This time we’ve lost it. What did we do to get here? We’re foodies far gone. With 3 shopping days left before Christmas, we’re awash in gift guides for the food obsessed including barbecue masters, cocktail crazies, pizza pedlars, teetotallers, and would-be expert bakers. Beautiful cook’s tools, refurbished cracked enamel, rusted-over serving spoons that require a tetanus shot after a single use and 24 karat gold cocktail stirrers more likely to stir up a wave of sadness after I finish my second diamondback, alone, on some ignoble weeknight, after I catch my reflection in its glinting surface, stuck to my countertop with simple syrup.
The greatest fruit in history, the pineapple, has made its mark on 2014. Overcoming its consumable status, this symbol of hospitality is the new jack-o-lantern, and the new bird silhouette on your throw pillow and stationary. Remarkably though, it’s still unable to overtake kale as the new and hot produce item. Cauliflower never happened the way it was forecasted to and with Beyonce wearing kale merchandise, it’s obvious cauliflower is never going to happen. Ignore all the hot new vegetable articles you’ll start seeing this January and know it’s going to be more kale and pineapples for 2015.
Do I get somebody a Kale sweatshirt, then? Or maybe a gilded pineapple Christmas tree ornament? How about if it’s wrapped in spicy mortadella wrapping paper? This is perhaps the most confusing Christmas shopping season ever for the food-loving. Where we once only had Williams-Sonoma to turn to for extravagant food-related wares, we have everywhere—thanks in part to the great food revolution that was so valiantly fought by Jamie Oliver—now everyone eats food. Sure I can pick up heirloom pears on the way home or easier yet, just point and click over on Food52 but is this what we were fighting for? Apologies for sounding like Charlie Brown but isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas for foodies is all about?
Luxury and extravagance have always been part of my game but this year I don’t feel right about a paycheque spent on a 15-pound sourdough statement piece. Try to think of the last time someone made a statement with an oversized loaf of bread and you start to realize you don’t want to go down the same path of Roman empires and French kings. Do you want to wear a donut necklace? I’m not sure I want to express my love of donuts so outwardly when the extra 20 pounds I’m already wearing clearly expresses how much I like fried dough. The same can be said for the flask bangle—what does it say about the wearer? All of these negative and complicated feelings arise when all I’m trying to do is share my love of good food with someone else!
This person—this food-obsessed person we’re all shopping as or for can’t be led so far astray with the likes of these gift guides. The trick with any food gift is to remember that locavorism is still at the core of all our hearts. Food lovers adore shopping local, which makes sense—they’re already willing to go out of their way and delve deeper into their pockets to support the Saturday farmer’s market. The devoted food enthusiast will want you shopping at all their favourite hole in the walls and specialty shops, selfishly, so that business can continue to service them throughout the rest of the year. Maybe that means a new or vintage cookbook, a jar of imported mustard or bottle of Moscatel vinegar. Maybe a gift certificate to their favourite butcher will go over well, after all, everyone could always use a little extra meat money in their pocket and there’s a potential bonus that you could get invited to a prime rib dinner they host after they spend your gift.
It’s a trying time of year for foodies, not to mention the whole feasting bit and specialty shopping required to impress a shortlist of fussy family members, so as long as you haven’t completely lost yourself after wading through the ridiculous and outrageous gifting options this year has on offer just remember that all the food enthusiast really wants to receive this year are compliments over how perfectly cooked everything is and if they’d be so kind to share the recipe.