Frantically trying to find a last-minute gift for the food-lover(s) in your life? As I think back through my past year in home-cooking, three great gifts come to mind. And, yes, they’re as easy as A-B-C.
A is for Acme Farms + Kitchen, and their “Locavore Boxes.” I recently tried out one of the large locavore boxes ($95 and up), which comes with recipes and ingredients (you’ll just need a few of your own cupboard staples) to prepare five delicious meals. Each of these meals was more than enough to feed two people; as a bonus, some generated leftovers for several lunches. The best part, compared to some similar companies, is that Acme Farms + Kitchen is based in Bellingham. Dairy, seafood, meats and more came from local sources and were of highest quality. If large is too much of a commitment, you can go small, or even try out specialty items such as the “Holiday Brunch Box.”
B is for Bean Box. This Seattle-based company works with local, small-batch independent coffee bean roasters and pulls together a variety of beans that you can order via subscription service. Most amazing is that they ship within 48 hours of roasting, so you’ll receive your beans at optimal time for freshness and flavor. Early this year, I tried the “Bean Box Sampler,” which comes with a half-pound of freshly roasted whole bean coffee, tasting notes, roaster profiles, brewing tips and an artisan chocolate. The sampler is fun because of the surprise of what’s in it, providing an introduction to new roasters and their beans. Of course, as you get to know what you like, you can order specific beans. They’ll come to your door fresher than you can find them at your favorite stores—and in many cases, you’d otherwise have to go directly to the roaster to get them.
C is for ChefSteps. Also based in Seattle, ChefSteps was founded by Modernist Cuisine alumni and has a mission to help people cook smarter and more confidently. To do so, they offer recipes, online classes (the coffee-brewing class is especially interesting), and other resources (they just developed Joule, a sous vide immersion circulator) that are available through their website. The ChefSteps community continues to grow, and through January 15 there’s a special offer of Premium membership for $19 which provides unlimited lifetime access to all of their in-depth classes—plus any future Premium recipes, classes and special offers.