December 18, 2011

A Quirky Bookworm's Gift Guide (Part 3)

First things first, the winner of last Sunday's giveaway is: commenter #8, Angi Christiansen who still needs a gift for her husband. Maybe he'll like A Good Hanging, the prize she won? Congratulations Angi, and thanks to everyone who entered!

(Did you miss parts one and two of my gift guide? Catch up here and here.)
Now, onto the gift-giving!

Got that impossible-to-buy for person haunting you? Tired of buying them things you're pretty sure that they just return?

How about an edible gift? Cookies are always loved, or people go crazy for homemade peppermint bark. My friend Meghan made white chocolate and peppermint covered Oreos -- incredibly easy, but also pretty and delicious. In past years I've given these addicting crackers and molasses cookies as gifts and my recipe for gingerbread is easy-peasy and always well-received.

Or, if baking is not your favorite thing to do, you could buy them Miette: Recipes from San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop, and let them bake their own food!

Meg Ray, the chef and owner of the pastry shop Miette, has gathered the secrets of her many delectable baked goods into this eponymous cookbook. Every detail of Miette--from its scalloped pages to its pastel colors to its beautiful photographs of luscious baked goods--will charm experienced and novice bakers alike.

Ray explains how to make items as diverse as Lemon Debutante Cake, Chocolate Truffle Tarts and Caramel Corn. Some of the recipes are complicated, with several pages of detailed instructions, while others are simple and require only a few ingredients. The results, though, are all beautiful, combining irresistible flavors with Miette's trademark dainty charm. Each recipe offers both measurements and weights for the ingredients, and a short note explaining how it was developed, allowing the reader to glimpse the behind the scenes work at the pastry shop, and providing alternate options for precise, careful baking to re-create its most popular recipes.*

Looking for that perfect little something for the bibliophile in your life?

The Literary Gift Company has some of the cutest stuff I've ever seen -- jewelry, notebooks, tote bags, mugs, and apparel that are all book themed! I wish I had a jillion dollars to spend there. I have a serious crush on that Agatha Christie typewriter pin.

My grandparents are notoriously hard to buy for, because they have everything they need or want. Are yours the same way?

A few years ago my siblings and I started donating to World Vision in their name. A gift as small as $25 can give a child access to clean water, provide two chickens (and countless eggs) to a family in need, or give a woman in Afghanistan access to maternal care. My husband and I have supported World Vision for years, and every year we give a little bit more to charities like them at Christmas, and a little bit less to ourselves. My grandparents love that we give the gift in their name, and I like knowing that we've made a huge difference in someone's life, rather than just spending dollars in some big box store.

Today's my birthday! We'll celebrate just the three of us this afternoon, and then tonight we're going to look at Christmas lights with friends. What are you doing today? Last minute shopping?

*This review was originally written for Shelf Awareness and appeared there on 11/22/11.