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Dec 7, 2010 08:22 AM

'Tis the Season! -- What's the WORST "perfect gift for a food-lover" you've ever received?

I'm seeing them everywhere, lists, photos and recommendations with supposedly "perfect gifts for a food-lover". Often I cringe at the thought of receiving some of the items recommended.

They always make me reflect on "horrible gifts of holidays past". Here are a few that came to mind:

- oven mitts with fur on the back that were supposed to look like bear paws. Why?

- a trivet that made bird sounds (same gifter as above. . .)

- a Chia pet herb plant

- a battery operated whisk

I'm sure I'll think of more. What about you?

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  1. I once gave an olive oil of the month club gift that promised two bottles of these delicious exotic sounding olive oils each month for three months... what the recipient got was two bottles of the same decent quality plain olive oil, two months in a row, and then two bottles of another brand of "ok" olive oil on the third month... when I found out about it, I called the company and as an apology, they sent two more bottles of the first brand of oil they sent twice...

    the website promised selections from:
    Jalapeno – Garlic Oil / Lemon and Red Pepper Oil / Garlic and Basil Oil / Rosemary and Sage Oil / Black Truffle Oil / Anchovy and Capers Oil / Citrus Oils (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine, etc…) / Lemon - Lime Oil / Chili Fajita Oil / Cuvee 60/40 Canola Blend Chili Oil / Italian Spice Oil / Orange – Basil Oil / Roasted Garlic Oil / Fresh Rosemary Oil /Red Wine and Pepper Oil / Mandarin Infused Oil / Lemon Thyme Olive Oil / Ginger and Rosemary Oil …
    we never got any of these

    1 Reply
    1. re: cgarner

      I would have been sorely disappointed! Some of those sounds amazing.

    2. <a Chia pet herb plant>

      This would be in my "best gift" column. What's not to like?

      I used to work for a place that gave the staff bottles of mediocre wine, with labels bearing the company name. I would rather they'd just given me the $8 or whatever it cost.

      32 Replies
      1. re: small h

        Thought of another one - a George Foreman grill, also a corporate gift. Then I moved in with someone who had his own George Foreman grill. So now we have two. Both still in their boxes.

          1. re: mtngirlnv

            Oh, no doubt. I just never felt the need to dig it out, set it up, etc., when I have other items (pans!) in which I can cook fish. But a couple posts down, gryphonskeeper is mocking Ronco, and my spousal equivalent lovedlovedloved his in-the-shell egg scrambler (until it broke). Chacon a son blah blah.

            1. re: mtngirlnv

              My mom loves hers too. She uses it at least 4x a week for everything from chicken to salmon to burgers.

              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                I had a small one... it cooked nicely (and super fast) but it was a real SOB to clean! I gave it away - it's much easier to wash a frypan in the sink than to try to get the gunk off a Foreman grill.

                1. re: Kajikit

                  what she did was use a water bottle when it was still hot, spray it, and wipe it with a paper towel. instant clean. But you MUST do it immediately. not much of a sacrifice for the simplicity of the grill.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    I love my G. Forman too, especially for chicken and salmon, also quesadillas come out unbelievably great. What I do to clean it, is put a wet paper towel inside while still warm, then when the time comes to clean it (I'm not big on doing dishes the second we're done eating) I use that to wipe most of the gook and do a quick cleaning after, with soap. I know people that don't even clean it though, they treat it like an outdoor grill and let the gunk burn off next time...these are professional kitchen people too. But it's a great invention, and a shame to just keep it in the box.

                    My BIL, who gives gifts without much thought involved, knew I had a Foreman but bought me a cheap panini maker which is basically the same thing. I finally gave it to someone who had a little health food store and wanted to make sandwiches, so at least it's finally out of its box.

              2. re: mtngirlnv

                I love mine too! I use mine for bacon, panini, and burgers (when we can't use our outdoor grill)

                1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                  love mine too for when I'm just cooking for me and need a quick chicken breast or protein.

                  1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

           thats an idea. what is the texture like?

                    1. re: melpy

                      I make sure to flip it once and it comes out nice and crispy and doesn't curl up.

                2. re: small h

                  We also have two...although once I got my actual grill we don't use either one. I prefer to broil to get that grilled flavor when it isn't the season.

                  1. re: melpy

                    I was given the 'Grill' Tryed frying hamburgers. It wouldn't get hot enough. The burgers ended up 'gray' no matter how high the heat was set at. I finished off the burgers in a fry pan and gave the 'Grill' to some one who never cooks. I think they gave it away.

                3. re: small h

                  Ahh small h, this wasn't just any Chia pet though. This chia pet was a pig that had been used once and re-planted with parsley.

                  Quite a rarity.

                  What's your address? ; - )

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Oy, a recycled Chia. I had one that was a hedgehog, and I was very fond of it. My then-cat knocked it over, because she knew I liked it. She was that kind of cat.

                  2. re: small h

                    My young boss is doing this same thing, but sending it to clients. I winced.

                    1. re: Terrie H.

                      Yes, there's nothing like the gift of advertising. So selfless!

                    2. re: small h

                      You can make your own chia pet out of pantyhose, and make it look like a Mr. Potato head.


                      Use herb seeds and whenever you need some, give your potato head a hair cut. I was obviously a girl scout leader for far too long.

                      1. re: chowser

                        Wow that's...really something. Now I'm thinking of making a chia gypsy moth caterpillar out of an old pair of tights.

                        1. re: small h

                          Hmmm, lots of potential. You could have different sections for different herbs. I think tights gardening might explode as the next big thing in recyclable gardening.

                          1. re: chowser

                            I once went to a Halloween party as a chia pet. I took an old loose weave tweed-type jacket and smeared it with a mixture of potting soil, water and grass seed. I hung it on a hook on our patio and sprayed it every day. It was a little over grown by Halloween and uncomfortable to wear (I only wore it for about a half hour and then had to change my shirt). Some friends told me to wear it to a bar for a contest. I volunteered to let them wear it but they didn't want a prize that badly.

                            1. re: John E.

                              That's hilarious John, I hope you took some photos!!

                              1. re: John E.

                                That's funny. I wonder if a giant flesh colored body stocking would work...Like a sexy chia pet.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Or, not so sexy, but hilarious.

                          2. re: chowser

                            The possibilities! Some far too, erm, earthy to mention here ...

                            1. re: chowser

                              i have a friend that's going out of town for a couple weeks and i'm watching their cat. they take out their sexy leg lamp (a la Christmas Story). I'm feeling inspired to do the legging pant thing to the lamp, so they come home to a hairy leg lamp which smells like herbs :D

                              1. re: cannibal

                                Please post a picture if you do! Green hairy leg lamp.

                                1. re: cannibal

                                  When I finished reading your comment, I mis-read your name as

                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                    Now that would be an interesting present to return to.

                                  2. re: cannibal

                                    Two cannibals are talking. One says "I don't like my boss".
                                    The other cannibal says "So just eat the noodles"

                                  3. re: chowser

                                    I just laughed until I cried looking at that link! Thank you!

                                2. Not one, but two Diabetic Desserts Cookbooks from my sister.

                                  1. Pasta drying rack. Single hardest to store unitasker I've ever seen.

                                      1. re: odkaty

                                        I'm glad that you mentioned the Presto. My daughter has been after me to buy it for my husband for Christmas. It got pretty good reviews on Amazon but I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. It seems like a one hit wonder if you know what I mean.

                                        1. re: baseballfan

                                          "One hit wonder" is a perfect description ... we used it once, for some pretty scary "pizza" then re-gifted to Goodwill. It's hit or miss on melting the cheese, and forget warming anything else up, let alone actually cooking dough.