For Chocolate Lovers only  

Three Last-Minute Gift Ideas:

Slow Food,
I’ve been a Slow Food member for some years now. This organization, started in Italy in 1986 and now worldwide, is dedicated to bringing the leisure and pleasure back to eating. If that’s not a worthy goal, I don’t know what is. There’s more to Slow Food than just that, however; through the group’s Ark of Taste, forgotten flavors are being rediscovered and publicized---everything from yak milk cheeses indigenous to the Russian Federation to the traditional English alcoholic drink “perry” to Vermont’s Gilfeather turnip. As a natural follow-through to the Ark, Slow Food is an enthusiastic supporter of biodiversity, which we’re sorely lacking in our food supply. To top it all off, the various chapters, or convivia, host events throughout the year, many of which are well worth attending. I just went to an all-bird barbecue at a quail farm half an hour from my place I hadn’t even known existed. Lots of delicious barbecued bird, but also wonderful and enormous salads, desserts, wines, soda, a hayride, and  good company. Take a look at the website for more information. A great group to support.

Tabby’s Place,
Does the sound of a purr make your day? Is a fur-laden couch or chair merely a sign that you’re providing a properly comfortable environment for your best friend? If you’re a cat-lover like I am, you understand that there are altogether too many abandoned and/or stray felines in this world. Tabby’s Place can’t save them all, but they’re doing their best to rescue as many as possible. Most of the cats at this limited-admission facility were scheduled for euthanasia at shelters or vet’s offices. Once Tabby’s Place takes them in, however, they have a home for as long as they need one, even if it’s for life. The goal here is to adopt each cat to a loving home; until that happens, the cats live in spacious “suites” with cubbyholes, toys, blankets and towels to snooze on, and a staff and volunteers who truly love them. I’ve been to Tabby’s Place and have seen first-hand the care lavished upon these once-neglected felines. A donation in honor of a cat-loving friend would make a beautiful holiday gift.

Cupboard Love,
Know someone who loves words and odd facts as much as they do food? If so, consider Cupboard Love, by Mark Morton (Insomniac Press, 2004), described aptly as “a dictionary of culinary curiosities”. Did you know that caviar was given away in American saloons in the 1800’s as bar food to promote beer consumption, for instance? Or that nectarines are so similar to peaches that botanists have been unable to determine which came first? Or that “roquefort” was derived from the Old French terms for “strong rock”? You never know what you’ll find in these pages, and Mr. Morton’s offbeat sense of humor combines with some pretty thorough research to provide a great read.


Related Links:
  • Holiday Baking
  • Gingerbread Workshop