Good Giving

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Published on August 10, 2009

Sometimes every task at this time of year starts to feel like part of an endless race: to finish off the shopping list; to send the annual cards; to hobnob at one more cocktail party. So, save energy and spare yourself some mall fatigue by slowing down and doing a bit of your holiday shopping online. To inspire you, we've compiled an eclectic guide to our favorite gastronomic goodies, holiday books, and food-related charities. Now, go forth spreading good cheer from the comfort of your easy chair.

Give your favorite globe-trotting gourmand a souvenir of southwestern France with a container of plump pruneaux d'Agen stuffed with candied orange peel and cream. ($34) Their bright blue and gold tin alone would be a delight to unwrap, but it's the intensely tangy flavor of the sweet Gascon prunes nestled inside that really transports the taste buds.

This year, try a twist on the traditional gingerbread man and put delectable gingerbread caramels into your sweetie's stocking instead. Eighteen pieces of this creamy, buttery, spice-studded French confection cost only $14 from, but they taste like pure holiday treasure.

Finally, for the discerning carnivore on your list, there's one gift that keeps on giving: a subscription to Range Prime's Jerky of the Month Club. ($144) Every month for 12 months, two different styles of sweet, peppered, smoked, or organic buffalo, turkey, and beef jerky will arrive in his or her mailbox. Who says that Christmas comes only once a year?

Cold winter days beg for hot drinks, and nothing makes crafting the perfect "cuppa" easier than the sleek and simple Chiasso Tea Stick. ($20) Just fill the slim cylinder with loose tea, snap it shut, and stir it into steaming water. Think of it as a stainless-steel magic wand.

herb pot gift

Move over, poinsettias: this season, spruce up someone's kitchen and save innocent herbs from an untimely end by giving a Fresh Herb Pot by Sagaform. ($18) Sculpted in a chic white ceramic, with a classically Scandinavian silhouette, this vessel features a large mouth and a broad base that's designed to distribute water evenly and circulate air, allowing fresh-cut herbs to flourish on any table or countertop.

Lend kitchen multitaskers a hand with the functional and fun one-handed pepper mill from the Museum of Modern Art design store. ($24) With a single push of a button, its pump-and-grind action delivers a shot of freshly ground spices to any dish, making it a cinch to keep your food seasoned and at least one hand clean and free for holding a spatula or, better yet, some eggnog.

Forget socks and underwear; this holiday, give the kids in your family the gift they really need: the Dough-Nu-Matic automatic mini doughnut maker. ($129.99) Indeed, it's never been easier to live out Homer Price fantasies: just add the dough to the Dough-Nu-Matic, and it will shape, fry, and drain dozens of miniature doughnuts in under six minutes. For better or worse, breakfast will not be the same again.

Should the winter doldrums set in, offer a touch of spring to someone you love with a set of playful, hand-printed dandelion dish towels. ($12) Machine washable, cut from durable, 100 percent cotton, and decorated with a whimsical organic design, they're guaranteed to mop up spills and stir up some merriment.

Got a friend with an antiques addiction? Feed his or her habit with a gift certificate to Available in increments of $25, the certificates are redeemable for any of the site's more than 15,000 charming vintage cookbooks and recipe pamphlets, from first editions of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking to the kitschy 1960s Oscar Mayer Cookout Fun. And who knows—if you're lucky, maybe you'll be invited to the next "teenage wiener" barbecue.

Perhaps no other foodstuff ignites so much passion as bacon, so this season, why not pass along some swiny love with a copy of James Villas's new porcine opus, The Bacon Cookbook? With clear prose and concise instructions, Villas, the former food editor of Town & Country magazine (and sometimes SAVEUR contributor), takes readers on an educational international tour of bacon dishes that range from soup to nuts (literally: see his Chicken, Bacon, Meatball, and Chickpea Stew and the Bacon Almond Cheese Spread).

Take your favorite Francophile on a tour of the global cuisine of the City of Lights with a copy of The The Ethnic Paris Cookbook by Charlotte Puckette and Olivia Kiang-Snaije. In this colorful collection, coq-au-vin takes a backseat to couscous as the authors explore the food and history of Paris's immigrant communities and guide readers to the top spots for Moroccan tagine, Vietnamese pho, and Laotian beef salad. __

The Savoy Cocktail Book{rel=nofollow{ was originally published in 1930, but it remains a must-have resource for serious mixologists and amateur cocktail sippers to this day. Give the lush in your life a copy of the newest edition, which features bright, stylish Jazz Age illustrations and hundreds of recipes for timeless tipples like the Bronx cocktail and the sidecar.

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