When you can't for the life of you figure out what to give someone for the holidays, it's wise to turn to food. As long as you choose carefully, you probably can present food-related gifts to everyone on your list, and they will all be happy. Get started
with these foodie-approved
Replace your parents' crummy old salt and pepper shakers with sleek grinders. Freshly ground peppercorn and sea salt taste miles better than the pepper dust and fine-grain salt found in shakers, instantly amplifying everything from salad to pasta with a few twists of the wrist.
Peugeot has been making quality mills since 1842; they cost a little more, but the grinding mechanisms are guaranteed for life. Sur La Table sells a classically curvaceous, black lacquered pair ($44.95 each), while Williams-Sonoma carries a sleek cylindrical set in stainless steel Ñ which goes with any dŽcor ($65).
1102 N.W. Couch St.,
503-295-5968, and 638 S.W. Fifth Ave., 503-827-8383, respectively
Another essential for enthusiastic eaters is topnotch olive oil. Portland's own Olive Farm imports the lovely liquid from the family mill in Turkey; your best bet is a bottle of fruity extra virgin oil, which pairs terrifically with bread and noodles ($7 for 200 milliliter to $20 for 1 liter). Other enviable edibles such as Gemlik olives, dried apricots and pine honey, all from Turkey, also are available.
5120 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.,
Skip the bottle of wine for once, and give your friends who are always throwing parties a distinctive gift they'll remember and have fun using. Papa Haydn, popular for its outrageous confections, recently began packaging and selling a trio of dessert sauces: bittersweet chocolate, a velvety caramel that incorporates crme fra”che, and raspberry, which is made with Oregon berries ($7.95 per 12-ounce jar or $21.95 for a pack of all three).
Pour them over ice cream, drizzle atop a cake, or use as a dip for fresh fruit to elevate a humble dessert to a showstopper Ñ with zero effort.
Sold at both Papa Haydn restaurants: 5829 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-232-9440; 701 N.W. 23rd Ave., 503-228-7317
Know someone who religiously shops farmers markets, grows her own tomatoes, or, better yet, who's new to town? Hit her or him with 'Portland's Bounty: A Guide to Eating Locally and Seasonally in the Greater Portland and Vancouver Areas' ($8.50), an excellent resource for the sustainably minded.
Order the book directly from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, 503-736-0835; also available at New Seasons Markets, Made in Oregon, Powell's and other booksellers.