Alibi V.20 No.46 • Nov 17-23, 2011 

Mina's Dish

Food-Lover’s Gift Guide

I’ve already started the spiced nuts [ “Go Nuts,” Nov. 10-16]. Next come dozens of jars of green-chile-cranberry chutney [ “In a Pickle,” Oct. 13-19]. But if you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, I can think of a few gifts that’ll make someone’s holiday happier.

One of my favorite stocking stuffers is the Zyliss Lock-n-Lift can opener. I’ve given many of these to friends and family who love the excellent hardware and ease of use. They’re $14.99 apiece on Amazon, but you can find them locally at Now We’re Cooking (5901 Wyoming NE, 857-9625).

For the serious foodie who collects cookbooks like art, you can throw a few hundred dollars at Modernist Cuisine (published in March by the The Cooking Lab). It’s a six-volume encyclopedic masterwork by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, who’ve documented the art and science of cooking in 2,400 pages. If you want to learn the techniques used by chefs such as Spain’s Ferran Adrià or Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea, then this is the tome for you.

In wildest dreams territory, there’s always the DCS Professional Series 48-Inch Pro-Style Dual Fuel Range—that’s the one with four sealed burners, a griddle, a grill, a self-cleaning convection main oven, plus a secondary oven with telescopic racking. Got that? It’s a mere $9,500. Don’t worry about the fact that I’d need a new kitchen to house this gem.

But my favorite gifts in recent years are ones the recipients never see. I have a handful of friends and family who know their gifts are going to Heifer International (heifer.org). This amazing organization makes it possible to give a heifer ($500), a water buffalo ($250), a hive of honeybees ($30) or any of dozens of gifts that create opportunities for families in underdeveloped communities around the world. I especially like the bees because they not only produce honey and wax, but also pollinate crops in their vicinity.

And if you want to give closer to home, Whole Foods Market Grab and Give bags are available for a nominal fee during the holidays. The groceries go to families in need, and that’s truly a present in the spirit of the season.

Send your restaurant tips, food events and other delicious tidbits to food@alibi.com