Gift Guide: For Gluten-Free Cooks and Eaters
Our gift-guide marathon continues. Don't know any gluten-free folk? Try our full complement of lists. —Ed.
Cold air is creeping along the edges of the window I am sitting in front of as I type this. In the other room, the crackling fire beckons. And tomorrow morning, I'm making another batch of cinnamon rolls.
It must be near the holidays.
If you know some gluten-free folks who love food and are wondering what to get for them? You might like some of these ideas.
(And by the way, for the most part, anyone who likes food would like this gifts. We gf people are not so different from you.)
Il Macchiaiolo Rice Gigli Pasta
This rice pasta from Italy is simply the best packaged gluten-free pasta I have ever tasted. Delicate, so it doesn't taste like cardboard held together with wallpaper paste, yet strong enough to stand boiling water for a few moments, Il Macchiaiolo is just great pasta. It's pricey, with the importing, so a bag or two of these under the tree would be very much appreciated. Available on Amazon or directly from Ritrovo importers.
OK, you may be thinking, really? Oats? What kind of present is that? A good one for folks who are gluten-free, particularly those who are relatively new to this. Without oats that have been certified grown in gluten-free fields and processed in a gluten-free factory, there are no warm bowls of oatmeal, homemade granola bars, or oatmeal cookies. Again, these bags are more expensive oats. I'm sure they would be much appreciated.
Gluten-free oats are available on Amazon and many major grocery stores now.
(And if you want to whip up a batch of gluten-free oatmeal cookies to go with the oats, here is a recipe.)
Rancho Gordo Beans
Great ingredients make great meals. Beans are naturally gluten-free. Rancho Gordo are the best eating beans available today. Therefore, you should buy some for your gluten-free friends, to remind them that great food does not have to contain gluten.
If you are just learning to cook or you want to reinvigorate your time in the kitchen, you need a good knife. You need a sharp knife that will slice through onions so quickly that you won't feel like making all your meals from scratch is a drudgery.
The Flavor Bible
As much as I love recipes, I also love the confidence that comes from having good technique under my knife and a knowledge of what flavors mingle well in a meal. Knowing how to braise meat and potatoes or sear Alaskan salmon until it's cooked rare? That's just from experience.
But knowing the flavors that marry well with others or that dislike an entire set of herbs? That's all in The Flavor Bible. This book is invaluable for anyone who wants to play with his food.
The Flavor Bible is sold in almost any bookstore.
Pomegranate Molasses (or Other Fabulous Ingredients)
When you first find you have to be gluten-free, you are shocked at all the familiar foods that disappear from your eating rotation. Why not help people see how many foods are out there for them to eat? A small bottle of pomegranate molasses, some ume plum vinegar, a hunk of palm sugar? These thoughtful gifts could enliven many a meal.
The Allergen-Friendly Baker's Handbook
Many folks who cannot eat gluten also have to avoid another food. Dairy is a big one. Soy is another. Some of us have to avoid gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.
Someone new to this list always asks the same question: What do you eat?
How about cinnamon rolls, Linzer cookies, gingerbread muffins, and chocolate birthday cake?
This is a lovely book, filled with recipes that work, without too many complicated ingredients, and lavish photographs. Looks to me like everyone can be happy.
The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook will be published on December 22.
One annoying thing about baking gluten-free is the dozen tiny little bags spilling starches on your counter. I never remember to save rubber bands, so some of the bags are just tightly wound, then slowly open in the cupboard. Little clips get lost sometimes.
OK, food containers may seem like a boring gift. But for gluten-free bakers? This would be quite the Christmas morning surprise.
I can't eat gluten, but I still love looking at the antics of Cuppie the Cupcake. Jessie Oleson, who goes by the name of Cakespy, both on her website and here on Serious Eats, is a genius. A sweet, sweet genius. Her darling cards, T-shirts, and cupcake accessories make me drool. This is as close to the real thing as I'm ever going to get.
You can find Cakespy at her BigCartel shop.
You should also look at the cards and art of the incredibly talented and wonderfully whimsical Jeannette Ordas, who goes by the name of Kickpleat, at her Etsy shop. She designed the card you see at the top of this list.
Finally, I heard that a woman wrote a food memoir, Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too, full of funny stories and good recipes, for people who have to be gluten-free, or just people who like food.
You could check it out, if you want.