The Top 10 Most Outrageous Holiday Gifts for Foodies
I’m sick and tired of reading about ideas for recession-era holiday gifts. We have one little global financial meltdown and all of a sudden we’re all supposed to do our Christmas shopping at Family Dollar? I don’t think so. This is Christmas! The season of greed and gluttony! The time for Americans to dig ourselves into a financial, spiritual, and health hole so deep that it lasts until Spring. Christmas is no time to start cutting up our credit cards and pulling ourselves out of this financial mess.
The “experts” keep telling us we’re in this recession thing for the long haul, so what harm could one more season of unnecessary overspending do? In that heartwarming holiday spirit, may we present the Top 10 Most Outrageous Holiday Gifts for Foodies, celebrating the best in kitchen presents that are insanely overpriced, shamelessly unitasking, and utterly, completely necessary.
I love America’s favorite fried cake treat as much as the next staunch patriot, but donuts fall firmly into the category of things we should not be allowed to make at home. Especially in a gizmo that “automatically forms, fries and drains delectable mini-doughnuts in just 50 seconds!” This is just not right. I am envisioning a dark future in which a nation of 1,000-pound Americans never leave home, unable to lure themselves away from the glazed goodness that is automatically shot into our mouths every 50 seconds. Also, I really want one of these.
I want to be a good locavore, I really do. It would be so great to have fresh basil and lettuce and tomatoes all growing in my backyard. But it all sounds so…dirty. Not anymore. This do-it-yourself (but don’t do much) kit comes complete with a ready-to-go package of seeds, is automatically set to adjust for the most appropriate lighting, and doesn’t even require soil (WTF? How?) It even alerts you when your plants need to be watered. Good luck explaining to the DEA officer that it really is oregano.
OK, so January is creamy, February is chunky, but what comes after that? I’m really not sure, but if peanut butter is the next thing we’re supposed to get food-snobby about, count me in! This gift features 12 “limited-production, specialty-flavored peanut butters from boutique peanut butter producers nationwide.” Who knew there was even such a thing as a “boutique peanut butter producer?!” For the low-low price of $215, you can spend the whole year telling your friends that you’re really into raspberry white chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon currant peanut butter, or truffle foie gras peanut butter laced with PCP! OK, I made that last one up but the others are real. Amazing!
This has got to be one of the ultimate kitchen splurges – a fire-wielding utensil purchased exclusively because you could no longer take the thought of having to leave the house to eat crispy/creamy creme brûlée. You might think this one seems like a useless unitasker, but you won’t know for sure until you’ve tried torching everything in your kitchen with instant butane caramelized goodness. Carrots brûlée! Steak brûlée! Birthday cake brûlée! This is gonna be the best year ever!
Honestly, I don’t know what the allure of sparkling water is, but rich people order it at restaurants, so I want in! Now you can make this mythical rich-people water all by yourself at home, from plain old poor-people tap water! At just $200, this amazing invention requires no batteries, electricity, or additional ingredients. It’s almost as if it does nothing at all…hmmm…
There was a time when humans boiled all of their water — whether for coffee, tea, disinfectant, or wintertime bathing — in the same pot. That time is long past. You wouldn’t make coffee without your $1,500 espresso machine, and you wouldn’t brew tea without your fancy favorite little strainer thing, so don’t be get caught dead trying to make hot chocolate in anything as embarrassing as a saucepan or — gasp — the microwave. And why would you when for just $200 you can get this specially designed pot, uniquely crafted to blend cocoa shavings and milk to perfection? God, how do I even live without one of these?
4. A Drink
Let’s be honest, the one thing all us broke folks really want this holiday season is a stiff drink. We’d all love to go out and buy our friends and loved ones a round of brews to celebrate the season, but then we’d have to go outside, and – well – we’re stuck home eating donuts. That’s why Give Real is totally the best idea ever. From the magic of your home computer, you can buy your friend a drink. You can specify any amount, from Schlitz ($1) to Courvoisier and fresh lavender syrup ($99). The drink value is automatically added to your recipient’s credit card, and can be redeemed at any bar across this great land. Finally — flirting and alcoholism combined, without all that pesky leaving the house.
I have no idea how you would even begin to use one of these things, but they whip them out all the time on Top Chef, and they look so goddamn fancy finishing off a dish with foamed something-or-other. Buy me this, please, and I promise to foam every meal in 2009. Foamed breakfast cereal, foamed grilled cheese, foamed foam, here I come.
There’s nothing better than having a fancy new cooking tool that your guests can’t even begin to figure out what you do with (but they know it’s something goddamn gourmet). This newly-developed stainless steel device ensures meat and fish are cooked evenly and to perfection. Just heat the little spiky things over a gas flame, then turn it over and throw your steak on top. Only paupers still cook with ovens!
Sure, you could surprise your favorite foodie with a bacon-of-the-month club membership. But why do that when you can treat them to the food that makes bacon taste like saltines? This ultimate foodie feast comes from free-range pigs raised along the Spanish/Portuguese border and fed only acorns. Serving just a few slices of this three-year-cured meat would be enough to turn your tired Christmas or Hanukkah party (OK, mabye not Hanukkah) into the event of the season. And now, an entire leg of Jamon Iberico de Bellota can be shipped to you for just $1,400! Talk about a bargain.
Also on ES: Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for Foodies