Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A GF Holiday Gift Guide (Sort Of)

Honestly? I'm tired of getting celiac-related things for gifts, especially gluten-free food gifts. I am so much more than my diagnosis and yet, when the holidays arrive, I am reduced to this one trait that makes up but a small part of who I am. Gifts should be fun. Being reminded of my illness at the holidays? Not so fun. So my advice for any readers buying for a GF person: Make the big presents unrelated to GF-dom and save the gluten-free treats for stocking stuffers or the dessert table - or a just-thinking-of-you gift some other time of year.

Also? There are a LOT of terrible gluten-free goods out there. Any gluten-free person who has been living GF for even a short while will have some idea of the things that are good to eat - and those that suck. So pay attention and ask questions - jot down the names of any products they love or places they can eat at safely - and buy gift cards to those spots, small boxes of treats, etc. They loved the cupcakes they had at Babycakes while on vacation in NYC this summer? Have a box of 'em shipped.You'll get brownie points (pun intended) for paying attention.

Still really want to get them something food-related? Here are my suggestions for gifts that don't scream THIS IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE CELIAC:

Le Creuset dutch oven (or roasting pans, or anything from Le Creuset). These make great gifts for a couple of reasons: (1) If someone is newly diagnosed, they'll need to toss much of their cooking gear and buy new. (2) Gluten-free people, like it or not, have to cook more often than other folks. Safe food just isn't always available. Having the proper tools to create delicious meals at home is essential. In either case, this is a gift that will last a lifetime.

The Science of Good Cooking (Cooks Illustrated Cookbooks): Personally, I don't do gluten-free cookbooks. If I did any GF baking, sure, I'd go to a GF-specific book. But for everyday cooking, I see absolutely no need. I choose recipes from trusted resources (see: food52.com) and make any necessary tweaks (subbing in GF soy sauce for regular, for example). This coookbook provides many recipes but also explains the science of why they work - great info for a newly-diagnosed person trying to figure out this whole cooking thing.

Le Sport Sac: Nope, not kidding. As I said, gluten-free people need to cook more often and, especially if they live in a major city like NYC, that probably means schlepping their groceries via mass transit. There are loads of reusable bag options out there, but this is the bag I take every single time I grocery shop. It's large - I can fit just about an entire shopping basket full of groceries in it - with wide straps that make toting it all much more comfortable.

Okay, so despite having ranted against food gifts, I'll toss one suggestion out. If you're going to give food, make it a slam dunk - the BEST something they've ever had. This is what I want:

Mariposa Bakery brownies: All of the treats from this GF bakery are amazing, but those brownies? OH, THOSE BROWNIES. I will throw down and say it: They are the best brownies I've ever had, gluten-free or  otherwise.

What's that? Your loved one asked for GF-related gifts? Well, then, see my suggestions from last year - still good ones!

1 comment:

  1. I've been wheat-free since 1999. The products available today are so much better now. I'm just so happy not to have to play with recipes to get it half-way decent anymore. My recommendation for all purpose flour is Sugar & Spice Market gluten free