I’ll start by quoting my post from exactly one year ago: “It happens every year, but it never ceases to surprise me: it’s almost Christmas time again.” Well, this year is no exception… Here I am, just a couple short weeks from the big day, and not ONE gift squared away. I’ll never fully give up hope that Santa Claus really exists… Only, in my fantasy, he shows up a couple weeks BEFORE Christmas, and leaves me a big bag of presents to give all my loved ones.
I must admit that I’m not huge on Christmas. I much prefer birthdays, for which I’m able to come up with much more personalized and thoughtful gifts… The fact that they are spread out throughout the year allows me to duly reflect upon the person in question, and give them something they might actually appreciate. For Christmas, however, I usually end up buying a useless object for everyone I know, whether I think they’ll like it or not, just so I can check their names off my seemingly endless list. They, in turn, are left with the choice of indefinitely storing said object in a drawer or closet, or re-gifting it to some unappreciated business acquaintance the following Christmas. Nobody ends up a winner in this situation… not I, not my loved ones, and definitely not the business acquaintance.
Over the past few years I’ve gotten in the habit of giving a mass, homemade gift to my friends and family… After my first year in Italy I compiled a little booklet of recipes I had compiled during my adventure and gave everyone a copy of “Laurel’s Italian Kitchen,” last year we made a calendar of Emilio’s photographs, and of course there’s Buon Appetito America, which always makes a great gift ;-) . Another thing I like to do is make cookies or candies and package them creatively with a copy of the recipe. I really prefer the home-made solution, though it’s not always time-efficient, and sometimes I merely lack the appropriate inspiration.
Since it’s getting late, I thought it would be a good exercise to put together another Christmas list for the blog, to get me into the giving spirit… But all I’ve come up with is a big list of things I would like for Christmas, nothing that might interest, say, my 3-month-old niece or my 70 year-old mother-in-law. Oh well! Here’s hoping it might help some of you, or at least give you some good ideas. I, on the other hand, am still waiting for Santa, I’ll let you know if he shows!
P.S. I think it’s worth mentioning that I’m not sponsored by anyone, nor do I receive free stuff from any of these companies (unfortunately!). This is simply a list of things I want, like, or already have!
Now, on to the list….
|“The Nest” 8 Piece Kitchen Set: This cute, space-saving and colorful set includes non-slip mixing bowls, colanders and measuring cups, all that fit inside eachother in a pretty little package. In the US you can find it on Amazon, in Milan I’ve seen it at Carre‘, or on Italian Ebay.|
|Ice cream scoop: This little contraption can serve up way more that just ice-cream. For me, it’s become indispensable in the kitchen – from scooping batter into muffin tins to serving mashed potatoes. Find it at your local supermarket or kitchen supply store.|
|Striped kitchen scale: Any digital cooking scale makes a great gift, but I fell in love with this adorable stiped scale a few weeks ago while surfing ebay (a dangerous habit, I don’t recommend it). Consequentially, I was delighted when my former scale broke and I finally had the excuse to buy this one. I must admit, its one fault is that the display doesn’t light up like my old scale, making it a tad more difficult to read… but unless you’re in the habit of cooking in the dark, it’s not really that bothersome.|
|Digital Oven Thermometer: This is a great gadget you can use to gauge the actual temperature of your oven (I discovered mine burned 20 degrees hot). Not only that, but it read the internal temp of your turkey/roast/cheesecake/etc, while it’s cooking and will beep when it reaches a desired temperature. It also has a built in timer and can be used stove-top when making candy or sauces. You can find these in most kitchen stores, or online here in the US, and here in Italy.|
|Vintage cake stands: There is nothing more satisfying than placing one of your fabulous culinary creations on a pretty platform. I love the vintage milk glass or ceramic designs that you can find in junk stores, antique shops, on ebay, etc.|
|My cookbook: Eh, hehe.. Once again, I couldn’t resist putting it on the list… It makes a great present, really! Combine it with a muffin tin and gift certificate to one of my cooking classes for an original package gift!|
|Kitchen Clock and Timer: I love the retro look and the functionality of this clock and timer combo. Also, I love anything red… though this clock also comes in cream and black. Wesco is a German company that also makes these cute retro-style bread boxes. Find them both on Ebay.|
|Colorful silicon spatulas: From reviewing this list, it seems I cook strictly with colorful appliances. While this isn’t completely true, I see no reason to stick to white and gray in the kitchen! Silicone spatulas are handy to have in all sizes, and are more fun if they’re in a rainbow of bright colors. These are from chefn.com.|
|Silicon muffin pan: The metal versions work just fine too, but (here I go again…) there’s something so playful about the myriad of colors and the flexible nature of these silicone pans. Plus, they’re completely non-stick and dishwasher safe. You can find these at most kitchen stores or at High Tech or Kitchen in Milan.|