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December 10, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Holiday gift baskets: the low-key version

If you’re the kind of gift giver that likes to fill baskets with fussy foodstuffs, bring it on! I mean, who wouldn’t want a giftable gourmet-basket filled with, say, Salumi’s salami, Boat Street Pickles and Fran’s Chocolates? But there’s another kind of themed gift basket that doesn’t cost a lot, is fun to pull together and speaks directly to the interests of the person you’re gifting it to. To illustrate my point, I went into my kitchen this morning to offer up a few ideas, like this one:

That’s what I call the “Bar Snack Basket.” As you can see, it features some of Trader Joe’s finest (I love those Pretzel Slims), good old Planters Cocktail Peanuts and some rice crackers from the Asian snack-aisle at Shoreline Central Market. You don’t need to throw in the cocktail book, but you get the drift.

Have you got a friend who loves to cook Asian food? Check this out:

And what about the Italian food-lover on you list? You can go the somewhat more expensive route (note: the home-canned peppers are a special touch). . .

Or go for the bargain version:

As I mentioned, the cookbook is totally unnecessary. You could also put together a basket that includes one of your favorite recipes, either handwritten (sweet) or typed (more practical). Because she adores my homemade dinner rolls, last year I gave my friend Krystle a holiday basket filled with the ingredients for the rolls (flour, buttermilk powder, yeast, etc.) along with the recipe and a muffin tin. She loved it! This year, I’m thinking about giving a basket to her dad, who’s been on a low-meat-protein diet and recently chatted me up about ideas for whole grain meals. That basket might look something like this:

Well, that’s my holiday tip for the day, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention gifting family members with Grandma’s sugar cookie recipe plus the goodies to make it with (add Silpat silicone mat); Mom’s Caesar salad recipe (balsamico, olive oil, a hunk of parm, can of anchovies, homemade croutons, a lemon). And if anybody has any other ideas about food-focused gift baskets, feel free to give a shout right here. Santa’s elves are all ears.

Comments | More in Food products and kitchen gear, Holidays

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