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'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

                    bacon...now 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.

                      http://funonadime.blogspot.com/2010/0...

                      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
                                  cannabis.

                                  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.

                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                          Interesting...my Uncle use to swear by his rotisserie. That man loves a roast.

                                        2. A shaker for grated parmesan cheese about 8" tall that looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. Haven't even been able to sell it at yard sales. I've seen it in the occasional catalog and roll my eyes.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Terrie H.

                                            Too funny!! I think you should re-gift it!!

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Absolutely. Something like that just screams "white elephant".

                                            2. re: Terrie H.

                                              I had one of those! We very carefully broke it during a move. What an awful gift. It actually came as part of a box set with mediocre dried pasta and a horrible jarred sauce. /shuddders

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Purely accurate textbook definition of
                                                    K I T S C H
                                                    ... the extra cheezy version...

                                                    1. re: Terrie H.

                                                      I have a friend who's family actually regifts the Leaning Tower of Cheesa to a different family member each year. Hilarious tradition!

                                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                                        OMG, I got one of these too! I think i still have it in a box somewhere!

                                                      2. A jar of Kroger mushrooms. No shit.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                              1. Those are pretty tough to beat!

                                                                1. Salad Scissors. No, I'm not kidding.

                                                                  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                  And please note that it gets a 4.3 out of 5 stars on the W-S Web site.

                                                                  I always assumed it was a regift. Please, PLEASE, don't tell me that the truly lovely couple who gave it to me actually spent some time at W-S thinking this was just the thing.

                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    But it's a W-S exclusive? Gosh, wonder why.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      I had no idea. Then I clicked the link. WOW. That's, um, ridiculous.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        I saw these at Williams Sonoma this weekend and thought of this thread. They have a whole assortment of one off and otherwise useless scissors. I had no idea.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          I got a lettuce knife as a gift. Looked like a serrated chef's knife made of thin plastic. Supposed to cut lettuce without bruising it. Didn't cut through lettuce... or anything else!

                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                            I've got one of those lettuce knives! Yep, they're lousy on most everything they're meant for (I can tear lettuce) but they're pretty useful for cutting into anything in a pan that has a non-stick surface, to avoid the scratching. I use it for the odd frittata and a particular cake recipe I have that stubbornly resists being turned out and needs to be served from the pan. I hadn't thought about it before, since I thought the knife's purpose was largely gratuitous, but I use the dang thing quite a bit. Huh.

                                                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                                                              We have one that we use to cut Natural Balance dog treats that come as a log that needs to be broken down. Works great for that.

                                                                              1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                That's exactly why my green plastic "lettuce knife" is now my "brownie knife" so I don't cut the non-stick surface of my brownie pan. :)

                                                                                1. re: BabsW

                                                                                  I 'inherited' one of these and had no idea what it was intended for. I kept it because it works well to stir up kool-aid or frozen juices. So I am the proud owner of a lettuce knife, who knew?

                                                                                  1. re: weewah

                                                                                    My dear (now departed) mother gave me TWO of these "wonders"--guess she had forgotten her generous gift of the first one and got another the next year. Both sat in their boxes unused. Sold 'em at a garage sale for 50 cents each!

                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                              OK, here is something I find really creepy. I clicked on the above link to the salad scissors. Next thing I know, I'm getting email from Williams Sonoma, thanking me for my interest in the product. Then another one offering free shipping on the salad scissors. How does THAT happen?

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Oh my goodness. That is seriously creepy. I posted the link and I've never, ever received an e-mail from Williams Sonoma.

                                                                                If I were you, I'd post this story on the Site Talk board where more people are likely to see it and see if you can get any answers. If others have experienced this, it would make me hesitant to click on any link I saw in Chowhound, and that becomes a Chowhound problem. I'd be very curious to hear what people had to say about it.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  JoanN - I didn't see your post until today. Good idea, I just posted in Site Talk. I'll be interested in what they have to say.

                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    After I do searches at Amazon, I always get some follow up e-mails from them a few days later with more similar items, so I guess it's just marketing. Kinda creepy.

                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  Have you ever purchased anything from Williams-Sonoma on-line before? The on-line shopping sites have the ability, with tracking cookies, to design popup ads that feature products that you have checked out online. For instance, if you look at a particular pair of shoes, popup ads featuring those shoes can popup no matter what website you happen to be connected to. In the case of the WS e-mail, if you have purchased from them before they already have your e-mail address and if you made a previous purchase from the same IP that you used when you clicked on the ealad scissors, voila! they send you an e-mail enticing you to buy with free shipping.

                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                    That is most properly it, I purchased on line some of King Arthur's brioche mix and now every time I look up a recipe on a certain site, I get a email from KA asking me to try other products. Your every keystroke is recorded,monitored and sold to interested parties.....

                                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    Interesting, thanks to all of you for your input. I've never had it happen before. I do buy in the Wms Sonoma store, probably bought something online in the distant past. I guess my computer has been carrying a cookie for a long time. Still creepy.

                                                                                3. 3 jars of Durian Peanut butter and a small bottle of Civet coffee beans.

                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Duppie

                                                                                    Anything with Durian in it is automatically dropped into the regift pile...

                                                                                    I did get a basket with a fine selection of Limburger cheese. I opened it up immediately and insisted the person who bought it share in the bounty...

                                                                                    1. re: deet13

                                                                                      Ooooh. I would have been happy to have been regifted the Limburger. Not easy to find any more. Introduced to it as a child by my father who thought it the greatest treat with onion on seeded rye.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        Mmm, yes, one of the "wait until spouse is out of town" indulgences. So's durian, come to think of it, but durian peanut butter?

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          I just saw it in Wegman's cheese department.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            The Limburger didn't get regifted, we ate that on the spot, along with a couple of onions, rye crackers, some liverwurst, and a growler full of pilsner. Afterwards, I think my breath stank so bad that I made my own eyes water...

                                                                                            I must have brushed and gargled several hundred times before I could even bring myself to kiss my woman...

                                                                                        2. re: Duppie

                                                                                          DURIAN F@#$ing peanut butter? Sweet jeebus. It sounds like a dare between two stoned teenagers in Indonesia.

                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                            Apparently quite the rage in Manila and KL but I'm not much of a peanut butter fan.

                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                              durian peanut butter sounds awesome! was it perfectly blended or more like the peanut butter / grape combo that is in stripes?

                                                                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                No, it was well blended and while not as pungent as a fresh Durien,you knew what you were eating.
                                                                                                Thinking of making peanut punch with some milk,rum and vanilla ice cream but no takers as yet.

                                                                                          2. re: Duppie

                                                                                            Durian peanut butter? WTF?! Send to me!! Oh the suspense...

                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                              Good to the last dropping!
                                                                                              (seriously, civet cat coffee is awesomely funky stuff. as if "tastes like forest floor" wasn't funky enough, right?)

                                                                                                1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                  aww, then it's way too old to be good... Seriously, it's good stuff! (and I've given it out as gifts...)

                                                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                One of those joke companies should make Durian Air Freshener! To go with the toothpaste that dyes your tongue black.

                                                                                              2. i kind of detest clutter so unitaskers and redundancies are my weak spot:
                                                                                                1.two "forever sharp" ginsu knives from my mother in law when my wife specifically told her she was buying me a set of Wusthoffs and a sharpener
                                                                                                2 chocolate fondue set- did use it once though
                                                                                                3. "Ice cream sundae set" - 3 covered ramekins hanging in wire rack -never used

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: sbs401

                                                                                                  wow. That knife thing is one of the finest examples of passive-aggressive I've ever seen!

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    I have two full sets of Wusthofs and Henckels but I *still* have those old Ginsu knives from my first kitchen. Seriously, they don't ever lose their sharpness. Now I keep them around mostly to open packages and break down cardboard boxes for recycling. I'm curious just how many years of abuse they can take.

                                                                                                    1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                      I''ve had a couple of Ginsu steak knives that just mysteriously arrived for free back in the 70s and they still are the sharpest knives in my drawer. About a year ago, I was browsing at the local dollar store and found a big dusty box with all sizes and shapes of Ginsu knives, I got 6 of each and was wishing I knew someone else who liked them too! I too use them for everything, like a razor knife. You can't kill them.

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        My brother and I were enamored with Ginsu knives as children, after repeatedly viewing their commercials where the knives cut through *everything*...we begged and begged our mom to get the knives but she never relented. Then a few Christmases ago she found some at TJMaxx and surprised us with a set each as a joke. Best. Knives. Ever. They really do cut everything!

                                                                                                        1. re: teemo

                                                                                                          Told hubby outright that I wanted some good knives. He bought me a Henckels knife block, no knives. Was sorely tempted to hit him over the head with it. Just for spite, I keep it on the counter, empty of knives.

                                                                                                2. DH received a salad shooter from an adult daughter who thought he needed to lose weight. Two strikes in one gift.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                    I hope he attacked her with a barrage of carrot slices.

                                                                                                  2. Wonder ift the people -- note plural -- who have given me sets of assorted instant coffees, pseudo-hot-chocolate mixes or tea bags (all in bizarre flavors not found in nature, with stuff in them that no one minus an advanced chemistry degree could figure out), sometimes even decaffeinated (the devil is in the decaf!), were trying to say that they thought I was the teensiest bit fussy about my beverages.

                                                                                                    Well, yes, I am, but ... .

                                                                                                    I did try what was supposed to be a peach-flavored tea (bag, of course). It tasted exactly like St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children. Old stale St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children.

                                                                                                    Also, "cookbooks" by Sandra Lee & her evil sisterhood. "Well, you spend so much time in the kitchen," so apparently I must want to get out of it.

                                                                                                    Ah, holiday passive aggression.

                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                      YES, YES, to the coffee, tea, and hot cocoa abominations. It comes with the territory when you're a teacher. My mother, who has been a teacher for 30+ years, gets packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix tied up with ribbon EVERY YEAR.

                                                                                                      So it goes with sweets -- stale toffees, "wassail" mix made with Tang and instant tea, slice-and-bake cookies, and on and on. The one comfort is that at least one person will give me a good bottle of wine -- advantages of teaching at a Presbyterian school!

                                                                                                      1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                        "'wassail' mix made with Tang and instant tea"

                                                                                                        At this point non-instant tea came out of my nose & tears out of my eyes. The horror!

                                                                                                        1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                          I am embarrassed to admit I really like that Tang/ instant tea stuff. Reminds me of being a kid, and that was all the rage.....

                                                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                            But that's sort of the point -- if someone knows you love it & get all nostalgic at the taste, it's a great present. I can bake excellent corn muffins, but when I was home feeling cruddy & sorry for myself, DH went & hunted down those weird Thomas's Corn Toast-R-Cakes, my peculiar guilty pleasure -- in my mother's house, that was THE corn muffin.

                                                                                                            1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                              LOVED those things! Are they still being made? I also loved the blueberry flavor. I think there was even a blueberry-corn flavor (amazing + amazing = friggin incredible).

                                                                                                              1. re: wlo

                                                                                                                Don't know about blueberry -- I think I remember seeing it but can't be sure. The regular corn flavor was still on supermarket shelves as of this Thanksgiving, b/c it was my Thanksgiving dinner (DH went out of town to his parents' house, I don't eat meat so trad. Thanksgiving was out, the dog & I had the place to ourselves, I was lazy & a bit cranky, & I ended up having to be in the office for seven-plus hours anyhow). DH did say he had to try three supermarkets before finding any, but our neighborhood, while amazing for Chinese, South Asian, Korean, Latin/Central American & (slightly further afield) Balkan groceries, has not got great American-style markets.

                                                                                                                Between us the dog & I had three of them & were very happy.

                                                                                                                Am considering doing likewise next year, minus the trip to the office.

                                                                                                                OK, creamed onions happened the next day & were as from-scratch as could be, but the processed corn muffin discs were the best gift & I was indeed thankful.

                                                                                                          2. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                            that's why I've ALWAYS given things like mall gift certificates...then the teacher can go buy what she wants, as I figure she (or he!) needs one more basket of bath soaps or cocoa mixes like she/he needs a hole in the head.

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              I know, I give most of my son's teachers Border's gift cards - there's one located right by the school - and I figure that between the books, movies, music, magazines, drinks and food they should be able to find something they'd like to have.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                My students always give me Starbucks gift cards...even though they know I'm not a big coffee drinker.

                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                  tea...cocoa...iced tea...how about swap with another teacher who IS a big coffee drinker? Maybe they get certificates to something YOU like.

                                                                                                              2. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                Aww...I just got my first bad cookies today! I teach university level, so Christmas gifts from students are rare, and I was genuinely touched. I think these may have been a mix rather than slice-and-bake - they had red and green M&M's! Underbaked with love. :)

                                                                                                                As a kid, I always thought my mom was so lame for making me take gift boxes of home-baked cookies in instead of "real gifts", and mystified when the teachers were actually grateful. If I had known then what I know now...my mom makes GOOD cookies.

                                                                                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                  in about a half-hour, I'm starting the cookie marathon for the teachers (big downside to your kid starting middle school: instead of 2 or 3 teachers, it's now like 10.). Somehow buying chocolate for French teachers doesn't hit quite the same note as buying good chocolates in the States...but American Christmas cookies? THOSE go over big.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                    Funny, I was just thinking to start cutting back on the cookies next year. When I started doing all the fancy bakery type cookies in the 70s, people would ooh and aah because all they ever got was sugar cookie cutouts with colored sugar on top. Now everybody's a gourmet baker. The last few years, I've actually had people say, oh no not more cookies! Maybe I'll just make a million bourbon balls and that will be it. Or move to France?

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      Seems everybody likes a little box of somethin-somethin homemade...and my recipes are so different than the usual, I guess it's something special in their eyes.

                                                                                                                      (Like gingerbread...American gingerbread has molasses; French has honey...so similar, but very, very different at the same time!)

                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                        Wow, I hardly know anyone who bakes seriously.

                                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                          I must have inspired them all ;-)

                                                                                                                2. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                  "Ah, holiday passive aggression."

                                                                                                                  This made me LOL. It's so true of some family, isn't it? They just can't understand that we actually LIKE to cook!

                                                                                                                  1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                    Got 'apricot' tea bags once. They worked fine as scented drawer sachets.

                                                                                                                    1. Wild Vines... My parents thought they were buying me fancy wine....

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: rozz01

                                                                                                                        I hate your parents. LOL My MIL brought that to my house for Thanksgiving one year. You poor poor dear.

                                                                                                                      2. My husband golfs. I would never consider buying him any golf equipment. Please return the favor. Also, and I'm probably stepping on toes here, but please consider who you give your homemade food gifts to. I've had so many of those things sit on the pantry shelf til I finally throw them out.

                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                          I do homemade food gifts and I completely agree. It's not about showing off my skills, or saving money around the holidays, it's about suiting a gift to the recipient!

                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                            Oh whew! I kept my fingers crossed when I typed that :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                              I do too & I totally agree. Not stepping on toes at all -- I ask (or take requests). There's a Brit associate at this firm who wants the oldest, darkest jars of homemade marmalade I can locate in the cupboard; my other friend who also loves marmalade wants it just about still warm from the canner & would be grossed out by the three-year-old molasses-colored lot (I like it that way myself & keep a few jars to mellow, but it does look different). One couple begs for pickled okra, my MIL won't have it in the house, etc.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                I wanna be friends with y'all! Beats the "instant" tea mix.

                                                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                              I take them to the local nursing home. (They know me well by now, and know I'm not out to poison anyone.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                My husband golfs, I don't buy equipment for him but I do buy him a seasons pass every year ;)

                                                                                                                                1. I've been pretty lucky, at least when it comes to family and friends, ie the people who know me. But I've gotten some lame stuff from Secret Santas -- mostly those assortments of dip mixes (spices you mix with sour cream to make various dips) and instant "gourmet" coffees. No thanks!

                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                    <those assortments of dip mixes (spices you mix with sour cream to make various dips)>

                                                                                                                                    The farmers' market we frequent in upstate NY has a booth that sells these horrifying items. Because samples are free, I somehow cannot help but try a few (skinny pretzels are provided for tasting). And I always, always regret it. Did you know the stuff comes in strawberry cheesecake flavor? I'm not snotty about food, I'm really not, but this...isn't food.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                      I can't imagine why anyone would want to eat that. Besides, making dip is one of the easiest and quickest things to do, especially if you go the sour cream route. Who needs a mix?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                        An argument could be made that Lipton Onion Soup Mix makes a better dip than one can make from scratch. I've gone the homemade route and wound up with something that was okay, but still made me wish I'd used Lipton Onion Soup Mix. But that's the only exception to the dip rule that I've found, thus far.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                          Point taken. Then again, there's always an exception to every rule.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                              Well, I will! I make the stuff twice a year - for the Superbowl & the Oscars. I don't want to get jaded. I just looked at the ingredients and I see why my homemade version doesn't measure up: no corn syrup, no MSG, no Disodium Inosinate. And no chicken fat, 'cause I don't eat chicken (but I am willing to ignore it if I can't taste it).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                I made it and I was very impressed. I am not a usual "powered soup" person. In fact I am a soup "snob" if you will. But I use only this, and knorrs vegetable to make my dips.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                  I'm thinking you may have meant "powdered soup," but the typo - if it is a typo - makes it cooler. Soup power!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                Got the golden onion by accident this year, seems like they just added chicken boullion, which was a surprise to our vegetarian guest ...oops

                                                                                                                                        2. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                          You mean to tell me that the grinder of 'Olde Tompson TEX - MEX CHIPOTLE SEASONING' my Cousin in Houston sent me to Englandland is lame.?

                                                                                                                                          It is pretty good on my sliced , vine grown tomatoes along with a lightly boiled egg and Norwegian Crisp Bread..

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                        3. Plastic spoons coated in white chocolate "coating" and dipped in crushed candycanes. For me to stir into my coffee, of course! (I'm a tea drinker, and I'm allergic to corn syrup.) Oh, but they were accompanied by cookies made by her kids. I couldn't eat the cookies, but they were awfully sweet to bake cookies for me. Sometimes, it is the thought...even if the gift is just well, a total loss for the recipient.

                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                            Don't you think that's more just oblivious-ness? Could happen to anyone, not just food-lovers.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                              Oh, no, I think they really thought they were giving me a "gourmet" gift! In fact, I think there was some language to that effect accompanying the gift. This was last year, so I don't recall the exact words, but I'm pretty sure they thought it was tailor made. <sigh>

                                                                                                                                              But, I find few people really "get" my interest in food. I've had family members take me aside at Thanksgiving and whisper that I shouldn't care about the food. This, when I was happily working away in the kitchen. They just don't understand why I want to "make all that mess." After all, it can come out of a box or the freezer, you know...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                "Gourmet" is so often a red flag, isn't it?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                  Yep. I had a good discussion at the last family holiday about "gourmet" vs. "foodie."

                                                                                                                                                2. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                  Yup. I'm a knitter, and I really like to make socks; nothing feels as good on the tootsies as a hand-knit sock. And about twice a year, someone will say "You know, you can buy those at Target for about a dollar a pair."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, you made me snort with laughter. Yeah, I'm a knitter, too. I get you.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                      that's where you just look at them and say, "And....?"

                                                                                                                                                      Not aggressive, and usually shuts them up quickly.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                                                        knit them a pair of socks for x-mas! i'm not a knitter so i don't know if it's worth it in effort, i love knit socks though and i'd be totally stoked to find a pair under the tree.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cannibal

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, cannibal, that's like making a schaumtorte or such for someone who tells you they think cake-mix cakes are just as good. Knitting a gift is much too special (and a whale of a lot of work) to take a chance on a non-believer

                                                                                                                                                          But on the other hand if someone who felt like you do had made that same remark, that's a different story!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                    They sell those at the Dollar Tree... It's the thought that counts tho...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                      I think I'm laughing at the "mock rib" patty mold harder than anything else. God bless 'em -- they've found a niche, but whoddathunkit?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        it's like a caulk-gun for meat! who doesn't need that to make their own tender and "easy to chew" jerky?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                        my brain refuses to process this information, and yes.. i think you may indeed have won.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                            I'm only halfway down this thread, and it's the winner so far.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                              "[W]e feel that our Jerky Shooter is the only product designed expressly for the purpose of extruding jerky."

                                                                                                                                                              I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

                                                                                                                                                              So some guy looked in his toolchest, saw the caulking gun & thought, hmm, jerky ... ???

                                                                                                                                                              Extrusion + meat = brain overload.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                  My brother and SIL have a jerky shooter and I have to say she makes some good jerky with it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                    Ha! My hubby got that from some friends of ours about 10 years ago. That and 2 cannisters of "spices" specifically for making jerky.

                                                                                                                                                                    It's never been used. I'm hoping that if we keep it in it's original package, we will end up on Antiques Roadshow when we're 100 years old and it will be worth a fortune.

                                                                                                                                                                    Come on! It's the utlimate guy kitchen tool! It's cleverly designed to mirror the caulking gun design. Every guy knows how to caulk so it should be easy to make jerky, right? Right.....but they never tell you how to get the meat into the lovely paste consistency necessary to use the tool.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                      Sigh...and here I thought I was giving my relative something useful...at least he laughed when he opened the gift several Christmases ago...found out he has been using it to make soft jerky treats for his dog. LOL ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                        God. My BF wants one of these. He's taken to turning half of his hunting spoils into jerky. For some reason, cutting it into strips isn't good enough. He wants to grind it all up and shoot it out of a caulking gun.... Barf.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. My inlaws gave me coffee samplers for years (that's the gift you give to someone you don't really know well I guess) and I'm a tea drinker. They've never ever seen me take a sip of coffee. Oddly, they too are tea drinkers.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: masha bousha

                                                                                                                                                                          "Oddly, they too are tea drinkers."
                                                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                          maybe someone else always gave it to them and they were re-gifting since they don't drink it :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Ooh too many to remember:

                                                                                                                                                                          salad shooter

                                                                                                                                                                          ice tea maker (really???)

                                                                                                                                                                          assorted kits of processed food

                                                                                                                                                                          huge candle that smells like buttercream frosting (buttercream frosting doesn't smell good to me even when it's food but when it's chemically made, ugh)

                                                                                                                                                                          plastic margarita cups

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            I bought my BF an iced tea maker when we first moved in together, so he'd stop buying it at the convenience store. The second time he used it, he didn't seat the pitcher right and ended up with tea ALL OVER the counter. It left a big, nasty stain.

                                                                                                                                                                            I've been hiding it from him since. Serious waste of space, that one.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                              Your story about the ice tea maker reminded me of an incident with a coffee maker. Years ago I poured water into the electric drip coffee maker, turned it on and went to shower. When I went back into the kitchen, the glass carafe was on the stove (I was single and lived alone). The coffee maker was on, I could smell coffee, the grounds were still steaming but there was no coffee on the counter or the floor. I think it took me about ten minutes to figure it out. There was a catalog sitting on the counter that was printed on the newspaper stock. It soaked up all the coffee and plumped up a little, but sure did keep a mess from occurring.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. It's a tossup between the pressure-sensitive coasters that emitted the sound of breaking glass when a glass was placed on them, or the 6-pack of Jones' soda that had flavors like turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes. But still, the thought counts!

                                                                                                                                                                            35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                              At least your friends have a sense of humor!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                OMG that sounds awesome.... mashed potatoes flavoured soda!!!! I feel so deprived up here in Canada. As a teen, I used to make runs over the border to upstate NY to buy "weird" food we couldn't get in Quebec. Back then it was aerosol cheese... which doesn't sound that strange now but was totally foreign to us at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chickenbruiser

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, I've got to say, I can't speak for what it actually tastes like, since it's unopened in it's original pristine packaging on an on-view shelf in the kitchen that also houses some other campy and/or conversational food items (Blow your Butt Out Hot Sauce, etc.) The gift came from #1 son in response to the Odd-Candy-of-the-Month club that I devised as a present.
                                                                                                                                                                                  We like keepin' it imaginative, inexpensive and fun. Just how we roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                    Someday those pristine Jones Sodas are going to be worth large amounts of money. People actually collect those Thanksgiving-in-a-Bottle sodas. And how do I sign up for the Odd-Candy-of-the-Month Club? LOL I love that idea! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chickenbruiser

                                                                                                                                                                                    That's funny about buying American "weird food" to take back to Quebec...because my husband & I were just in Montreal, and we decided to buy "souvenirs" of Quebecoise junk food - like Ketchup and "All Dressed" flavored potato chips, cheese curds, and canned poutine sauce!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Morticia

                                                                                                                                                                                      In the US Midwest, and trying to imagine ketchup as a novelty . . . trying . . . trying . . . nope, can't get there.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think Morticia's probably referring to ketchup-flavoured chips... one of the few things we have up here that you guys don't have Stateside, if I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, ketchup flavored chips (sorry if it was unclear) are an only in Canada phenomenon. Sadly, some of the bags opened up due to the air pressure changes during flight - so they had to be consumed rather than given as "gifts" to our friends (yes, we give our friends foreign junk food - it's a tradition: paprika chips from Germany, Tak-A-Tak masala-flavored cheeto-like snacks from India, etc.) Cheap but our friends love trying the crazy flavors!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Morticia

                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, now *I* want ketchup flavored chips. And paprika chips. And Tak-ATak masala chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Morticia

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not "cheap", Morticia, inexpensive and creative! Love the idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you can get Ketchup flavoured Ringolos they are one of the most addictive snack foods in the known universe. And I'm not all that keen on ketchup flavoured chips in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I find there are a lot of chocolate (not candy) bars in Canada that you don't see much in the US. Oh Henry, Coffee Crisp, Crunchie, Eat More, Aero. Plus the infamous soap gum (aka Thrills).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                Every time we go up to Manitoba to see my husband's parents we have to stop at the Co-Op so he can buy a big ol' box of Coffee Crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you're near a World Market/Cost Plus, they really do tend to have some nice 'Junk Foods of the World' offerings, including most of those chocolate bars and many different flavors of chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, color me stupid! I've lived near a World Market for 2 years and have never gone in because I thought it was things for the house. And I have plenty from my own travels, and recently went from house to apartment. Now that I know there's food, I need to go today!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, depending on your state, WINE. I hit up their clearance shelves regularly to stock up on solid, cheap, (if not particularly interesting) wines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, you gotta go around Christmas--great selections from around the world of fun snacks and candies (I buy marzipan there). Year-round, their Indian selections aren't bad, either, and good prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We bought cans of Heinz Spotted Dick for gifts from Cost Plus World Market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          huh, i just bought that at stop and shop along with some packets of cock flavoured soup to send to my sister in college. I am chuckling to myself already anticipating her reaction. I'm just so mature....

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why did no one ever send me a CARE package like that when I was in college?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, I did just send two friends some cock flavored soup packets about a month ago. Time does not bring maturity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh, you could include some of the candies I see sold in bakeries in France.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Called Camel Balls (in English, as if that's not bad enough) -- they look to be chocolate with a berry filling -- RED, no less! -- and rolled in tiny chocolate jimmies that look like fuzz. Why, oh why? I just can't bring myself to try them -- even if they tasted fabulous, I think I'd choke on the appearance. Gross)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's great! We could also pack some Ben & Jerry's Schweaty Balls ice cream (named after the SNL sketch)! yum....

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Morticia

                                                                                                                                                                                                  One of my scuba diving buddies is always on the lookout for unusually flavored Pringles in airports around the world. Who knew? who would have thought? that Pringles are custom made to specific tastes? I remember she was particularly excited to discover durian Pringles in Indonesia and mangosteen and dragon fruit Pringles in Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm always surprised at how many Pringles flavors there are on the shelves but you made me look to see what there is around the world. I'm wondering what "Rock the floor" tastes like, and what region it's from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, now I want durian Pringles AND durian peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe not at once, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The last 2 times we've gone back to The States, I've used small Lays chip bags as suitcase "padding." Chips: Cucumber. Cool Lime. Cool Lemon. Spicy Crab. Blueberry. Texas Chicken. Mexican Roast. American Salt. Shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There're tons of other flavours, which I cannot recall ATM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Returning from the UK once, I dumped the entire contents of my suitcase so that I could stuff it full of an entire case of smoky bacon crisps. Completely worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of my girlfriends brought cans of shrimp and seaweed flavored Pringles from the Philippines. I took a can of the seaweed flavor and they were delicious. Wish I could find them in the U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been looking for that soda! None of the usual spots are carrying it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Target usually the 4 pack this time of year,or sometimes Marshalls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks. I checked Target, never even thought of Marshalls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're the first person I've heard of who actually saw that Jones' soda in real life. I mean, I did see the listing online but couldn't really believe someone actually made it. Yikes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A friend's ex-husband had to have his jar wired shut shortly before one TDay (weekend warrior basketball injury) so she brought him a six pack of turkey and gravy soda when she picked up the kids. I thought it was very considerate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bought that 6-pack Jones' Soda to a Secret Santa / White Elephant party where we had to bring a "good" gift and a "bad" gift. muhahahahahaha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Got what we thought was a nice set of knives, Wuesthof I think, that my SIL had bought at Kohls. Turns out that apparently these are not the "good" knives and they were dull and unpleasant to use. Ended up trading them for a vacuum cleaner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My sister, who generally knows better, gave me a Rachael Ray cookbook a few years ago. I don't think I've looked at it since then!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. A frilly hot pink apron with leopard print trim and a big cursive "L" sewn on the front. "For when you're cooking." My husband called me "Laverne" for a couple of months afterwards. Just smile, folks. That's all you can do is smile...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                              at marshalls once there was a "french maid" apron that my wife and i were laughing at. i found it stuffed in one of my stockings on xmas day, she thought it was hilarious. I wore it a few times when her parents came over, i had to rescue it out of the trash twice. now i don't know where it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cannibal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My brother lives in Spain and I have an apron made to look like a flamenco dancer's dress with great big, frilly ruffles on the bottom. I wear it whenever I'm serving paella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, nuts...now I'm never going to be as satisfied making paella until I find an apron like that! Sounds like outrageous fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Be still my heart! And it's even polka-dotted! I may swoon. Santa's life just got a little easier...Thanks! Cay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, I heart that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not really a girly-girl, but I might just have to order THAT Christmas present myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and *squeee* they have aprons for your wine bottles, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (these fall under the "so silly-tacky they're irresistable" heading)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did get a dish-soap bottle apron (cozy?) as a Christmas gift a few years back! After a WTH? moment, we stuck it on a spray bottle full of water - i.e. the "Cat Smartener"...necessary in this kitchen-full-of-beggars - and named it "Aunt Bea" (from "The Andy Griffith Show"). Aunt Bea's Apron Armor? Wouldn't anyone quake? (Cr@p, now I'm imagining Bea in a flamenco apron...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is indeed so silly-tacky that one can't resist it! Makes a few smiles along the way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually for some reason, that apron makes me think of Betty Boop...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I seem to get A LOT of oil and vinegar glass bottle sets. Like, random people just give them to me. They all say "I know you like to cook, so I thought you would love this…" I did like the first set. But now I have regifted the multiple other sets to others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  maybe they bought them from a Marshall's/TJMaxx/Daffy's which always has those lame gifts. in fact, most of the gifts on this thread. although they do have nice dutch ovens sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Everyone in my family is a foodie so I actually haven't gotten many bad food-related gifts. My brother bought me a meat slicer one year that I had to return simply because I didn't have the space for it (nor do I really eat that much deli meat), but it wasn't a bad gift, just not a very practical one in my situation. Last year he was low on funds so he did most of his shopping at the gourmet store where he had a part-time job (and thus a 40% discount) - I got truffle oil, Banyuls vinegar, Pimenton de la Vera, some fantastic carnaroli rice, saffron and a couple of other fabulous ingredients that I'm often too cheap to buy for myself. I can't wait for Christmas this year! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If your brother is ever available for adoption, I'm first in line!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, I think I want that job. Law firms have some advantages but we never get discounts on truffle oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He's not married yet, LOL! You'd have to put up with his dreds, though. Yikes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Oh man, too many to list. The ones off the top of my head...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I know you like to bake cookies. So, now you have something to keep them in!" = a plastic cookie jar shaped like a cartoon wolf that would howl aloud everytime you open it. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Last time I was here you made some great BBQ. Maybe you can get some use out of this BBQ kit!" = a gift basket with a bottle of A1 steak sauce, 5 steak knives where at least 1 rivet had fallen out of each of the particleboard handles, a jar of McCormick's 'Steak Seasoning', and a plush toy of a chef with a hole in his neck that holds your utensils (scary). WTF?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        omg . . . is my Mother shopping for you as well?!!! LOL!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          C'mon...steak seasoning is an ingredient in 59% of Rachael Ray's recipes! Gourmet city!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So you thrust your barbecue forks through its neck? Could be useful if you grill on Halloween.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Incidentally, I did one of these myself this year. My mother is a fiend for gumdrops & jellybeans & the like, & no longer can be bothered to put up any kind of Christmas tree, so as a fun thing I sent her a gumdrop tree -- a frame on which you stick gumdrops. Unfortunately the two very large packages of gumdrops got there before the frame did, & by the time it arrived ... I should have caught on by the muffled tone of her voice every time we spoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Your mother sounds like a woman after my own heart. More power to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gumdrop Tree!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Where did you get it? I can't prove that they're real to my coworkers. I describe it to them as a smaller version of the TNG Crystalline Entity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, they don't know what gumdrops are, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But they do know what the TNG Crystalline Entity is? (Just for the record, I do, that was one of my favorite episodes, and a very creative comparison, I might add.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We used to have one of those as a kid until the dog ate it one night. It was not a pretty scene on the carpet one Xmas morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have more friends who are techies [not Tech-ies] than who are foodies. And most aren't American.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If they don't, what kind of friends would they be?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. OH OH OH...and a cookbook containing the Top Secret recipes national restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I.E. Chili's, TGIFriday's, Black Angus, Denny's, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EGADS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't gotten the cookbook but we always get gift cards to a chain. I don't mind as much when they give you a choice of restaurant (some of the big corporations have cards that can be used various locations) but the year it was $25 at Olive Garden I wish we didn't bother to use it. We honestly waited 2 hours to eat something I would have probably throw away if I had made it at home :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. English Muffin Of The Month Club. Understand I live in a major US city that does actually have supermarkets, not sure what the gifter was thinking. They were about 2" tall and really solid. They didn't fit into my toaster unless I split each half into half again. (Clearly these are meant for toaster oven folks.) Very bready, definitely no nooks and crannies. And the flavors! February was cherry and chocolate and the chips kept melting and incinerating on the toaster heating elements. I regifted the whole collection to a friend who has four kids, including two teenagers who will eat anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My SIL has a distorted sense of size, and here are just two random examples. When I asked for crystal rocks drink glasses (I said like Waterford but not so expensive of course) she got me these modern type glasses at Home Goods that are so big that it hurts your hand to hold them. When I served her a drink in them next time, she acted shocked (she's really tiny and I secretly took it as an insult, like I'm the Jolly Green Giant! because she did the exact same thing with coffee mugs for my birthday). Then the next year, I told her I wanted a potato ricer (DHs family has to be told what to get each other, so boring, and it has to be an exact price for everyone too, which takes the fun out of it for me) so she got me an OXO which might fit a quarter of a potato in it at a time. Not a fan of OXO anyway, more looks than function. She said as she gave it to me, I know this isn't right but you can return it, I left the receipt in the box. I went but when I saw it was only $15 I just threw it in the back of my pots and pans. Both of these times, I went shortly thereafter to the outlets and got exactly what I wanted, and this year we are not having anyone over. Can you spell relief? Should have nipped this in the bud years ago! Wish at least her gifts were funny enough to make me laugh later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A pasta machine, which I never used and regifted some years later.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a pity, because it was exactly was I asked for from Santa that year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Maybe not "worst," but certainly the most inescapable: the grater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mother loved collecting cooking implements (well, *accumulate* is probably a better word, as Mom was not discerning), and over the years managed to stock me with enough graters to see me through 6 lifetimes: box graters, *fancy* hexagonal box graters with a handy receptacle bottom, antique graters of all varieties, sets of teeny-tiny graters that look like they might fit in Barbie's kitchen, and on and on. And on. It was a little irritating in my younger years (why couldn't she have gotten it into her head that that I should collect, say, All-Clad and not graters?!), but when Mom slipped into Alzheimer's and ramped up the grater-as-gift buying because that seemed to be a sticky memory for her, it became poignantly cute. Thus, I have a big drawer full of graters-for-all-purposes, that I keep largely in remembrance of Mom. Thank the stars they're mostly utile, despite my knuckles' adversarial relationship with box graters. Our family calls it the Grater Drawer, and smiles in remembrance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But! While staying with us years back, my MIL took note of the Grater Drawer. And spread the word in the family, as the family is heavily into "themes." Poignantly Cute became Oh-My-Gawd-Not-Again quite rapidly as each gift-giving occasion yielded yet more graters for Cay's "collection." It's been almost absurd. I finally had to delicately put the word out, and the the Grater Train has slowed...somewhat. It'll probably be Poignantly Cute some day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The lasting legacy of my Mom's grater obsession: I am now the one with graters to push on kids moving away from home. My apple didn't roll far enough from that tree, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyone got a kid moving out that needs a grater?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love the grater story. And how it morphed into a 'theme'. I have a friend who finally, one year, blurted out, "I am so SICK of dolphins!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chuckling here! The first thing I thought when reading "I am so SICK of dolphins!" was: No! Don't even put that connection out into the nöosphere, else I will somehow receive a dolphin-shaped grater this year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The thought promptly became...ooooh, but a sharkskin grater would be coooool. Never mind that I'll likely never have any fresh wasabi, but it does fit with the "theme!" Maybe I should give you MIL's email address...<grin>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But that would probably morph into a grater shaped like a shark. Or a sharkskin cozy for your *new* regular grater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you for sharing that. Serious warm fuzzies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I need a grater a nice box grater and spice one. I never seem to remember to get one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I got sick of ducks! Once Mom found out I liked wooden ducks, I got duck dish towels, potholders, fridge magnets, ad nauseum. Hubs and I would sigh and say "we got ducked". They'd go straight to the Salvation Army.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I know so many people whose "collections" started this way. They bought one "pig-something or other" and all of the sudden they became the "person who loves pigs" and ended up buried under an avalanche of pig-themed paraphenalia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have told my SO's family that I collect nothing. If they even suspected that I collected anything, I would have enough things to start a gift shop. I've seen his Mom's house, it's covered in bears, humming birds, eggs, dragons and at Christmas time, Annalee mouse decorations, EVERYWHERE. Those mice scare me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I decided a few years ago that brother-Hambone collected beer openers. It made birthday and Christmas so much easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hambone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's so funny I wonder what I should decide my brother collects? He's always been so hard to shop for. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have let it be know amongst my family and friends that I collect Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My parents once received a chocolate fountain.My mom is not a serious cook, and she's definitely not a CH, but she does make a lot of "pretty party" food that tastes good to most people, so is often called on to cater large functions for her church, parties, and various various charities. Well, she trotted that fountain out for one function and it was a nightmare. It's supposed to circulate melted chocolate (like a fondue), but the crumbs from the angel food cake and piece of fruit people dipped into it kept clogging it up, making it stall and just look generally nasty. Partway thru the party, she just unplugged the thing and threw it, chocolate and all, into the trash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yep, been there; still wonder how caterers manage to keep those fountains going.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm known as the baker\candy maker among my family and friends. And I have to say, for the most part they have impeccable taste when gifting baskets of ingredients and candy/baking books (though my sisters do tend to put sticky notes on the recipes they'd like me to try ;) However, the brown apron with "chocolate" in every language? The candy dish "I'd quit eating chocolate but I'm no quitter"? The 12 pound tin of Hershey's miniatures? (Yes, I love chocolate, but . . .)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I love my mother, I really do, but I think she's forgets what she buys from year to year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For example, one year I got a wine rack, shrimp forks, and a pair of lobster scissors. The next year, I got a wine rack, shrimp forks, and a 'sushi kit' (complete with video). The next year I got a wine rack, lobster scissors, and some of those decorative things you put on wine bottles (like a mesh sleeve, with little acrylic dangly things).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe she doesn't forget what she buys so much as she just really wants me to live 'the good life'. Or thinks I'm an alcoholic. A fish-loving alcoholic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can never have too many wine racks, or shrimp forks. And then you get a unique gift besides. I think she knows what she's doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lobster scissors! Having lived my life in four completely land-locked states, I had no idea there was such a thing! The things you learn on Chowhound, I tell ya. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks everyone for the many smiles on this thread. Although getting a "bad" food related gift is hardly a catastrophe, it definitely evokes groans of sympathy. My favourite was Erika L's Year of Living Dangerously via English muffins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think my friends and family are kind of afraid to give me anything foodish lest they be met by withering looks :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The "muffin of the month" was truly frightening and wins the award ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What about a combo? Muffin of the Month topped with [grated] Caulk Jerky, durian p.b. & a side of Kroger Mushrooms?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, now I'm just getting nauseous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      With a turkey and gravy soda chaser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not a Christmas present but my beautiful wife actually ordered hand crocheted wine glass "Panties" for the lack of a better word. Designed to slip on stemware bases to prevent rings on furniture. I argued that we seldom serve wine so chilled that it would become necessary to need such an item but was reminded of my purchase of the Steak Brander customized with our initials.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just in case our guests needed to be reminded of who was financing their grilled steak dinner complete with sides and booze.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The panties are now a much loved addition to many a wine and cheese party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OMG, I actually just laughed out loud! Good thing no one is close enough to hear me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The funniest thing was I was a *very* broke college student when she started in with these gifts. I just really wanted new socks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That completely did me in also. I had to take a break from the thread and come back. God that's funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Okay, this made me LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then I thought, "Wait... I'm kind of a fish-loving alcoholic."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I laughed to the point of tears just now. "A fish-loving alcoholic" had me doubled over and gasping as I was trying to read this to my kids. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Free packaged coffee from hotel rooms..wrapped up to us as a gag gift and now I collect all the tea and coffee and make sure they get their freebie Christmas gifts every year!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I throw in some shower gel and shampoo too..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You mean I'm not the only person who "gifts' their family with that? I thought I was being original! LOL Seriously, I have relatives who remind me each Novemeber not to forget their "emergency kits". I gave upscale sets one year and they very sweetly asked me not to monkey with tradition. And I also include those travel toothbrushes with the little tiny toothpaste. LOL :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been collecting all the shampoo, lotion, bath gel, soaps, shower caps (great for covering of food platters) coffee, tea, room service jams/ketchup/dijon mustard from hotel resorts all over the world and then I put them in a gag gift goodie bag for Christmas and its been such a running gag for so long and they all love it!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They called me a 'cheap ass' one year and so I didn't give out the freebies and they all apologized and they confessed how beloved my cheap ass gifts are and how they look forward to them!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My dad had you beat - on many cross-country trips he would come home with a trunk full of toilet paper from every hotel/motel he stopped at. Unfortunately he was so cheap that he often stayed at less expensive Motel 6's and the like and we ended up with sandpaperesque abrasions to our posteriors for the next 2 months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: joe777cool

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dad was the ultimate 'cheap ass'..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                some people actually "gift these kind of packages to food banks;just an idea. if a person can't afford a can of beans; do you think buying shampoo is on the top of the list?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  they also make great donations for womens' shelters -- far too often, victims of domestic abuse leave with nothing but the clothes on their back...and the shelters have ongoing, desperate need for toiletries to help care for these women and their children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I got a grill fork with a built in thermometer probe in the spikes. It would have been a good gift if it actually told what the temperature was and was accurate. This one just had lights that read 'very rare', rare, medium rare, etc. It's still in the package. I wanted to regift it but as told that I could not and would not if I knew what as good for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Was it a Brookstone? I found one at the local thrift shop and you could tell it was never used, it still had brand new batteries and the instructions, in the unblemished box. Only a buck so I figured give it a try. Even though I 'm pretty good at grilling temps, this fork works spot on and I always use it for thick steaks and veal chops, so I don't have to hover over them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, not Brookstone, more like one of those "TV" offers. I still prefer an instant read thermometer that shows the actual temps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. This is all so mean spirited. Well-meaning people trashed for giving gifts to ingrates?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Or maybe they were reciprocating in like kind?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think you have it right at all. First, not everyone trashed the giver if the gift, I didn't mention anyone. Second, while mocking gift givers is never a good idea, maybe the person giving the gift should have taken the time to figure out what would make a good gift for that particular individual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nobody's laughing at the giver; only the gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure even you've given gifts that the recipient has thought "WTF?!" while smiling and thanking you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My comment was tongue in cheek and I'm as guilty as anyone. My sister once took me aside and asked me to stop giving her daughter all the crap I bring back from Mexico. And I listened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unfortunately my mom did something similar and now we no longer get gifts from my Uncle. Granted she told him that unfortunately my sister and I didn't fit into the size of clothing he was buying us at Abercrombie and perhaps to do something different because the store truly didn't have our size. When we were kids he always gave the best toys!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My other sister's daughter has always called me Uncle Wiggo, and I nicknamed her "The Varmint" when she was about 5. I bought her a Swatch Watch with all the colored bands on a trip to Switzerland when she was about 10, and she insists it was the best present she ever got as a kid. Now, she is raising 4 offspring of her own in Wellesley, and I look forward to exchanging Christmas greetings with The Varmint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        in fact i was once gifted by a secret santa with santa mugs filled with red and green hersey's kisses;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I enjoyed it so used the same idea next time i was a secret santa and the recipient remarked "OH, more mugsl in front of the whole party as I think of it, maybe I regifted

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I think the recipient should not have expressed that thought outloud, living in a household with at least 3 or 4 times more nugs than is needed (and that's just in the kitchen cupboard and not including many more downstairs) I understand the sentiment. Whenever anyone considers giving a mug as a gift, a plan B should be seriously considered. (But a mug filled with goodies should be in another category maybe).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm convinced that promotional coffee mugs breed in dark cupboards and have a gestational period approximately half that of the common fruit fly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I could get by with exactly two mugs for me. One to use while the other is in the dishwasher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I regularly box up those extra mugs and give them to Salvation Army. When I've gone to their store (rarely, but they do sometimes have good cookbooks), I see a gazilliion mugs. Wonder who they re-gift 'em to?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Same thing just happened with a wine tasting for 10 of us--the glasses were included. Cheap, with the winery's logo, natch. I just put down my foot and said "not for me"--we left 'em there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My worst was a marshmallow rotisserie. It had 3 prongs on the end and was a battery powered hand held device, super cheap, and hilarious! It only had one speed and it was super slow. Ah family!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. They know I have an espresso maker and drink coffee. I have been given more demitasse sets than Juan Valdez would ever need. The thing is, I never drink a solo shot. I always fill a regular sized coffee cup with a colada, a stretched espresso (doppio caffè lungo?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A bread basket... but it wasn't really a basket, it was ceramic and molded/painted to look like a basket. It came with a ceramic loaf of bread inside, I guess to keep the real bread company. I am 99% positive this was a regift, as I cannot imagine why anyone would want this, let alone why one of my closest friends would think I would want this. (I would also bet that he ran out of time to go shopping and asked his mom, who lived nearby, to provide something. This was a wedding shower gift.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Was just reading this list for the first time and LOLing all over the place!!! Pia, I think I know what you have there and it's kind of cool; if it's like the one I have, you put the ceramic "basket" in the oven to heat it up and then put a cloth napkin or towel in it and put rolls/bread in it -- the hot basket keeps the bread warm! I spose a bit of a unitasker but I do like my bread products kept warm, esp. if freshly baked. I don't however, have a cat's idea of what the ceramic bread loaf is all about...hmm...mine didn't come with one...I feel strangely cheated...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. A white KitchenAid stand mixer from Target. Great idea (who doesn't want a stand mixer?), but poor execution. I hate white appliances, the capacity is low, and it isn't very powerful. Basically not the mixer that I (or my mother) would have chosen and now I am stuck with it until it dies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But I greatly appreciate the thought because it was an unexpected and expensive Xmas gift from my bf's grandma. And even with it's flaws I use it weekly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Other poor gifts with good intentions have been:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "movie nite" of a Blockbuster GC, movie theater candy, and microwave popcorn. None of which we use/eat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Flavored coffee/hot chocolate w/Irish coffee glasses. We aren't fans of flavored coffee (except the Godiva coffees aren't bad) and with limited cabinet space specialty glasses that don't stack well are quickly donated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I never would have guessed 'KitchenAid' would have been mentioned on this thread. You could have returned it to Target and purchased the larger mixer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would happily take the KitchenAid stand mixer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Didn't realize that it didn't fit my needs until after using (and I'm very reluctant to return/exchange gifts). Don't have the means to purchase a more expensive model. Would have preferred picking out the colour, model, and timing of gift (we don't have a lot of space in kitchen. So I consider it the "worst" because it was an expensive (but thoughtful) gift that I didn't want. Unlike other bad food related food gifts I can't throw or give it away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You can always paint it like Alton Brown's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So despite the fact you use it weekly, it is a bad gift because it isn't as fancy as what you would pick out if you could have afforded it at the time? That's like saying "Dang grandma of a boyfriend who I didn't expect a gift from, how dare you get me a white Chevy Impala when you know I really want a red Ford Mustang."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly, that is why for me it's a bad gift. Because she spent a lot of money on something that I neither wanted or needed. Using your analogy, I would rather save the money, wait and buy the red Ford Mustang (and ride the T or bus until I get it) than have her spend the money on a white Chevy Impala.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me a bad gift is one were the giver means well, but misses the mark. Where as the recipient you aren't completely happy with the gift, but can't do anything about it. Especially if the giver spent a lot of money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Like melpy said below, massive guilt that she had spent the money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          viperlush, I would feel the exact same way about this that you do. I would appreciate the gift, but at the same time I would be bummed because I knew it was a lot of money and wasn't what I really wanted or needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hear ya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have relatives who love to go overboard. If they had any inkling of what I actually wanted, no doubt they would move heaven and earth to make it happen... in the totally wrong way, resulting in them spending way too much money on something impractical, barely usable or just absolutely not right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My first year in university, someone tipped them off that I needed a small TV that could easily be taken with me to my dorm. I got a full-size, HUGE thing, with built in VCR and what have you, enormous bulky tube so it was as "deep" as it was wide and tall... It sat in my dad's basement for two years because I literally could not use it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "But it was such a great deal at Costco!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Another year, a microwave. I didn't need one, but I guess I could have used it if it had been compact and small or something. Nope. Costco apparently had a sale on freakin' huge monster oversized giant microwaves with 58734 functions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This year, I would love a new food processor, but I live in perpetual fear of letting the word out, lest I receive a 40-lb behemoth, which has fifty functions I'll never use while lacking all the ones I would find helpful, and which I will have to cram into the 2' of counter space in my tiny apartment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I found it works MUCH better just to literally ask for no gifts, or token gifts (stocking stuffers, cards...)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would, in absolute honesty, rather save up my own money and buy what fits my needs, than see my loved ones put their hearts, souls and paychecks into finding what they think is the perfect gift, when really it's completely unsuitable but I can never tell them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's just me, though...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The apartment I had before this one had no counter space. None. No counters at all (that's NY for you) My mother found out that I didn't have a microwave (I never used one anyhow) & insisted on sending me one that was simply enormous -- it took up a third of my kitchen table, which was the only prep space I had. (But the charity to which I donated it was delighted, b/c they had a lunch program & found it very handy, so not a total loss.) When I got married again, this DH came with a microwave, since his basic diet when we met was microwave popcorn & microwave pizza (yes, of course he's a software developer, however did you guess?), but it's a small one & we actually have some counters now. My mother keeps offering to get a bigger one, though ... .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We suspect we got hit with an 'it was a steal of a price at Costco' this year. We like nice knives- three knife blocks worth of them on the kitchen counter and then the overflow boxed up in a drawer. And because I like to talk about bargain-shopping with my Mom, I've mentioned to her many times about finding something really nice for a steal at TJ Maxx or cashing in the credit card points for a Williams-Sonoma GC and then trying out a Shun from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So for this Christmas, they got us an entry level 10 piece Wusthof set. Which, very nice knives and all, but, heck my parents have cooked and baked in my kitchen enough while they were down here that they've used the calvacade 'o' excellent knives we already have on hand many a time before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think we're going to end up mailing the new set to the mister's parents, who are still using the same Chicago Cutlery from their wedding way back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's sort of what happened to friends of mine. They had had a year where they were doing a lot of things for her parents, due to various family emergencies. Her parents wanted to do something nice, so they surprised the with a car for Christmas ( a used one, but good condition).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The problem was, my friends were students living in a major urban centre. They already had good public transportation, and running a car was expensive - $200 a month to park, really high insurance rates, particularly for new car owners, etc. They had a car, and physically couldn't afford to insure it. They felt really bad because it was such a generous gift, but, well....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My MIL got me a white KitchenAid the year we got engaged but I had always wanted a fun color- I was appreciative of the gift but when it is something that you will literally have the rest of your life you want it to be what you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Check this out: http://youcraftmeup.blogspot.fr/2010/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now it can not only be something you have the rest of your life, but it can be the only one on the planet like it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (and you can change it when you get tired of it....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Or just google "KitchenAid decals for a less labor-intensive, less-permanent solution)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's pretty cool!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And ihb78, FWIW, I totally agree with you. That was a very generous gift but if I was going to do that for someone I would skip the surprise and make sure I knew what color/model they wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: lhb78

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One Christmas I decided to buy a Kitchen Aid mixer for a very dear friend. I told her 12 year old daughter to find out what color she would want, but I wanted it to be a surprise, so be sneaky about it. I found at later that her idea of being sneaky was to ask her mom,"if you had a Kitchen Aid mixer, what color would you want it to be?" So it wasn't that much of a surprise, but she was thrilled, and at least she got the color she wanted. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought about mentioning it. I was waiting a few years until we buy another house to get one but my parents insisted that was what they wanted to buy last year. I ended up with white and it took my 11 months to break out and use because I don't bake much. Since I used it for pie for Thanksgiving I have decided that I love it but I had massive guilt that they had spent the money and it was collecting dust for most of the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. A Cheese-shaped cheese serving board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a dairy allergy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: krp818

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not food related but along the same lines... My mom got me a car charger for my phone. I had just lost my license the week before. Thaaaanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've gotten food/holiday packages from Harry and David when the people (relatives) knew I was trying to lose weight. Evenso, food, unless you made it yourself or it was a request, is a no no for me. I've also been given coupons to a bruegger's bagel, a gift card to Chilis and a regifted small bamboo board.. think like a small bread board which isn't that bad, but most things would never sit on it AND it was regifted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We had a cheap sandwich press that was regifted for four years... I received it twice, so I gues it was karma.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rozz01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's fun when you get a tradition going on something that keeps getting regifted over and over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A tradition! My FIL and his brother used to give each other gifts and make them as impossible to open as they possibly could. Duct tape won out. Completely encased in about 15 layers of duct tape was......a walnut. ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmmm, I need a gift idea for my annoying sister......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There was a news story about something like this. One guy encased whatever it was in a block of concrete four feet across but he didn't win. The other guy welded it inside a ton of steel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We do that in my family too. Packing tape, duct tape, double sided tape, even hot glue. When someone sneaks off to wrap in secret we often hear the sound of our tape gun followed by maniacal giggling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Okay, so this isn't perfectly related, but I was at a pharmacy the other day and saw those pre-paid gift cards to a movie theater chain... and they were buttered popcorn scented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FOOD-SCENTED GIFT CARDS! YIKES!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Apparently I the one that GAVE the gift this year...I thought they were pretty fun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Office Secert Santa...I give a gift bag with a bottle of wine, 3 chocolate truffles, gourmet cheese straws and 2 tipsy wine glasses...(the wine glasses are meant to be fun ...they kind of swirl they do not sit correctly)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I feel like crap that I gave such a bad gift!!! or was it a bad gift ??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I dunno, bermuda, doesn't sound too bad to me, especially for a Secret Santa office gift, which can be absolute nightmares to give and to receive. Don't beat yourself up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's pretty good, too...they can enjoy it, or put it out at a party....you don't know the recipient, which makes it really hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We actually decided almost 10 years ago as a family that we just wouldn't DO christmas presents any more. We realized that we are pretty fortunate as a group, with the means to buy things we need whenever we need them...and that we were spending hours and hours at the mall spending lots and lots of money...when the time spent together was far more important to all of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So now we take some of that money and donate it to charity, and spend the time baking cookies, watching holiday movies, and just enjoying each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Kids still make out like bandits, though...we all agreed that Christmas presents needed to continue for the kids/grandkids/nieces and nephews.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We've had some truly wonderful Christmasses since we changed our tradition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We do the exact same thing!!! Started this about 6 years ago and Christmas has been so much better ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Much less stressful, I get the shopping done weeks before Christmas because there's only three kids to shop for (2 nephews are now at the "cash is king" stage) and I love shopping for the kids - that's a blast. The shopping's done, the wrapping is done, we're decorating the tree today and all I have to do now is enjoy the season and cook and bake some delicious food with my ten year old son while listening to Christmas music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I still get my mom a present every year though. We started a tradition a few years ago where I take her to lunch during the week between Christmas and New Years, somewhere really nice. She loves it and I really look forward to it too. We often do lunch throughout the year, but I love that get together during the holiday season but after the bustle of Christmas Day has passed. It's always a good day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Honestly, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, from DW, was unexpected and frankly not terribly appreciated. I think I've read more from (and learned more from) Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything. Something about taking a 30# book to bed and reading from A to M, and then from N to Z....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, getting chunks of Parm Reg and Peccorino Romano for our anniversary somehow smacks of the negligee to the wife sice I'm the cook, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Not really the WORST, but the most recent. Now I don't mind the homemade biscotti too much. They look lovely and have a beautiful texture but they taste like absolutely nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I'm baffled over how that can happen. Still, they're homemade and I'm definitely appreciative that the giver thought enough of me to make the effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, the one I really don't get is the recent gift of odd looking scones. A homemade-looking label and messy hands on my part led me to believe that these too were a well-meaning gift, perhaps baked with the kids. Nope. When my hands were clean and I could take a closer look, I saw that they were amateur-ish looking baked good purchased from a chain bakery. I could almost understand that if it were an, "Oops, now I have to get you something in return fast gift," but I haven't finished my baking yet and won't hand out cookie plates until later this week. C'mon, really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. A glass cutting board with a Christmas scene picture. Besides the fact that I'm Jewish, I would never use a glass cutting board. The sound alone drives me up a wall, never mind what it's doing to my knives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      use it as a serving tray (I know, it's a Christmas scene) or a hot plate...or under a potted plant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't stand glass cutting boards, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (or drop it at the local Salvation Army)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wouldn't it shatter if I put a hot pan on it? I'm holding it for my next yard sale, but it may end up at Goodwill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          probably not -- if it's tempered/treated to withstand the impact from a knife edge, then it should withstand thermal shock fairly well, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not a chance I'm willing to take, especially after reading the Consumer Reports story about pyrex. Maybe it would make a nice cheese board?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Glass makes a great cheese board. Doesn't stay cool like marble, but it does reasonably well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And you could always cover it with a wicker mat or a couple of paper doilies to cover the scene, if you do opt for the cheeseboard scenario.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can sympathize on that one. I'm Jewish and have received countless Christmas tree ornaments ("they don't have to go on a tree!"), a red and green Christmas tree plate ("it could just be any old pine tree!") and on topic, Christmas themed cookie cutters. I don't bake very much and I can of course use them to make Christmas cookies for my Christmas celebrating friends, but after a while the "doesn't EVERYONE celebrate Christmas" themed presents start to grate on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm Jewish too, and I totally understand how you feel. And it's funny, because my household does celebrate Christmas, my husband being Christian - and I almost NEVER receive Christmas themed presents. The people giving you those gifts are not being thoughtful, and frankly, it would be hard for me not to detect an undertone of hostility in such gifts if the gift giver is aware that you are Jewish. If gifts aren't thoughtful, what was the purpose of giving it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many came from my Catholic ex-husband's mother, so perhaps they're not so surprising and I'm sure there was a touch of hostility there. But I've also received that type of thing from co-workers, business acquaintances, etc. I don't think they're being hostile, but some people really can't fathom the idea that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Or maybe that you can't just take Christmas themed items and simply decide they're not actually Christmas-y?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was specifically thinking of my husband's Catholic family. I experienced more than a touch of hosility from some of his family members over the years. (Thankfully, most of them have gotten over it by now.) And I still remember one rather funny Easter celebration at my FIL's house where he put an easter egg at everyone's place setting and insisted on drawing a little yarmulke on mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the co-workers etc.maybe hostile isn't quite the right word. But there is no excuse for an adult NOT being able to wrap their head around the idea that not everyone celebrates Christmas, Even if there isn't an undertone of hostility, it's still very thoughtless. How would those people feel if you started buying them menorahs and seder plates? It's just too easy to give a gift that is NOT Christmas themed for anyone to have an excuse for doing this to someone that they know doesn't celebrate the holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think of Christmas as a great time to give my Jewish pals.... FOOD! I have several who secretly crave things like mince tarts and don't typically get the opportunity to try home-made versions so it works out rather nicely. I even have a Jewish friend who likes Christmas cake. When she told me, I was thunderstruck. I hardly know anyone who celebrates Christmas that likes the stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I must admit I got a huge chuckle out of picturing that Easter egg with the yarmulke on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Food always works for me! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The easter egg with the yarmulke on it really was funny, and I still laugh whenever I think about it. My FIL was actually a pretty decent guy and we got along very well. He wasn't the SMARTEST guy in the world or maybe he would have rethought that one, but I don't think he was trying to be mean. Honestly, I really didn't know what to make of it, but there it is. It was more my BILs and SIL that I was having trouble with at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just to let you know, the Easter egg thing is more of a secular Easter tradition rather than an actual Christian tradition. I think you FIL was trying to be funny rather than attempting to make a point about religion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, trust me, he wasn't that sophisticated. To him, an Easter egg absolutely was a Christian tradition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ok, I understand. Years ago my mother and father attended a 'holiday' party in December. There was a gift exchange where all of the gifts were wrapped and when someone's turn came up they could either take a gift from the table or take a wrapped gift that someone else had already selected. There was a $25 limit on the cost of the gift so it was supposed to be a fun thing and for the most part it was. What was interesting is that one of the couple's in attendance ended up with a large Christmas wreath. They were Jewish. My mother exchanged a handmade quilt that she really liked for the wreath because, although this was actually a business organization, my parents' were the hosts and their job was to make sure nobody was uncomfortable with the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As an update, the Christmas themed glass cutting board did not sell at my yard sale even for $1 (apparently most people don't like glass cutting boards). But Goodwill was happy to take it off my hands. I'll bet they'd be happy to have your ornaments, plates, etc., too. It does seem odd that people who know we're Jewish give gifts like these. Perhaps we should give Hanukkah themed gifts back to them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would it be helpful to know that most of the Christmas and Easter traditions started out as Celtic Pagan practices? Scientists think that Christ was actually born around what is now March or April, but the Celtic tribes celebrated the Winter Solstice which marked the birth of the Sun because after Dec 21, the days became longer. They decorated trees which are evergreen, hung mistletoe, which is sacred to the Druids, and held feasts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ditto Easter: the word comes from Ostara who is a goddess of the Spring, and as such, also the fertility indicative of the season. Her symbols include the rabbit (obvious fertility) and the egg, as a symbol of Life coming to be , as well as any seed/grain. Eggs were colored, hidden, and searched for, and everyone celebrated thanks (partially because they made it through yet another winter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Christians who took over the areas of Europe adopted a lot of the existing traditions in order to better convert them. ("You celebrate the birth of the Sun? We celebrate the birth of the Sun [read: Son} also!").
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, as a Pagan married to an atheist (and raising one, as well) I don't mind getting stuff with trees, eggs, and rabbits....but you won't find any angels, crucifixes, or nativity scenes here. Those things go to Goodwill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and don't forget All Saints' Day, which just conveniently happens to coincide with the Celtic celebration of Samhaim -- the day when the veil between the realms of the living and dead was lifted....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Oh I am SO glad you asked...a nutmeg mill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It looks the part, all sleek, black and stainless steel and plexiglass stall and with different grating blades, but after carefully placing 4 very precious 'nuts' in the stall, it stopped working after 3 gratings. Now, I cannot get the nuts back out again...the little stopper that holds them in is completely jammed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I happened to see this disaster in a store later and gasped at the cost...I wish the giver had just given me a nice bottle of wine instead. After all, I was completely satisfied with grating my nutmeg on my Lee Valley plane prior to being gifted with this stylish demon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. We have a friend who's been in financial straits on and off for MANY years. Despite repeatedly asking her NOT to get us a gift at all, or if she must, just some token for the kids, she insists on buying us the SAME gift -- a breakfast set from Swiss Colony. Earlier she did it because she could buy gifts there in installments. (Talk about guilt.) But now that thins are a little less dire, she's upped it to the Deluxe set (with extra fake ham and over-sugared bacon).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She does this because she knows I like to cook and we like big breakfasts. We have tried for many years to dissuade her. We've even tried the "it's not as good as it used to be"....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: eamcd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I found myself in a similar situation with a friend who kept buying me a Figis smoked turkey every year. All the gentle hinting in the world wouldn't get through to her, so finally I told her I was asking all my friends to donate money to a charity instead of buying me gifts, and if she insisted on buying me a turkey I would give it to a local homeless shelter. Now every year she gives me a card with detailed information on the charity she donated to in my name. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. FYI, this thread was memorialized in a CHOW post yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.chow.com/food-news/68910/f...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -Lessley Anderson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Senior Editor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CHOW.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. A plastic jug full of "maple" syrup. The jug had a thick layer of dust on it. Never had the nerve to open it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also pretty low on the list was the enormous box of mail-order bagels. In flavors like "blueberry supreme". Tasted like air freshener.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know we're doing holiday gifts, but I have to bring up the hands down worst gift I ever received which was the Valentine's Day my then-boyfriend gave me a Presto Fry-Baby. Nothing says love like a vat of boiling oil...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My friend went through a phase of buying me tea towels. Nice tea towels, but still.... She also had a coaster phase. I also have more oven gloves than I know what to do with - many of them bought in a panic by the OH as a stocking filler! He also once got me a musical cake slice which plays five tunes, including Jingle Bells - actually that one is rather fun and comes out at Xmas and birthdays

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh yes, the kitchen towels...I have a cousin who collects them (seriously, an entire kitchen cabinet--not just drawer--FULL, absolutely falling-out stuffed, in varying stages of disintegration). They are all the terry cloth kind that doesn't absorb anything, they just rearrange the water on your dishes, your counter, your hands. And when you add silkscreened designs, the absorption goes down even further. It does make for easy gift-buying for her but for a while, she gave me towels that she thought were cute--not sure if she thought I also liked them or just wanted to share the fun. I stockpiled for a while and then sent them into circulation at a white elephant--funny, no one stole them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just this week I received from a dear family friend an electric garlic roaster, which is cast in the shape of a giant garlic bulb in case you see it in the pantry and forget what it does. Conveniently, once you press the garlic-shaped button to turn it on, it roasts up to three heads of garlic for exactly 27 minutes before shutting itself off, presumably to prevent the garlic from overcooking. I gave it away as a prize at a holiday party the next day... will not be surprised if that unlucky recipient is posting on this thread a few days from now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tripit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        another entry in the "expensive unitasker that never gets used and takes up space in my pantry/cupboards"...there are SOOOO many of those!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (27 minutes? Where did THAT come from?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tripit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          so far that is the only use I have found for that