What do the cook, the eater, the drinker and the host on your holiday gift list need? Scratch that: What do they want? We hope our collection of gifts at a variety of prices (most of them well under $50) inspires you to choose something practical, quirky, stylish — or all of the above. We will forgive you, by the way, if you keep them all to yourself.
Treat any cook with dull knives to professional sharpening services at DC Sharp in Union Market (see video above), where brothers Derek and Ryan Swanson use a centuries-old method, sharpening by hand on Japanese waterstones. Chef’s, serrated and bread knives, $1.75/inch; paring/steak knives, $10. Pickup and mobile sharpening available at an extra charge. The metal used to make the Tojiro powdered forging steel chef’s knife (below) is manufactured to be so hard it can cut other metals. That means it’s extra durable, and its super-thin blade will keep its superior sharpness longer than most stainless-steel knives. Four sizes, 7 1/2 to 10 1/2 inches. $180-$280, including lifetime sharpening, at DC Sharp.
Some of The Food section’s most popular cookie recipes are now compiled in the easy-to-scroll format of an e-book. $2.99, through Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
Anyone stuck at a business convention with an inadequate minibar in their hotel room will be happy to have a travel set of bitters at hand. The Bitter Truth and Scrappy’s Bitters both make sets with a variety of flavors included. (Available online and locally; the Bitter Truth set, $19.99, available at Ace Beverage in Northwest Washington; Scrappy’s sets, $26 at Salt & Sundry on S Street NW and in Union Market.
We’ve published the recipe for Red Truck Bakery’s Almond Stollen (below), but if your baking dance card is full, go the mail-order route (above). A generous 1 pound, $28 plus shipping; available via www.foodydirect.com.
Environmentally friendly, stylish products for cooks, made in the District. The elegant, sturdy twill apron (above) has deep pockets, a generously sized neck strap and durable strings. If you’re trying to cut down on plastic wrap, food preserver bowl toppers (below) come in three sizes, all with elastic bands to cover most bowls in your kitchen. A blend of of hemp and Lyocell (made from wood pulp), machine washable. Apron, $85; bowl toppers $36 for set of three; at Magpie Cookshop.
Classic patterns wrought in tin: 10-inch metal plates from One Hundred 80 Degrees. $12 each, at Salt & Sundry.
The Curve Teaware 24-ounce teapot with infuser is just the right size for your desk at the office. $32, at Teaism locations in the District and Alexandria.
Craft cocktails deserve the best-looking ice, so there are round silicone orbs (above) for creating that perfect, single round cube in a rocks glass, and silicone trays (below) that produce big squares and rectangular cubes that will stand tall in Collins glasses. Available via www.cocktailkingdom.com, $6.96 to $7.95.
Those salt “pigs” are fine, but they let in moisture and dust. The teak salt cellar from Be Home uses a pivoting magnetic lid, making it easy to open and close with one hand if the other is, say, stirring the sauce. 4.5 inches in diameter, made from reclaimed wood and stylish enough to move from stove top to table. Carved spoon (but not salt) included. $40 at Salt & Sundry.
Reach for Peg’s Salt, a blend of spices, garlic and kosher salt, the next time you season a steak, chicken, fish, vegetables or eggs. Made close to Charlottesville, Va. (Does not contain MSG.) 3 ounces, $4.75. Available at Whole Foods Markets; or via www.pegssalt.com.
Try Vermouth del Professore in your next negroni. It’s named after famed bartender Jerry Thomas and is honeyed and herbal. About $30, available at Ace Beverage.
This packet of waterproof cards (7 1/2 by 10 inches) contains easily accessible, basic information on how to prepare greens, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, proteins, nuts and seeds, and homemade stock. More than 75 recipes plus tips are included. From Nourish Schools. $24.99, available via Amazon.com.
No need to worry about how you’re going to polish off that whole bottle of flavored vinegar. Modern Gourmet Foods offers four-pack variety in 1.7-ounce portions. The infused balsamic vinegar flavors include apple cinnamon, blood orange, pomegranate and mango. $7.59, available at some Bed Bath and Beyond stores and Target locations.
Slim Jim-like only until you get up close and personal, these meat snack sticks from Mobtown Meat Snacks in Baltimore have a nice blend of spice and are almost greaseless. $6 for a package of 8; available at Ostrowski’s Famous Polish Sausage kitchen in Fells Point (524 S. Washington St., Baltimore, 410-327-8935) and until Dec. 22 at the Baltimore Farmers Market (under the Jones Falls Expressway).
The traveling boozehound you know may already have a flask, but the ones at flasking.com are particularly colorful and clever: a Star Wars storm trooper in a business suit, a free-roaming Sasquatch — even a flask that’s covered with faux fur and has fangs. You can also customize them with your own photos and works of art. Flasks (8 ounces) start at $22; custom orders more expensive.
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