand especially if you’re having people over — you can use them for water or drinks.
This size is so handy for so many things: pizza dough, soup, sauces, etc. This year I transported all of the pie fillings, gravy, and stock in these containers — I now have 6! — to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. A friend gave them to me, and I want to give them to everyone I know. This would be a good gift for the cook who has everything. Other practical gifts include: parchment paper, vanilla, and flour sack towels.
Cookbooks (and other books)
Erin French who runs The Lost Kitchen in Maine and who wrote Finding Freedom has a new book out Big Heart Little Stove. A friend gave me this — hi Kathleen 👋 — and I spent the car ride down to my sister’s for Thanksgiving reading and flagging recipes, including one for green olives with honey, olives, and rosemary…yum.
For the breakfast-lover and baker in your life: Sarah Keiffer’s 100 Morning Treats.
For the reluctant reader in your family, a Carl Hiassen book: Wrecker or Hoot. These came highly suggested by The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, and my son loved them. If you’re looking for other ideas, a few years ago I compiled 50+ reader-suggested books for kids in this post.
My cousin sent me these herbal drinking cacaos, and they’re really lovely — I’ve been enjoying an afternoon oat milk hot cocoa daily in recent weeks, and my children have been loving them, too (with cow’s milk).
For the person in your life wanting to learn a language: Pimsleur! I spend lots of time walking my dog and in the car driving kids around, and there are only so many podcasts to help pass the time. I signed up for Pimsleur on a whim one day earlier this year, and I love it so much. You don’t need to be at a computer to learn, which is fantástico!
Can’t imagine walking my dog without it! This one’s made by Fjallraven. My kids like it, too.
Curology Lip Balm: Love the passionfruit flavor.
Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener: This works really well, and better, my husband loves it.
In addition to the items above, a gift certificate to a local shop or restaurant, such as The Vischer Ferry General Store or Arthur’s Market or The Broken Inn would make a great gift. Here are some local and online shops I love:
And here are some online shops I return to again and again:
Please share any ideas of your own! Happy Shopping, Friends 🎁🎁🎁