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Best food-related gift you ever received or gave?

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What's the best food/cooking related gift you have ever received or gave to someone? It can be something as simple as a cookbook that sparked your interest in cooking or as extravagant as a private chef coming to cook for you.

One of my most memorable gifts is the spouse treating me to a 14 course birthday meal at Momofuku Ko with accompanying wine flights. I also had a friend who mentions that he still uses the cleaver that I and another friend gave for his birthday over 10 years ago. He buys whole sides of lamb and loves to break it down using that cleaver.

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  1. We received a year subscription to a Bacon of the Month club as a wedding gift. It was the best thing ever!

    1 Reply
    1. re: rebs

      Yes!!! How can bacon not be the best gift ever?

    2. My KitchenAid mixer in Duke Blue from my boyfriend, now-husband (who incidentally went to Duke's rival school) I'd ogled it for years... It was the first Christmas we were together, and I'm pretty confident he sealed the deal when I unwrapped the box. Talk about legendary!

      1. Many many years ago, when I lived in Turkey, a dear friend who was a resterauteur gave me a KILO of fresh beluga caviar from the Black Sea for my birthday. Yes! Premium grade! If I had that caviar today, I could sell it an buy my own private 747! Well, if I tasted it first, maybe only a Lamborghini. Or a bicycle? But oh my god, it was soooooooo exquisitely wonderful!

        The best food gift I ALMOST gave away, was a Christmas or two after my second divorce, which was financially devestating and then some. So I decided to make a whole bunch of different home made candies for my kids. Rum balls. Truffles. Lokoum. Peppermint sticks. About eight or ten different types. One was chocolate dipped "gourmet" (it said so on the package) dill weed ruffle cut potato chips. I made two bags of them. Then I made the mistake of tasting them. Neither of my children has ever tasted them. They were FANTASTIC! The kids were very happy with the other candies. Sometimes wickedness is its own reward. '-)

        10 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          next time you are going to an event where they have one of those ridiculous chocolate fountains, be sure to have a bag of chips hidden away in your purse.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            BINGO! I'll feature a chocolate fountain surrounded by dill potato chips at my next fete and come up as Hostess with the Mostest! Thanks for the idea, KM! '-)

          2. re: Caroline1

            When I was about nine, we stayed at the Sheraton (now Intercontinental) in Istanbul. The took us to the restaurant on top with it's fantastic views of the Bosporus. They then treated us to Beluga caviar, complete with a table side fanfare. It was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. Just devine. Although I have had fine caviar since, nothing came close to what I had there.

            The treat back fired on my parents a bit, as we then ALWAYS asked for caviar when we saw it on the menu.

            1. re: cosmogrrl

              I have totally given up on finding another beluga that matches what Sureya gave me for my birthday. I've tried Iranian, and all of the rest, but it's all disappointing. The closest I've come in texture was salmon roe during a "Salmon Festival" in a Texas restaurant nearly twenty years ago. Living in Turkey for four years was an incredible blessing. Incredible food, incredible people, incredible history. Reliving a fond memory, Sureya had standing orders in all of his restaurants that whenever I was seated, a complimentary bowl of caviar appeared instantly! How do you spell "spoiled"? C... A... R... Well, you know the rest. It all came to a screeching halt when we moved back to the U.S. <sigh> When I win the lottery, I'm moving to Istanbul! '-)

              1. re: Caroline1

                My good news is that my college girlfriend gave me a jar of Romanoff Iranian Caspian Sea beluga caviar for Christmas of 1974. The bad news is that I still have it.

                1. re: Veggo

                  I can see still having the jar, Veg, but if the contents are still in it, SHAME ON YOU....!

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    It used to have pretty black spheres visible through the glass jar, but 36 years later it's a more uniform shade of gray, not unlike the border around this post.
                    My bad.

                2. re: Caroline1

                  I just reread this thread and still am blown away by this. I can barely imagine the luxury of it. I'm pretty happy with my 2oz. jars of flying fish roe :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'm still blown away by it too, and it happened fifty two years ago! It ain't just diamonds that are forever! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

                      What a fabulous memory to have, Caroline, thanks for sharing it with us.
                      I feel pretty blessed to get an order of ikura when we go for sushi, but obviously it doesn't hold a candle to your kilo of beluga- I can't even imagine what it looks like.

            2. a 1.5Kg tin of Ox Tongue from Harrod's in London.....the one packed in "Jelly". delicious!...mmmmmmmmmmmm, meat jelly.

              1. I was very generously given a Thermomix for my wedding. My life is now almost complete. Also, my very thoughtful brother always gives me excellent food related gifts. Most years I get a subscription to my favourite food magazine (Delicious.), but this year he gave me a ceramic knife and peeler and my husband kindly picked up my food porn subscription.

                1. Superstitious people will disagree.....but the in lieu of a monetary gift, I always give a quality knife set to business associates and friends for wedding gifts when I feel money may not be the best gift for the occasion. Ever receiver has always appreciated the gift and mentions it years after it was given.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: fourunder

                    just put a penny in with the knives, then you are giving them money, the knives are just an extra.

                    hey, if you are gonna deal with superstition, then play the game all the way.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      In the Ozarks, the gift of a knife is 'paid' for by the reciever with a coin...

                      1. re: weewah

                        Yes in our family you would have to pay for that gift! Anything sharp.

                      2. re: KaimukiMan

                        do know your audience - in Asian cultures, the gift of a knife is a symbolic severing of the relationship.

                        (at least according to every "what to give" book and website I've ever seen...and a friend who's an international relations consultant)

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Looks like I need to go out and buy some more knives for gifts.....

                          :-)

                    2. We have a good friend who makes the best peanut brittle in the world. We always get a container of it for Christmas. In return, we make the best limoncello in the world and give that as gifts. For his birthday one year, my husband got the gift of a cooking class where he (& the rest of us) learned how to make pasta. Best gift ever.

                      1. My sister-in-law gave us a marble mortar and pestle for Christmas a few years ago. I still use it on an almost daily basis.

                        1. Three Shun Classic knives (paring, bird's beak paring, and a Santoku) was given to me for one Christmas present. Another year was a (then) 25yo aged balsamic vinegar. That vinegar is now close to 35yo. :-)

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I've been looking at the balsamic and debating for a long time now, so a very crass question: When it is all finally gone, do you like it enough to buy another bottle out of your own pocket? Me? I'd probably start by delicately letting the gifter know I'm running on empty. '-)

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Yes, I will probably buy another bottle - I honestly don't know the price of what she bought me, but I'll probably go to Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA, which has a very nice selection in their store(s) (as well as online), and ask there. They're pretty knowledgeable about the products they sell.

                              However, I'd say I still have a few years to go before I've used it up. :-)

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              And I'd like to report that the Shun Santoku is still sharp as a b*tch. Took off about 1/4 of my left forefinger's nail bed yesterday evening while doing some prep. ::::Sigh::::

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Ew! =( Hope your finger heals quickly!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I feel your pain, as one that didn't think he needed the mandoline guard! 3 stiches:(

                                  1. re: BubblyOne

                                    Oh yeah. *THAT* sucker is something I heeded the warning about.

                                    I really REALLY need to master the finger curl when chopping. :-/

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      One of the occasional problems of doing lots of prep for me, and enjoying the wine during. Damn, no wonder it takes me 2 bottles for a 1/2 cup recipe;)

                              2. One of my favourite gifts received was a set of monogrammed Sferra linen dinner napkins.

                                1. My brother sent me an italian theme basket by fedex probably 15 years ago. It had the best parmegian-reggiano I ever tasted, really good olive oil, and a bunch of other great things. The funniest thing of all? My brother didn't even know it was a great gift...

                                  1. I went to a cutlery store with a good friend and he asked me which knife I would buy..I suggested a Global. He bought it and had it shipped to me. I thought he was buying one for himself..

                                    1. For my MIL's 80th birthday, we compiled all of her best recipes (including scans of recipes with her handwritten notes, pictures of family holiday dinners, etc.) and did one of the books you can organize online and have printed. We sent copies to our closest relatives and to her, of course. It took quite a bit of time, but she really appreciated the gift and it's something that can be passed down so we don't forget her cooking.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: BubblyOne

                                        That is an awesome gift! And a wonderful idea! Now if I could only get a copy ;)

                                        1. re: cosmogrrl

                                          She is a really proficent cook and world traveler (career military family), so there was lots of good stuff. It ended up being around $40 a copy, otherwise I would be happy to!

                                          1. re: BubblyOne

                                            Ha! That was my mother's history too. she had some good cookbooks and followed them well until she got going on her own. Does anybody know how or if I can get a hold of the camp LeJeune military wives' cookbook, circa the early-to- mid 1950s? I think I remember seeing some good stuff there

                                        2. re: BubblyOne

                                          That is such a wonderful gift...great idea. I can imagine how touching that was for her.

                                        3. Seems like knives are a favorite item to give/receive. Yeah, I also had "sell" the cleaver to my friend for a penny otherwise superstition said it would sever the friendship.

                                          I've got multiple friends' birthdays coming up and some of them are really into cooking so I like the idea of sending food/cooking related magazine subscriptions. Much more affordable than doing cheese of the month or bacon of the month clubs. My husband would love the bacon one!

                                          Not seeing too many mentions of food hampers - I'm never too sure about those myself as I've never found one where I liked the entire/majority of the contents. Sometimes it seems like they selectodd filler items that no one really eats (gentleman's relish?)

                                          1. In my early 20s, I received a shirt box full of multiple layers of Hershey's Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (a.k.a. Peanut Blossoms), homemade by a friend of the family. 20 years later, that's still my favorite food-related gift ever.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              And are you still wearing any of them...? '-)

                                            2. Gave: our family cookbook. I started with a core of my grandmother's and great-grandmother's recipes. I even have photocopied handwritten recipes for some of their really treasured dishes in there. Then I collected more recipes from all the members of our family. This was back in the late 80s, early 90s. Finally in 1996, I self published the book and had 100 copies printed. Everyone in the family got one and as kids have grown up and become adults, they have gotten copies.

                                              Received: my great-grandmother's well seasoned, over 100 year old cast iron skillets.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: decolady

                                                Oh the cast iron - how great for you!
                                                I have my grandma's whis are over 60 years old : ) and I use them every day

                                                1. re: weewah

                                                  It truly is wonderful. I don't know how I would cook without them. :-) You just can't buy new cast iron like these. I always feel a connection with her when I am cooking. And how nice that you got your grandmother's.

                                              2. A coworker whose husband had a grocery store in SF Chinatown gave me a box of every imaginable Chinese condiment and sauce, dry noodle, etc when we moved from Berkeley to way way WAY upstate NY. They lasted me through the two years of exile.
                                                While we were there, my father brought me a basket of about 5 different types of ripe Ontario field tomatoes - a lot of them were the oxhearts I particularly love.
                                                He also arranged to have his niece send him wild blueberries from Northern Ontario to have when I went back to visit him (even the last year he was with us).
                                                Nice memories of two people who are now gone.

                                                1. I love this question! I will refer to it next time I am gift-shopping! When I was about 12 years old...oh, that's about 32 years ago(!?)... my dad bought me a plastic cookie press. I was very excited and tried it out immediately. It didn't work too well, so he said he would return it. He came home the next day with a light-yellow Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! That was quite and upgrade! I enjoyed it for many years and was pleased to pass it on to my sister, after which my husband bought me a black one for my next birthday! Boy I am lucky.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: monafelice

                                                    Now THAT's a nice daddy!

                                                    1. re: monafelice

                                                      SERIOUSLY nice upgrade, monafelice! LOL

                                                      1. re: monafelice

                                                        I was just reading on a forum where a member was debating whether to invest in a KA stand mixer. I didn't respond, as mine had been a Christmas gift from my folks years ago. I absolutely love it. Between that and the Henkels knife set, they give great gifts!

                                                        1. re: monafelice

                                                          What a great dad! I was excited just to have an easy-bake oven! But I definitely made sure to include a pistachio green KA mixer on my bridal registry and my bridesmaids got it for me! Such great friends!!

                                                        2. Received:
                                                          Canon EOS REBEL T2i, on wednesday, for food photography!!

                                                          Kitchen aid professional 600 model.

                                                          BBQ tongs.

                                                          I've given as a combined gift with my sisters a pink kitchen aid to my mother on the holidays.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                            Now that's a great gift.

                                                          2. When I was 18 my brother gave me a heavy stainless steel saucepan to use at university. For 3 years it was the only good pan we had in our student kitchen. Now, 30 years later, I am retiring it as it doesn't work on my new induction hob - I'll be sad to see it go but has has served me well for so long - and it is going to a new home, for maybe another 30 years.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Peg

                                                              Pots.. how could I forget pots!!

                                                              I love my lagnostina sauce pan that I received as a gift and also my copper bottomed big pot.

                                                            2. My mother and father, who are now both gone, gave us a Kitchen Aid mixer for our wedding. I think of them every time I use it.

                                                              1. a jura capresso super automatic espresso maker, from the ex's mother. and no, she cannot have it

                                                                1. The worst... oops...best food-related gift I received was a generous gift certificate to Alinea.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: violin

                                                                    ;)

                                                                    As a Chicagoan, that thread was like watching a soap opera being filmed just down the street. It was addicting. And, in the end no-one was cheated on, or murdered, or had their paternity denied. It just worked out okay. Which was even more shocking.

                                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                      You didn't have to be a Chicagoan to be fascinated. Glad it worked out OK in the end.

                                                                  2. I absolutely had to update on this thread. I was just given NINJABREAD MEN cookie cutters! I am so excited to make ninja cookies - possibly more excited than my 6 year old son.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                      LOL! But a fun thing for the *both* of you to do - and get him interested in cooking and/or baking! Have fun making ninjabread men!

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Yup, he got so excited and made me promise that I'd teach him how too cook over the summer holidays. It was one of those proud parental moments when he asked that :)

                                                                        1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                          OK, I just have a HUGE grin on my face this morning, Huntress! So glad he's interested in learning to cook!

                                                                    2. definitely one that i gave, just last year:
                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7074...

                                                                      i have yet to receive anything really memorable...the private dinner with Morimoto that i had to turn down a couple of weeks ago would likely have been it!

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Oh, ghg, I *love* that gift for your mother - what a special memory!

                                                                        And double-damn on having to turn down a private dinner with Morimoto!

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          yeah, she was pretty blown away. the only problem is that i don't think i'll ever be able to top it :)

                                                                          re: the Morimoto dinner, i was so disappointed that i started a thread to gripe about it!
                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750707

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            I just read the gift you got your mom and couldn't help but tear up. What a great thing you did.

                                                                            It reminds me of my uncle getting DiCarlo's pizza from West Virginia sent to my family- my grandfather used to live in Moundesville, WV and whenever we visited we ate this pizza with him. (I don't care what anyone says, that pizza in a small shop in West VA is the best pizza I've ever had!) After he died we never went back. One Christmas we opened the door, and there was a delivery guy with boxes of DiCarlos pizza to defrost and enjoy...with my grandfather in mind.

                                                                            1. re: eviemichael

                                                                              and yours just brought tears to MY eyes. quite a thoughtful bunch we Hounds and our families are :)

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                For sure. :)

                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          OK, I was allergic to soy for a few years (yes, I really was allergic, and yes, I "outgrew" it), and I'm gluten intolerant, but I would have gotten some charcoal tablets and perhaps a prescription for prednisone and gone to dinner anyway.

                                                                          That is, if I knew he would have made something without meat . . .

                                                                          1. re: guilty

                                                                            ha! i wish it was that simple. when i eat gluten i get migraines, blisters in my mouth, a skin rash, stomach cramps and nausea (yes, ALL of them); if i eat soy it screws with my thyroid hormones & metabolic functioning; and of course prednisone makes my face, legs & feet swell up...good times, right? :)

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              Sorry; after I wrote my reply, I realized that my food reactions could be much less severe than yours--and apparently they are. I'm sorry for your tribulations, and if I seemed callous.

                                                                              In any case, I'm sure you have many other wonderful food experiences ahead of you. I mean, the universe owes you now ;)

                                                                              1. re: guilty

                                                                                no, no, i didn't take offense at all! in fact, i laughed when i read your post. believe me, i *wish* i could just occasionally take preventive measures and indulge. i tried that just once, about a year after getting my Celiac diagnosis and being completely GF. i was visiting my folks and Dad was bringing home nova and sable from Zabar's, so i dosed myself with enzymes and digestive aids, and had a super-thin slice of a Kossar's bialy from NYC to go along with the fish. i was sick for 3 days.

                                                                                but i hope you're right about that universal debt. i'll take it! ;)

                                                                        3. Best Received:

                                                                          Easy Bake Oven: which really piqued my interest in baking, cooking etc.

                                                                          Antique English Silver Soup Spoons : these were my Mom's and were always "too good to use" when I was growing up. Now they're used frequently, with love.

                                                                          My Mom's Rolling Pin

                                                                          Antique Yellow ware mixing bowls: a gift from my husband who regrets his purchase because they have to be hand washed!!

                                                                          Best Given:

                                                                          A set of antique linen napkins from Italy given to a friend whose treasured belongings were lost when being shipped from Italy.

                                                                          I sat w my friend's Mom and recorded her talking through all her family recipes. I then typed them all out in Word and gave my friend and her Mom each hard and soft copies of the recipes and, the taped record to my friend. (Oh, and kept a copy for me too!!)

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            I had always wanted an Easy Bake Oven as a kid and never got one. So in college, knowing this story, a friend bought me an Easy Bake Oven. Such a sweet gift! I think I cooked one tiny cake (which of course took an hour and a half or so to cook by light bulb), but it was still awesome.

                                                                            Though one year my mother and aunt (and I) chipped in to buy me a Vitamix--definitely my most-used kitchen tool ever.

                                                                            And actually, when I was completely destitute and living on brown rice, spinach, eggplant, and occasionally (when I could afford it) tofu, my mother's gift of a collection of Indian spice blends improved my quality of life an immeasurable degree. That might have been the best.

                                                                            1. re: guilty

                                                                              i totally forgot about my Easy-Bake Oven! okay, that was the best food-related gift i ever received :)

                                                                              i'm still waiting for a Vitamix...

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                I hated my Easy-Bake. I begged for one, and then was gifted. I was then banished to the kitchen to 'figure it out'. I made a small cake that was then split among the five of us. I had to make an Easy Bake cake every night, until I ran out of mix. I think that was my mother teaching me why she hated to cook. I was not given a refill on the mixes.

                                                                                But when I was twenty-five, and confessed I had never purchased cookware on my own, and was still living with whatever I had scrounged since moving out, this same mother bought me a beautiful set of stainless steel cookware for Christmas: small pots, two dutch ovens, two skillets, and a double boiler.

                                                                                I have come to understand that she dislikes the obligation behind cooking, but *likes* that I like to cook.

                                                                          2. My husband hired a chef to come to our house on my birthday to cook a multi-course meal with wine flights. It was incredible - no clean up involved, either, as she used her own stuff. Very romantic - just for the two of us. I had no idea that plan was in the works!

                                                                            My husband has flown me to locations for culinary classes, markets, meals and to try unique ingredients. One of my favourite experiences - truffle hunting and subsequent eating.

                                                                            My favourite tangible gifts have been my KitchenAid pro mixer with pasta attachments - again, from my husband. Gel mats were also a great idea. I am a very, very spoiled girl but I am also very, very appreciative.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                                              that's some husband ;)

                                                                            2. Recently stopped by a Nesspresso boutique - thought those might make for a very nice, but expensive gift for someone who's a big coffee drinker. But it locks them into buying those capsules so maybe it's a bad gift idea?

                                                                              1. Hubby gave me the mack-daddy 6-quart Pro Kitchenaid several years ago. Everyone was talking about what they got for Christmas, and when I announced that (with a big grin on my face) one woman asked "Serious? he gave you an effing MIXER?!" (I don't think she knew what it was, and had hand mixer in her mind)

                                                                                I just replied that I was thrilled with it, and it was on par with giving Tim Taylor a Binford 3000. That she understood.

                                                                                It's the only appliance that made the cut when we moved to Europe -- I have a BIG transformer to run it (read: expensive and heavy) -- but it runs fine and is slated to get quite the workout today (cookie time).

                                                                                (Yes, I know that using it on a transformer negates the warranty. But when faced with the option of getting rid of my beloved mixer and buying a European one at twice the price and half the power, it wasn't a big decision.)

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  I totally understand! Some of my friends "got" that my Pro KA would be the best thing possible to get me but others, obviously those who did not know me as well, didn't get it whatsoever. I lusted after that thing for ages and it still is one of my favourite possessions and always will be. I, too, will be taking it along to Europe when we move there - I absolutely must.

                                                                                  1. re: chefathome

                                                                                    Make sure you buy the biggest, baddest transformer you can buy (I think this one was like $80-100, so not a wallet-buster)...then make sure that you plug the transformer directly into the wall. They don't like extension cords or power strips.

                                                                                    Then plug the KA directly into the transformer...no extension cords coming out of the transformer, either. Fussy little blighters.

                                                                                    I did lose my Black & Decker hand mixer...but quite frankly I don't know if it was the electricity (I was running it on a smaller transformer) or the fact that the damned thing was older than dirt, and the replacement I bought is far more powerful, so I won that one.

                                                                                    Also...sell or give away your coffee makers, waffle irons, Foreman grills -- anything that heats up. They truly do not get along with the different voltage, even with a transformer, and it will be money well spent to just replace the resistance-heating appliances with ones designed to run on the existing electricity.

                                                                                    I'm only a customer, but we bought ours from www.220-electronics.com -- they're in Chicago, and very helpful on the phone...and carry all kinds of things designed for international life (code-free DVD players, etc., etc.,etc...as well as good advice on what transformers and adapters you'll need for what you ARE taking with you

                                                                                    )

                                                                                    Oh yes -- and European accessories will NOT fit your US machine...you'll have to find room for those in your suitcase when you go home for a visit.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Thanks for the excellent advice. I just cannot bear to part with some of my things! We will be giving away most of our appliances, lamps, etc. (some family members will be quite lucky!). We are fortunate to have a huge stone outdoor kitchen with two level fireplace in Europe so we'll be grilling, roasting and cooking up a storm whilst enjoying the outdoors.

                                                                                      We're from the US but most of what you say still applies. We've already purchased lamps, electric grill, mixer and such while in Europe

                                                                                      Thanks again!

                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                        Lamps you can use -- a plug adapter and a European light bulb are all it takes. (a US light bulb will explode. Trust me) An E27 bulb (27mm) is almost exactly the same size as a standard US light bulb...we are about half and half with US and European lamps in our house, and have had zero problems. (Only issue was the lamp that takes flame-shaped small bulbs - it would be an E12 if you could find them, but that proved impossible, so I ordered them from a place in New Jersey called Light Bulbs Direct)

                                                                                        (when can I come visit?!)

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Thanks, sunshine. Where are you in Europe? How long have you lived there? We are not living there yet full time but plan to live there 9 months of the year and in Canada 3 months. It is so lovely to travel to your own home and live there (albeit temporarily for now) rather than be a tourist. You see things completely differently - that patron at that restaurant is a neighbour, you make friends you will see again, etc. Our house is in the country so we get to forage for mushrooms, fruits, nuts, herbs, etc. Ahhhhh....bliss... Another reason we are moving there is that it is so easy to travel (drive) from there to other European countries when we want.

                                                                                          Anyway, that is another topic . Another of my favourite gifts was a huge granite mortar and pestle which I use costantly as I enjoy grinding my own spices and making sauces/pestos.

                                                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                                                            I'm in the Paris region- we've been here a few years now.

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Hi, Sunshine! We are also living in Europe (stationed here with the military). Today, our daughter received an Easy Bake Oven from Santa. He brought one made for the US since he couldn't find one here in Germany. Our question for you and any others: can we use a 220v bulb in the Easy Bake Oven in place of a 110v? My husband opened up the back and looked at the bulb fitting. This has 250v 660w max stamped on the fitting. Really? I am thinking as bulbs are interchangeable (like lamps) this would work for this EBO, as I believe it only uses a bulb and no fan or motor. Not sure if cooking times would need to be adjusted or how to adjust the times. I have a 60w 220v clear bulb here. Lumens would be higher with a 220v bulb, I think, so the lower wattage might be okay.

                                                                                        I did leave any appliances that had motors in the States. I remembered that from our last tour in Europe (BK - before kids).

                                                                                        Thanks for any insight and wisdom.

                                                                                        1. re: amilitarywife

                                                                                          I can't say as to something like that -- but I use 220v bulbs in my US lamps with no problems, so it won't *hurt* anything, even if it doesn't work.

                                                                                          Since the socket is rated 250v, you shouldn't have any problems...but make sure you buy one of the old-fashioned bulbs that heats up, not one of the energy-efficient ones.

                                                                                          Merry Christmas...and I hope you're raising a true Hound (I started with an aqua-blue Easy Bake Oven....)

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            My Easy Bake Oven has to be one of my best gifts. I wonder if they will disappear when standard incandescent light bulbs are phased out.

                                                                                            1. re: decolady

                                                                                              they will when incandescent bulbs are phased out in 2012

                                                                                  2. Given: One fat Culatello. The pork variety ; )

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                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                      Wish l were on your list.

                                                                                    2. My grandmother's super smooth cast iron pans, 12 and 10 inch skillets, and corn stick plates, probably at least 50 years old. Best gift ever!

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: amyzan

                                                                                        Ooh that IS a great gift. I thieved mine. My moral fiber is weakened when cast iron is at play.

                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                          Oh, trust me, I harangued my mom for years before I was gifted these family heirlooms! Thievery was tempting, but I'm still trying to regain my mom's trust after my teen years, (and I'm forty two.) I wasn't actually that bad a teen, but my mom's standards are strict. <sigh> All this personal history made the gift even that much sweeter!

                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                            my mother had a le creuset COLLECTION!!!!! she never used it - just one piece, which she cooked chili in - i think she got tired of the weight. I personally love it, and use it almost every day! I got half the pans - my SIL got the other half. don't know if she ever uses them though..

                                                                                            1. re: rmarisco

                                                                                              my mother had a classic orange Le Creuset dutch oven she used through my childhood. She got tired of the weight, and gave it to my aunt. She realized almost immediately she'd made a mistake and bought a new one.

                                                                                        2. re: amyzan

                                                                                          +1, though mine came from my great-grandmother and are now over 100 years old. Her collection also included 6" & 8" skillets and a griddle. I've had them since 1976 and wouldn't know how to cook without them.

                                                                                        3. After my grandmother died I got her wooden rolling pin. It even has the knife notches in it where she used it with her butcher knives! I love it. And, I think of her wonderful rugelach every time I use it.....................sigh............. :-)

                                                                                          1. In the Philippines it's tradition to bring three things into a new home before you bring in anything else: rice, salt and a crucifix (the country is mostly Catholic due to 4 centuries of spanish colonialism). My parents immigrated to Canada when I was a baby and carried on that tradition every time we moved. Now when I go to a friend's housewarming party I bring them a variation on this: one time the gift was sake, salted capers and a chocolate in the shape of Buddha. Another time I brought homemade shortbread cookies made with rice flour with one end dipped in chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt. If you're wondering about the chocolate, I figure it's heavenly so it makes for a good variation for the crucifix ;)

                                                                                            1. I'd have to say some spices you can't get in these parts to my Mom. She calls me up to tell me how tasty everything is when she cooks with them. I love it.

                                                                                              1. One the most memorable gifts I received was an invite to a private food demo by Michael Symon. There were ten of us that attended the demo, where he prepared three different recipes that we eventually sat down to eat...good food, good wine, good friends, and Chef Symon was great fun. Most useful gift...my Cameron stovetop smoker! Absolutely LOVE it.

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: VeggieHead

                                                                                                  Wowza, nice!

                                                                                                  1. re: VeggieHead

                                                                                                    yeah, had i actually been able to *attend* i'm pretty sure the invitation i received from a friend earlier this year would have been the best food-related gift i ever received...it was for a trip to Napa - luxury hotel suite included - to accompany her to a private dinner hosted by Morimoto. every time i think about having to miss that experience i get a little nauseated.

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      I think that little story just made me tear up a bit :)- I certainly hope that whatever your were obligated to was worth it for you or someone else.

                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                        aww, thanks allie :) another obligation wasn't the reason i had to decline - short of a death in the family i don't think anything would have been worth turning down that opportunity. unfortunately it was necessitated by my dietary restrictions...or so i thought! i was so distressed over it that i griped about it here:
                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750707

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          Wow, ghg--interesting thread. It must have been so frustrating. I don't know that much about celiac disease, but I really admire the fact that you continue to love food and seem to find great ways to feed your appetite!

                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                            you're such a sweetheart. yeah, there are days when i hate the universe for it, but we all have our challenges, and at least i was blessed with the determination and skill to nurture my inner Chowhound despite my restrictions. oh, and i sincerely hope that *you* never have any need to learn more about it! BTW, i hope your appetite has improved and you're happily chowing away now - my rather lengthy reply was one of the many that were removed from your thread.

                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              Thank you so much, you are so kind :) I certainly hope it never comes into my life--but now I can see that it is not the end of the world.
                                                                                                              Sorry your post was removed--ugh, medical adivce! I am doing considerably better. My appetite is rarely there, but I've learned to enjoy small portions of foods I typically enjoy and am thinking of hosting a tapas party. The loss of hunger may always be there to a degree, but I, like you, will find a way to work around it!! And hey, not even a hint of a headache, ever. It's a glorious thing.

                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                i'm *thrilled* to hear you're doing better :) i suffer from migraines too - though not as frequently as you did - and i know how much they suck, so i'm sure being headache-free is a HUGE relief for you.

                                                                                                                when you're ready to throw that tapas party there are some great ideas in existing threads on the HC board, and of course we'll all be happy to chime in if you need more!

                                                                                                  2. The best food gift I ever got was a long weekend trip to Normandy. I was studying for a while in the Czech Republic, while mr. gator was working relly long hours and traveling a lot in the US. It was a good time for us to have me go. But as summer came in, it was hot and still and the polution was driving me nuts. So mr. gator arranged for me to take the trip, emailed me my itinerary with instructions to "eat and breathe well". The whole trip was heaven.

                                                                                                    As gifts, I tend to give Le Creuset gadgets and people seem to like it.

                                                                                                    1. Can't believe I managed to miss this thread. My best food gift was a gallon-sized bag of wild blackberries hand-picked by my best friend's then-husband. Blackberry cobbler has always been my birthday cake, and he must have been around when he heard me moan about the difference in wild berries and the cultivated ones. Very thoughtful, and a nice man; sorry the marriage didn't work, but she ended up marrying a Serious Cook!

                                                                                                      1. Mr S and I are always giving each other cooking related presents (we met working in the kitchen at the Banff Springs Hotel). Last year, he gave me a 24 quart stock pot for my birthday. And I had a Darth Vader spatula in my stocking at Christmas. I put a whole rabbit in his stocking...he had been dying to make Hasenpfeffer (at the BSH, we worked together in their German restaurant) and rabbit hasn't been in the budget.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                          giggling at the mental picture of a styrofoam package ( or worse, fuzzy little feet) sticking out of a Christmas stocking.

                                                                                                          Kinda twisted, but pretty funny (and actually a sweet gift).

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            I had some leftover fake fur to attach to the package. Twisted, I know.

                                                                                                            1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                              ROFL...I *like* you!

                                                                                                        2. My mother was very into antiques for a couple of decades or so. One year probably about 25 years ago, I found a beautiful white Limoges platter at an out of the way antiques place close to where she lived. (You don't find places like this anymore.) I bought it and asked for a box. The only box the owner could come up with was toilet seat box! I took it, wrapped and gave it my mom who laughed about the box and was thrilled with the platter.

                                                                                                          Much later she made sure to give it to me, and i have it now standing in an acrylic easel in my china cabinet. It is probably the most beautiful platter I have ever seen.

                                                                                                          It is big and deep; I wish I could use it, but seldom do. It easily serves a LARGE turkey.

                                                                                                          1. u can hope to get on my xmas list...or bday..or my father for fathers day..
                                                                                                            i usually send usda prime porterhouse and filet mignon gift packs...

                                                                                                            1. As a young soldier Christine, the light of my life sent me a beaker to drink my tea out of each morning.
                                                                                                              It was delightful and i was the envy of the mess hall.
                                                                                                              After about 2 years, stood in my barrack room i dropped the beaker, it fell in slow motion i swear, hit the polished wooden floor by the handle and did not break, bit then hit my metal bed and shatttered in to a hundred pieces (as did our relationship some time later)

                                                                                                              Over the years I have often thought about that beaker but could never track one down, until one day, sat at my computer I realised that the brand name was 'Duchess' and not 'Princess'
                                                                                                              Within an hour my order was booked and after 50 years i have two, to admire and use.
                                                                                                              Never give up hope.

                                                                                                              Duchess China June Bouquet:

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. My cousin scrapbooked recipes that are cherished by herself, me, and her two siblings (we were the four grandkids in our family) and gave it to me as a wedding gift. Most of the recipes aren't fancy but they are time-tested and delicious, and I am thrilled to have them.

                                                                                                                1. My Kitchenaid stand mixer from my wonderful DH.

                                                                                                                  Best give I ever gave was homemade egg rolls (frozen) with mustard dipping sauce. And one year I gave homemade vegetable broth (frozen), homemade bread, and handmade pork sausage.

                                                                                                                  1. I introduced a coworker to the yumminess known as Green Bean Casserole when I brought it to a potluck (it wasn't part of her family's culture). When she married, I gave her a Pyrex casserole dish, a handwritten recipe card with the recipe for GBC and the necessary ingredients. She was absolutely delighted. :-)

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                      LOL -- when I taught English to adult professionals in France, they were fascinated by the idea of Thanksgiving. I had a whole lesson built around the traditional meal, but I had to explain GBC as green beans, fried onions (you can buy the same thing there), mushrooms, and bechamel...because I didn't want to try to explain cream o'crap soup to anybody.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        Yep, cream o' soup doesn't translate very easily. ;)

                                                                                                                        1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                          and bechamel at least *sort of* comes close -- with fresh beans and mushrooms, might even be really good -- but there's a part of me that craves the canned version!

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            God forbid that awful, corporate invented dish should ever find its way onto my Thanksgiving dinner table. I remember when Campbells invented it in the '70's and my then MIL thought it was the best thing to grace the Thanksgiving table she had heard of in years. I never liked it, from the canned green beans to the greasy onions and creamed soup-crap. What the heck does it have to do with Thanksgiving anyway? No offense, GBC lovers, but it represents everything that I personally think is really bad about industrialized food.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                              to each their own.

                                                                                                                              It probably won't appear on our table at T-day, but I've also never seen a dish of it at any large function (pot luck, holiday get-together, etc) that wasn't scraped clean.

                                                                                                                    2. My sister and brother in law took DH and I out for a VERY fancy brunch. At one point the waitress came to our table. "Would anyone like the caviar sampler? (beat) It's included."

                                                                                                                      All hands went into the air! Lovely.

                                                                                                                      And my husband worked with my folks and his folks, and one year surprised me with the heavy duty kitchen-aid mixer of my dreams. That machine gets regular (and much appreciated) use!

                                                                                                                      Wait - my husband also got me my 11 cup, made in Japan Cuisinart. I think there's a theme here...

                                                                                                                      1. For best gift you've ever given - I have two.

                                                                                                                        1. A dear friend who's mother had passed away decades ago lamented that, since that time, she'd never had a plum cake like her mom's. Armed with her description, I hit the internet, sent some pics, got feedback and then proceeded to bake. She took one bite and burst into tears. It was it. I felt so lucky to be able to do that for her.

                                                                                                                        2. A friend was facing back surgery. I gave her many choices of food, i.e. what could I bring. She chose chicken soup. So I made my Dad's jewish chicken soup, brought it to her, warmed it up so she could have a bowl - and her cats went CRAZY! Turns out, she loves soup but has never made it, so that was the first time her cats had smelled real chicken soup. One even went after the pot. So, we let it cool and gave them all dishes of it. They were thrilled and afterwards there was much licking of chops and grooming.

                                                                                                                        Seeing her cats so giddy gave my friend SUCH a needed lift. And then she got the soup too : )

                                                                                                                        1. A timely topic in our house. We are moving and just got insurance on the new house, a 106 year old beauty.
                                                                                                                          Our agent asked if we needed a rider for my jewelry. Ha!
                                                                                                                          I don't like diamonds or roses but... my kitchen? My knives, my stand mixer (hand carried to the new house) my Le Cruest, my china, my chyrstal, and the bar ware? Oh my! All of these have been gifts from my darling Husband and/or his family.
                                                                                                                          The best, bar none, are two hand made signs. One, made for me, says Bella Cucina. The other,given to me says Nana's Kitchen. We have no childern but I, appreantly, am the one who cooks like their Nana.
                                                                                                                          I am blessed with an in law family that loves food and loves me!

                                                                                                                          1. Received: a bottle of Macallan single malt cask strength scotch.

                                                                                                                            1. Old thread, but full of great memories. I really enjoy reading all of these.

                                                                                                                              Given: I worked for years to duplicate a greek coney sauce from my mother's childhood. Before she passed I managed to get it right and, although it wasn't wrapped, it was still a gift.

                                                                                                                              Received: My husband's family is from Turkey (he's the only expat of them all). Although I'm not fluent, I can get by passively in Turkish. I received a hand-written book of family recipes (in Turkish). Mostly they are his mother's recipes that have been passed down, but a few are newer ones from his sister. The gift comes not from any food made for me, but the food I'm able to make because I have the instructions to do so. And I get a kick out of it every time. "One tea cup of this, one glass of that, a handful of something else..." No exact measurements ever.

                                                                                                                              I've yet to master her boğaça recipe that's in there because it's all "add enough yogurt until the dough feels right".

                                                                                                                              1. given:
                                                                                                                                for his 2012 birthday I gave DH a coffee of the month club from Peets. He LOVED it. I'll certainly do another coffee of the month club in a few years. :)

                                                                                                                                received:
                                                                                                                                my kitchen aid stand mixer - received for Christmas several years ago when my grandmother's stand mixer I'd been using finally died.

                                                                                                                                1. saffron!

                                                                                                                                  1. I was feeling very sorry for myself because I couldn't afford to return to Spain on a hoped-for trip recently. My friend went, and when she returned brought me about 50 pounds worth of Spanish goodies: saffron, oil, sherries, olives, cheeses, jamon, rice, salt, tins of goose barnacles, smoked paprika - and a giant paella pan. She spent her entire weight allowance and then some on me, and her only condition was that she be invited for dinner. And my gift to her was a dinner she said beat anything she'd had in Spain (I decided to just believe her.)

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: elenacampana

                                                                                                                                      Does your friend need another friend (me)??

                                                                                                                                    2. This is hardly a classy gift, but...
                                                                                                                                      When I was in junior high/high school I had a friend. Both of us were country kids in a town school, both of us sometimes a bit awkward socially. Without being too close, we still shored each other up on many occasions. At the end of grade 12 he brought me in a bag of penny candy. His father owned a small grocery store that catered to a lot of kids and he carried all the best brands of candy. I got a $2 bag - a LOT of candy in the early '70s when some things were 3 for a cent. It sounds small, but it was special to me, that he would remember that I loved penny candy. That shop had the best caramels -- I don't know the brand, but they were particularly luscious.
                                                                                                                                      Haven't thought of that for years -- thanks!

                                                                                                                                      1. The best food gift that I have ever given and continue to give is christmas stollen. My family is from Germany and every year for Christmas I try to make a loaf for everyone. It brings me back to when I was a child and cooking with my grandmother. The best foodie gift that I have received thus far is a kitchenaid mixer from my aunt. It was like an epiphany occured when I first started using it. It made it so much easier for me to make all of the baked goods that I love to make.