Eugene Weekly : Gift Guide : 11.24.10


Eugene Weekly’s Gift Guide 2010:

Reduce, Reconnect,  Rejoice! More ideas than just “coupon good for one massage” 

Organic on Your Skin Soaps made with love and garden herbs 

Caffeine Up Get through the holidays with the rituals of tea and coffee

Birds of a Feather Art and fashion in Poppy & Moe

Between Children and Young Adults Gifts for tweens straddle the line

Wood from the Heart Bad economy leads to lovely toys

Life, Death and Water Soothing fountains arise from crises

Drool-Worthy and Local Start a new, natural tradition

Kiss the Cook Better yet, get the cook one of these great holiday gifts

Genius Gift: Make your own Fizzy Water


Kiss the Cook
Better yet, get the cook one of these  great holiday gifts
by Zanne Miller

Who’s making your holiday dinner? You might not be in the market for a KitchenAid stand mixer (or else you need to start saving up — they run in the hundreds of dollars), but local stores have kitchen gifts for every budget sure to delight or simply add a bit of sparkle.

$10 and under: 

New Year’s morning (er, or brunch time): Eggs Benedict, anyone? Silicone Poach Pods or Casabella Poach n’ Serve cups (2/$9.99) make “perfect” poached eggs, according to Kelsea McNutt at Hartwick’s in Fifth Street Public Market. Formaticum Cheese Paper ($9.99) — “because cheese is alive” — might come in handy to preserve what’s left at the first party for the second. Themed snowman and gingerbread spatulas from Tivolo’s Spatulart line ($8.99), or for the more fashionable among us, Tango Spatulas ($7.99 each), will liven things up a bit, as will Casabella Sparkle Sponges (no, that’s not stray tinsel caught in the sponge) at 2/$2.99). A Chef’n Guillotine-style “Slicester” cheese slicer, at $9.99 (at both Cook’s Pots and Tabletops, 2807 Oak St., and Hartwick’s), would definitely come in handy, as would Hutzler Savers, which come in bright plastic shapes (yellow pepper, onion, lemons, limes, tomatoes) and are only $4.99 at both Hartwick’s and Cook’s Pots and Tabletops) — useful AND attractive, never a bad thing in a gift. 

$40 and under: 

For those chefs fortunate enough to already have the stand mixer (who’s dwelling? Not me), Hartwick’s suggests the “Whisk-a-Bowl” blade attachment, for meringues and buttercreams to die for ($40). Or, with a patented silicone surrounding, the Beater Blade ($25.95) even scrapes the sides of the bowl (this is like having extra help in the kitchen, except it doesn’t distract you and drink your wine). 

After he or she makes the bread, your favorite cook can bake it in a festive red ceramic Fiesta loaf pan ($35.95) from Homer Laughlin, made in West Virginia. If you don’t know this already: Down To Earth (with locations at 532 Olive St. and 2498 Willamette St.) has a large selection of pieces in a dazzling array of colors, as well as a Fiesta Club Card (spend $100 and receive $10 off your next purchase). As Fiesta is “one of the most collected china products in the world,” with 50 items in its product line, this gift, if successful, is an investment in future stress-free shopping for you.

For encouraging kiddos to have fun with food, Hartwick’s also has Constructive Eating’s brightly colored dishwasher-safe plate ($14.99), which turns dinner into a construction zone — and coordinating adorable bulldozer spoon, fork and “pushers” at $5.99 each. 

A dozen Buffet Collection oversize dinner napkins — in a wide range of colors — can be had for only $25 at Cook’s Pots and Tabletops, which is quite a deal — and they feel good on your mouth, not scratchy or just plain icky like some of those polyester-blend napkins out there. And they launder beautifully too, so party away.

The Cheese Knife, made to cut soft cheeses (and sticky things like brownies and angel food cake, butter and hard-boiled eggs) has a story: It was created in the early 1940s by engineer Harold Joseph Fairchild and was designed specifically to cut his favorite cheese, Velveeta, so that it would not stick to the knife. Fairchild designed military devices for the U.S. during WWII. The small version is $17.99; the larger one is $24.99.

It might be a little late in the game to have this under the tree, but The Christmas Table, by Portland resident Diane Morgen, contains beautiful illustrations and holiday recipes (including suggestions for making holiday food gifts) and is $19.95 at Cook’s Pots and Tabletops.

$100 and under: 

Made in Denmark, ScanPan ceramic titanium cookware is the gold standard in advanced cookware technology — professional weight cookware with nonstick qualities (and no scary Teflon). At Cook’s Pots and Tabletops, the 8” classic fry pan is a deal at $49.95. The roaster (never a fun thing to clean after a feast) with rack and a variety of fry and sauté pans, saucepans and pots all carry a lifetime warranty and come with a green technology stamp. Cook’s Pots is also offering some great deals on All-Clad cookware, including a 12” skillet with lid for $99.99 and $50 off 1.5 and 3.5 quart saucepans.

Kathy Campbell and Keith Ellis at Cook’s Pots and Tabletops are especially proud of the Emile Henry ceramic glazed flame proof Pizza Stone ($49.95) — a hot item this year, it can be used for pizza (even in a barbecue) but also as a griddle right on the stovetop for pancakes — and they suggested it to the American reps. “It made us feel good that this international company was willing to listen to folks in Eugene, Oregon,” Campbell says. And it comes in really cool colors — including fig and olive (the olive looks amazing with a pizza on it, Ellis says).

At $59.95, Kyocera’s special edition pink ceramic knife and peeler set is a gift that does good — Kyocera and Cook’s Pots and Tabletops each donate $10 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for every one purchased. “For prepping it’s a dream,” says Campbell. The knife stays sharp for seven years. Kyocera also makes a paring knife “in every color imaginable” for $29.95.

All stores offer gift certificates, and both Cook’s Pots and Tabletops and Hartwick’s offer classes.