I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Festive Favorites 2011

The time has come again.  Thanksgiving is all over but the leftovers, and it is time to turn to holiday shopping.  I love putting together this round up of some of my holiday fun finds, and as always, these are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products.

This year, I am all about homemade gifts from the kitchen.  I went on a real canning bender this summer, so I have a kitchen full of jars of lovely goodies to give away.  I think homemade gifts are a real gesture of caring, and everyone appreciates something good to eat.  And I know I like my packaging to be worthy of the treats inside.  If treats in jars is your plan, dress them up with some lovely personalized canning labels. These letterpress labels add a sleek, modern feel to good old-fashioned preserves and pickles. Tie on a little personalized ribbon and you are good to go.  But if baking is your way of showing love, doll up those treat with pretty bags and boxes of all types.  These Baked with Love hang tags add an old-fashioned charm, while letterpress write-in tags work for all your kitchen gifts. And there are some amazing labels for bags and boxes of baked goods, from simple to festive.  And I think adding a custom recipe card to a homemade gift is a wonderfully sweet addition.

If you are looking for gifts for your food loving friends, Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin may be the cookbook of the season.  It comes with a searchable DVD of Jacques demonstrating his techniques.  New Orleans chef John Besh’s My Family Table will be a great companion in the kitchen for family meals. And as winter settles in, Diana Henry’s Roast Figs and Sugar Snow will make you want to cook warming, comforting food.  But settling down with a juicy read after the holidays is a great gift too.  White Truffles in Winter is a fictionalized love story about the first celebrity chef Auguste Escoffier. And while reading a delectable novel, a cup of Novel Tea, tea for book lovers, wouldn’t go amiss.

Possibly my all-time favorite kitchen gift is this hilarious and charming Food Lovers tea towel.  I hang it up as a decoration!  And my reliable mixer is getting a bit old, so wouldn’t it be fun jazzed up with these utensil decals? This adorable pig patterned rug would brighten up any kitchen, as would these colorful and fun monogrammed coasters.  My most valued kitchen tools are Le Creuset enamalled cast-iron cookware, but it doesn’t come cheap.  This special offer on a very useful 3 ½ quart size would make a stunning gift for any cook, from beginner to seasoned hand. And fun little kits, with pretty accessories and recipes make great gifts, for the cupcake baker, the cheese lover or the canning fanatic.

But maybe the best gift of all is giving on behalf of someone you love to someone in need. There are so many great organizations to give to that will create special cards you can wrap up for your recipient or have it sent directly to them. Heifer International is really cheeky. Give a friend a goat, or a hive of bees, that will help a community sustain itself. They have a gift catalog and make great cards for giving. And for all those peanut butter sandwiches you make during the year, make a gift of Plumpy Nut, a therapeutic nut paste feeding thousands of hungry children through UNICEF.  And as food banks are under more strain than ever,these holiday gift tags from Share Our Strength will help feed hungry Americans.

For some more ideas about my favorite fun kitchen finds, book and movies – check out The Spoon’s Store, powered by Amazon.  Just click on the box on the right hand side of the page.

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3 comments to Festive Favorites 2011

  • Merilee

    Hi.
    As always, I really enjoy The Runaway Spoon! I feel like you have become part of my extended family..thanks for the kindness and dedication you put into your site. It is appreciated.
    Where dod you find the Santa Chef figurine in this holiday email. I did find the 12 days od Christmas towel site and am ordering some for gifts.

    Have a great day.
    Sincerely,
    Merilee in St.Petersburg,Fl

  • Thanks so much! High praise indeed. I wish I could tell you where I got the ornament. I have had it for years, but don’t remember where it came from. It is a fixture on my kitchen ornament tree every year!

  • a great list! i wish those decals were in different colors like red or orange!

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