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.

10. Dough-Nu-Matic Automatic Dougnut Machine


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.

9. Aerogarden Elite Garden


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.

8. Peanut Butter of the Month Club


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!

7. Creme Brûlée Torch


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!

6. Sparking Water Maker


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…

5. Gourmet Hot Chocolate Pot


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.

3. Gourmet Whip Quart


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.

2. Fakircook


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!

1. Jamon Iberico de Bellota


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

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  • miked. December 15, 2008  

    #2 looks a lot like a medieval torture instrument

  • gansie December 15, 2008  

    i’m asking for a mini blow torch this year.
    you can kiss my ass. it will be amazing!

  • disgruntled GF (the return) December 15, 2008  

    O! Maybe I’m getting # 9 for the holy-days. That would explain the gardening gloves I got for my birthday. So sweet how the bf played this elaborate hoax on me… had me thinking he totally cheated me out of a real birthday gift when all the while he was saving his pennies up to buy me a brand new Aerogarden Elite. Aw.

  • Yvo December 15, 2008  

    HAHAHA @ the disgruntled GF… I am asking for an Aerogarden (the mini one though, I live in an apt, come on now) 🙂 instead of the bracelet BF has been hinting he is buying me.
    Is it wrong that I looked at the first one and thought, “What, not everyone has this already?” jk, I actually was reminded of this book I read as a kid about a boy who invents an automatic doughnut machine but it won’t turn off… or something… I think his name was Homer. *shrug* (No relation to Simpson, I promise) The colors on it make me think KRISPY KREME… nom nom nom

  • housemate of disgruntled GF December 15, 2008  

    won’t need those gardening gloves if you have the aerogarden–the perfect decoy.

  • miked. December 15, 2008  

    it’s like when homer goes to hell and Flanders, the devil, straps him to a machine that continually feeds him doughnuts. This is supposed to be the ultimate punishment, but it’s heaven for Homer and the devil is foiled.

  • Very Very Good Girl December 15, 2008  

    First, I’m actually getting ready to google the sparkling water machine as a last minute gift for the ‘rents who buy it by the case load for themselves. Now I’ve looked at jamon serrano in the past but it was a little pricey for my budget. My dad loved it so much when he visited me in Spain years ago that he bought a couple pounds, but being the father of very very good girl he didn’t have the nerve to sneak it through the during the mad cow craze…. so he ate as much as possible going through customs and threw away the rest.

  • paoix December 16, 2008  

    but jamon iberico tastes so good! 🙂 maybe we can split one hehe

  • Cooking Dad December 16, 2008  

    I think I just found a few items to add to my wish list!

  • Liza December 16, 2008  

    Ok I’m officially insulted – sparking water is the most amazing thing ever created – it’s like the reason I like a pop (no I don’t say soda) and beer – it’s all about the bubbles!!! Chugging bubbles is the best, hands down.

  • Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. December 16, 2008  

    Very nice! Gourmet Whip Quart is my favorite, but it’s for the best if I don’t get near those things. A drink would be nice, anytime.

  • Nick December 16, 2008  

    Is it just me or does the blue flame coming out of that blow torch look VERY photoshopped?

    It looks more like Jedi Lightsaber brulee maker.


  • earlgreyrooibos December 16, 2008  

    I want #9. omg, I want #9.

    We got a creme brulee set for our wedding, and I love having the blowtorch around. Yeah, it’s kidna frivolous, but I actually do manage to put it to use.

  • Megan December 16, 2008  

    Ok, I won’t lie. It’s frivolous, but I really want an Aerogarden. I think my life would be significantly improved by having fresh basil right there whenever I need it!

    Also, the Bialetti hot chocolate maker is at Williams-Sonoma for $99.99 but currently on sale for $79.99, and I’m seriously thinking of getting it!

  • gansie December 16, 2008  

    tell me some of your additional uses for the torch

  • JoeHoya December 16, 2008  

    We got a creme brulee torch for our wedding (we registered for it), but I have to admit we’ve never actually used it yet. I could see using it to crisp the tops of mashed potatoes (a la twice-baked), to brown and melt shredded cheese atop French onion soup, or even to make a crispy caramelized candy shell (oh wait – that’s a creme brulee).

    And apparently I’m a bad foodie, but I really don’t think jamon iberico (de bellota or otherwise) tastes significantly better than good quality prosciutto. For the money, I’d rather buy four ounces of prosciutto than one ounce of iberico.

  • Bev December 16, 2008  

    Too funny!

  • foodsurprises December 17, 2008  

    #4 is the best thing ever!

  • HoneyB December 17, 2008  

    LOL, HEY! I want that creme brule torch!

  • Kimberly December 17, 2008  

    I actually have some of those presents already! I must admit I would be spending a fortune on fresh veggies and herbs if it was not for my Aerogarden! HIGHLY recommend that one!

  • Gera December 17, 2008  


    So funny for me the #2 looks frightening and #7 is a great toy for Creme Brulee – one of my favorite desserts!

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  • Hugging the Coast December 17, 2008  

    I want #9 (the jamon iberico)…badly!

  • Yvo December 18, 2008  

    @ Megan – I grow basil on my windowsill, and I don’t get a lot of direct sun or anything. I just want the AeroGarden for some damn tomatoes that don’t cost me an arm and a leg.
    @ Very Very Good Girl – but… jamon is pork, not cow?

  • Orson1 December 18, 2008  

    Forget about the mini-torches they’re mostly made of plastic and don’t last long. Better solution: a propane canister and brass torch tip. Rugged, simple, and bad ass compared to some over-sized cigarette lighter.

  • Dave December 18, 2008  

    Creme brûlée my butt! Ive had one of those for years that I use for lighting my cigars. 🙂

  • Yvo December 19, 2008  
  • Heidi / Savory Tv December 19, 2008  

    A few of those are over the top but I love the aero garden! And owning a creme brûlée torch automatically promotes you to the status of a true epicure 🙂

  • dcm December 23, 2008  

    Yvo, you’re thinking of the character “Homer Price”. Check out for more information, including the ISBNs of the two possible books that story is in. (I have both books and can never remember which book has which stories).

  • Juliet January 7, 2009  

    Yikes – the Fakircook looks like a torture device! Great post.

  • dad gansie December 16, 2009  

    Gansie was lucky….. She did get the tourch and no fire alarms set either

  • MonkeyBoy December 16, 2009  

    Got an aerogarden a month ago and love it. Can’t wait to do Thai basil and some other stuff that’s hard to find here in VA

  • erica December 18, 2009  

    i bought myself a (less fancy) seltzer maker for my b-day… it has saved me lots of money over time, and trips to the store (first to buy, then to return for the .$05)… and wasted bottles…

    AND it keeps me off the sugary stuff most of the time,
    AND it makes this awesome spaceship airlock noise after you carbonate the water,
    AND the bottles are BPA free,
    AND the liquid hasn’t been transported miles and miles to me in bottles it has sat in for ages in plastic,
    AND there’s no additives like in commercial selzer,
    AND a big retarded company such as pepsi or coke doesn’t profit from it,
    AND oh yea, instant mixer at any time.

    i could go on but feel my work here is done.

  • Athryn December 23, 2009  

    I actually got #6 in October (the $100 version.) We calculated it out and figured that even figuring in the cost of the cartidges, it averages out to be cheaper than buying a case of sparkling water a week, which is what I was doing before. Plus, no mountains of plastic bottles! Get it from the manufacturer (Sodaclub) vs Williams Sonoma, they have a stupidly wicked markup on them!

  • BS's Mom January 1, 2010  

    Well, I got the Aero Garden too. It is now shining brightly 17 hours a day – no need for a nightlight anywhere. Can’t wait for the herbs to sprout. Thanks son – not BS.

  • Big Size Women Shoes November 22, 2014  

    That plant thing is awesome.

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