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The Value Guru Confronts the Grinch

By Susannah Simone, December 16, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Susannah Simone
Panettone I'm a terrible shopper. Clothes. Household goods. Gifts. Even when it comes to food, despite all my good "guru" advice, I buy more than I need, struggle to carry it all home on my bicycle, struggle again to fit it in my fridge and cabinet and then struggle to use up all the so-beautiful-I-can't-resist fresh veggies before they've given up all their nutrients. Fortunately, I'm a creative cook and do manage to let very very little go to waste, but back to gifts... Maybe it's my humble beginnings, or my grandparent's humble beginnings or just the Grinch in me; I can't stand the thought of a pointless gift. Nor can I stand the thought of a low-quality gift…some plastic thing that makes someone laugh or smile for about 2 seconds then gets forgotten for 5 years in a drawer somewhere until it gets tossed. Don't get me wrong; being a food lover, I am perfectly fine with the temporary satisfaction of something that tastes amazing. I just believe it really should be amazing and memorable if it's going to be temporary. Food, therefore is often my gift solution. Pates-de-FruitsFirst, my terrible shopper steps in with big, unrealistic ideas. I want to give everyone I know a plane ticket to Malta to eat the simple, incredible bread and cheese meal I had there once. Or I'd like to fly my entire family to one beautiful spot where we'd prepare and share a meal all together. Is there a way to prepare all the small bites recipes I worked on for The Whole Deal and send them a selection? Probably not. Darn. Instead, I build boxes and baskets of food tailored to the recipients. They know how much I love food and I hope that means they feel the love from me through the food to them. Homemade food-and bodycare-gifts are fun. Many cookie recipes will ship okay if packed carefully. You can even make homemade crackers and top with an interesting salt. Homemade gifts are always well received, but what I really love is to shop for all the wonderful, indulgent and rare treats and condiments that come to the store for the harvest and holiday seasons. In my work, by this time of year, I've been hearing about and seeing these things for months and months before the holiday season, sometimes I even get to taste them. And then, finally, everything is in the store and I have fun picking out the holiday goodies, special jams and chocolates, olive oils and vinegars, crackers and brittles. (My favorite is our Panettone... OMG!) Roasted-WalnutsIf you think I'm just a grocery store dork and food is an odd gift, then make it something more. Add a gift card, that's simple and who wouldn't want one? Or, one year I sent everyone bottles and jars of my favorite condiments along with vegetable steamers and a little homemade booklet of ideas and recipes for enjoying steamed veggies. And this year my mother-who doesn't enjoy cooking-may get condiments from me, too. I'll add a food storage system and-here's the real love-a promise from me that I'll make extra when I cook freezable meals on the weekends so I can share a few frozen servings with her. So, while I'm truly a grinch when it comes to silly nonsense gifts, I have a big heart when it comes to food and the pennies I've been saving for gift-giving season are lovingly spent on something I can believe in…good food. If you've got time right now-congrats if you do-share your food gift solutions. I'm sure plenty of folks are starting to get desperate for gift ideas.




LISA says ...
12/16/2009 10:29:15 AM CST
Margo says ...
I remember the year I made homemade bread to give away. Sometimes I think we get tired of sweet things during this time of year, so bread seemed just right. It was well received, so I was pleased. Just be sure not to make the same mistake I did. That green colored cellophane looked so pretty at the store. Green is a BAD color to wrap bread in. Try to picture it and you'll have visions of fresh bread that suddenly looks moldy. To be more green, I think fabric bags might be better if I ever give that gift again. Happy Gift Giving!
12/16/2009 1:41:47 PM CST
Olivia Bevan says ...
I agree with you whole heartedly. I LOVE receiving food, especially if it's unusual or perhaps something I wouldn't normally purchase myself. I remember the first time a friend bought me some striped pasta. It seemed such a creative gift and tasted delicious...it also inspired my future gift giving. And because the shopping experience at Whole Foods is so enjoyable, it's the one place where I look forward to doing my Christmas shopping. Happy holidays!
12/16/2009 5:12:04 PM CST
Value Guru's Mother says ...
I am awed by my gift. Our guru is an amazing cook and I am so delighted she took my wishful holiday thinking of a gift and has promised the reality. Maybe she'll share some of her creations and my temptations this coming year.
12/21/2009 6:06:48 PM CST
greg y. says ...
Whole Foods pannetone (in the brown/white box) is one of the best i've ever tasted and that includes the stuff i sample in Italy on a semi-regular basis. a great value for the price, buy it within a week or so of its holiday arrival - it's at its moistest, freshest, with that vanilla/citron tang and dense, chewy mouthfeel.
12/11/2010 1:57:54 PM CST
Kevina Munnich says ...
Trying to find a source for candied citron (to be eaten/used in cooking)
11/06/2011 12:31:44 PM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Kevina To learn if your community Whole Foods Market sells the candied citron I encourage you to reach out to them directly. Each of our stores sources their products a little differently. The link below will help to identify the contact information for your store where a Team Member will be happy to let you know if they stock the candied citron. Happy hunting! www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores
11/07/2011 5:40:51 PM CST