Are you struggling to think of a great Christmas present for the keen cook or gourmet in your life? Here are some ideas for useful or interesting gifts with a foodie slant that they will be delighted to unwrap on the day.
Do you know someone addicted to Bake Off? Of course you do, half the country is glued to the screen on a Tuesday evening. A History of British Baking by noted food historian Emma Kay will help put a little context around some of those more unusual bakes. From Roman ash cakes to gingerbread this is a fascinating hodge-podge of delicious anecdotes and recipes about the food which has delighted Britains for generations.
Tea towels are not boring! Do you know how many a keen cook needs –they double up as oven gloves and (clean of course) can be used to wrap that new-baked sourdough. We suggest a colourful tea towel commemorating the Greenham Common women’s protests of the 1980s-its design inspired by a peace collage onsite. In fact if you are feeling generous add in the matching mug–what cook does not want to down tools for a cuppa now and then.
Something a little more serious? Then how about A Dark History of Tea. It may be our national drink but its history has not been all tea and crumpets. From early infusions used in burial rituals to examining the exploitative history of slavery and opium smuggling tied so closely to the early tea trade this history will make you think hard about the back story of this most commonplace of beverages.
Food is very much for sharing and at this time when visiting friends and family is not so easy how about taking some time to put together a collection of treasured family recipes to share with a fellow cook. Cooking Up Memoriesis a notebook structured to collect your food memories and family favourites. You can fill this in yourself and hand it on or perhaps give a blank copy to that talented aunt or uncle whose recipes you have always converted in the hope that they might fill it in and hand it back ?
Finally can we recommend anything by Annie Grey-our absolute favourite food historian? Her books are tremendously readable and they include authentic recipes with notes on how these can be adapted to the modern taste -what more can you ask for? A Greedy Queenis a delightful look at Queen Victoria from the perspective of the table. A trencher woman Victoria loved her food and was an adventurous eater being an early fan of curries. Did you know that the table was cleared as soon as the queen finished? As she was served first and ate fast this could result in guests barely having a chance to pick up their spoon before their dish was whisked away to make room for the next course –a practice causing despair and stomach grumblings amongst those who shared the royal table.
Annie’s latest book Victory in the Kitchenis on Georgina Landemare cook to Winston Churchill, pair this with a facsimile edition of Georgina’s own cookbookwhich contains 300 recipes which she cooked from the Churchill family.
Something to chew on whilst you compile your Christmas list? We hope this gives you some ideas you will find helpful.