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Jul 28, 2008 04:20 PM

Gift Ingredients

I'd like to send a gift package to some lovely people in a rural part of the Midwest who hosted us this weekend. They love to cook and are open to all cuisines, but don't have access to ingredients. I'd love some suggestions for things that I can send in the mail. Thanks!

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  1. I just shopped at a new Middle Eastern grocery store the other day and came home with za'atar (which can be variations on the theme but mine has dried thyme, corriander, anise, fennel, sesame seed, salt), sumac (which is a tangy citrus powder), and pomegranate molasses (in a jar). Although I haven't cooked with any of it yet, I've tasted them all, and I'm excited about trying them.

    Also, a container of saffron might be nice. Vanilla beans.

    1. I live in a rural area, and things that I would love to get would be: smoked paprika, various kinds of salts, good arborio rice, Asian seasoning and non-perishables, herbs, really good chocolate, high quality oils and vinegars, truffle oil, pretty much anything that I can't find at the local grocery store. If they are interested in a particular regional cooking (such as Italian, Asian, etc) maybe some of those items?

      1. How about ingredients around a theme or particular ethnic cuisine. For ex, Italian: sundried tomatoes, dried porcini mushrooms, olive oil, artisanal pasta, etc. You can always through in a gadget or cooking utensil - wooden spoon, pasta stirrer, dish towel.

        1. 2nd for the vanilla beans, saffron.

          If they like to cook Indian, maybe a gift package of Indian grocer staples:
          A few diff garam masala blends
          mustard seeds
          asafoetida powder
          dried methi
          Maybe some of the spice mix blends like Shan -
          Seriously, you'd still be under 15.00 here so far.
          Couple that with a standard intro to Indian Cook Book.

          I recently did a "pan asian" gift box_

          Small btl of toasted sesame oil
          Small btl of toasted sesame/hot chile oil
          Small btl of oyster sauce
          small btl of lwo sodium soy
          small btl of ponzu
          small btl of mushroom soy
          small btl of unagi sauce
          two cans of coconut milk
          four different maesri curry paste cans
          pkg of nori
          tin of wasabi powder
          sml btl of rice vinegar
          2lb pkg of nishiki
          bamboo sushi mat
          few pairs of nice chopsticks
          small box of chocolate pocky sticks
          generous sprinkling of Japanese gummy candies
          So, I got all this from an Asian mkt, and spent right around 21.00. Needless to say it was well received, and many ppl at the party were absolutely amazed at it.

          1. Wow, thanks for the great ideas. A theme/ethnic centered box would be a great idea.