Part 1 - The Trouble With Christmas Shopping
I'm not a big shopper, that is, I don't do much browsing. Well, I do in bookstores, but you already knew that. I'm just saying that I go shopping when I need to buy something, I walk in, pick it up and pay for it and that's the end of it. When a new season arrives, I go to a bunch of stores/websites, buy my child's clothing for the next 6 months and I'm done. Thus, the necessity of shopping, of browsing, for gifts for people for whom I'm not sure what to get, well it gets tricky for me. Mostly because I'm really good at finding things I'd like for myself.
Take, for example, the cool local craft show I attended recently. Every few years I'll make handmade gifts (hand-stamped stationary, jewelery, chocolate truffles, embroidered items) but it's a little late for that now. I figured the next best thing was supporting local crafters. See that cool bag with the gray and blue and red ribbon around it? Yep, that's mine now. I can't wait to use it this Spring. These folks make some terrific smelling soaps and bath salts - I threw a bar in for me. Here are some cute gifts for babies - fortunately I didn't need one myself. Look at these crazy cute animals - my little one is getting a gingerbread girl tree ornament - they look to be all gone. Then there is my new pin bought alongside my daughters new hair clip, my new chocolate lip balm...you get the picture.
I went to my favorite local gift shop, full of things you never knew you needed, and found these fantastic mugs. There is a cute red bird on the other side. I thought these would be great for my sisters....but wouldn't it be fun if we each had the same one? Of course it would. And it sort of matches my new bag, no? The thing is, I always tell people 'don't get me anything!'. What they don't realize is, I've already done it for them.
Part 2 - Why I Love Nigel Slater (again)
The 30-Minute Cook by Nigel Slater arrived the other day. I bought it from Abebooks for about 5 dollars. I just cannot get enough of this man's writing. I have three of his books on my nightstand right now. Really. I wish I could have all of his food knowledge and ideas inside my head or at the very least eat at his table for the next month. Here are my favorite 'Nigelisms' from this book:
"Chinese cooking is a doddle. Unless, of course, you take it very seriously."
"Hooray for the salsa."
"..avoid any chilli sauce made in Vietnam. If you value your tastebuds and sinuses, that is."
On coconut milk:
"You can use fresh coconut. If you have all day. You can use desiccated coconut. If you're desperate."
On coriander (cilantro for those of us in the US):
"After initially thinking it tasted of washing-up liquid I became addicted to the stuff."
"I had become a bit bored with broccoli."
I love this man. I'd love to watch him cook but don't think he's ever been on US television.
Sorry for such a disjointed post, I've been reading but haven't finished anything. I spent most of yesterday sitting in a house with a broken furnace waiting for repair. It was 52 degrees in the house and about 8 degrees outside. The only good news is, it wasn't the house I live in. There will be lots of crafting here this weekend, tonight there is an event at my daughter's school and tomorrow we'll be building a gingerbread house at her old preschool. Have a great weekend!