Gift Guide 2012

[This annual gift guide has become one of my favorite parts of Lottie + Doof. I really enjoy putting this together, and this year I had fun shooting all of these good things “on location” in our apartment. As always, these are all items that I own/use and can vouch for.]

Rhubarb Hops Syrup

Wisconsin’s Quince & Apple produce all sorts of beautiful products. This year I especially love this rhubarb and hops syrup that can be added to sparkling wine, or water to make a memorable refresher.

Gold Flatware

These feel right to me, right now. Lots of this. Modern. Gold.

Wilder Quarterly

There are a slew of new home/food publications out, and many more on the horizon. Some are great, and some seem to be sacrificing substance for style. Wilder manages to prioritize both style and substance and does them both well. They describe themselves as a publication for people “enthralled by the natural world”. It is a wonderful mix of growers, makers, plants, animals, ideas and recipes. There is an article on will-o-the-wisps and one on Julie Newmar’s garden in the current issue—nuf said.

This Geode

Or any geode, really. I can’t stop collecting rocks, crystal, geodes. They are everywhere in our apartment. Bryan is being very patient with me. But what a wonderful host gift! Skip the flowers and bring a beautiful hunk of sparkling crystals.

Do people still give each other music? I do. Hopefully you do, too. Three albums meant a lot to me this year:

The Idler Wheel…by Fiona Apple– Fiona is my girl. Always will be. This album was everything I wanted from her, after all of these years. Girl can sing. iIiiiiiiiIIIiiii just want to feeEEEeel everything.

Channel Orange by Frank Ocean– In the words of my friend Lukas: flawless.

Red by Taylor Swift– I do not like Taylor Swift ironically. I like her earnestly and completely. I have been listening to this album a lot since it was released.

McClure’s Potato Chips (Garlic Dill)

My dear friend Ashley came to pick me up for dinner one night with a bag of these chips in hand. She told me I would like them, and Ashley is always right. They may be the best pickle-flavored chips I have ever had. And I’m somewhat of an expert, being married to a Canadian.

Serving Platter

I’ve been on the lookout for a nice round serving platter that could be used for anything from pasta to salads and this one fit the bill perfectly. It has a graceful shape and a pretty glaze and gets along well with my white dishes.

Rookie Yearbook One

My love of Rookie knows no bounds. Honestly, it is my favorite website on the whole world wide web. Tavi Gevinson is my hero. It should then go without saying that I recommend you buy Rookie Yearbook One for someone you love. It is the best of the first year of Rookie and includes many of my favorite essays, stickers, and a paper crown.

Tarot Deck Candle

Scented with incense, Turkish rose, and pencil shavings! I mean, come on. It smells so good.

Thank You Notes by Suitor

Little known fact: Bryan is a greeting card hoarder. I have never seen anything like it. As a result, we have a large box full of cards waiting to go at all times. He is especially into thank you notes and we both agreed that these cards are among the best we have seen. And you know, after you receive all of these great gifts you need to send some thank you notes.


You gotta wrap the presents, yo!

(I got this beautiful spool from my friends at Asrai Garden.)

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater

There were a lot of beautiful cookbooks published this year. I wasn’t sure how to narrow it down for this list. But these books, from two of my favorite food writers, would make great gifts. Not just well written books, full of great recipes— they are beautiful objects.

Spicy Taralli by Crumb

I am addicted to these things. Taralli are crunchy little round bites of olive oil-enhanced goodness. One of the few foods worthy of the adjective “spicy” they have a great heat that slowly builds and burns. When you buy them at the market, you also get to say hello to one of Chicago’s friendliest bakers, Anne Kostroski.

Liquide Vaisselle by Astier de Villatte

Okay, so this one will require someone to go to Paris to shop (thanks, Sarah!). One of my favorite makers of ceramics has made my favorite dish soap and it is black pepper scented. Totally goth. Almost makes you want to do the dishes.

Maldon Sea Salt (mini tin)

This is the best stocking stuffer ever. Little tins of Maldon sea salt that can be slipped into your pocket or bag. Great for traveling around town or around the world.

Bourbon Barrel Smoked Sugar

You’ve had smoked salt, but have you tried smoked sugar? Use it in cocktails (would be great on the rim of this drink), desserts, even roasted vegetables!

Duvet Cover

I sometimes fall hard for bedding. There was a duvet I bought at Habitat in London in the 90’s that I used until it fell apart and I still hold onto it because I love the pattern so much. I hadn’t felt that way again until this beauty. It reminds of a pioneer woman’s skirt, or a California surfer cult, or maybe even Days of Heaven.

Copper Jam Pot by Mauviel

This is a splurge, for sure. I bought mine last summer and it has become one of my favorite possessions. I only make jam a few times a year, and so I was worried this was a foolish purchase. But it really enhances the experience of making jam in ways I can’t quite explain. There is something about using a tool that was designed for the task that is very satisfying. Also, the pot is a real looker. Mine is on display in my dining room and reminds me of our good times together.

French Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis

Sometimes you have to go back in time to find a cookbook that you can be sure they won’t have. French Farm House Cookbook is a wonderful choice. Recipes from farms and home cooks across France.


Occasionally someone sends me something to try. The folks at GIR must have sent these spatulas to a lot of food writers because I have been reading about them everywhere. I am here to tell you the spatula is pretty awesome. I love that the whole thing is silicone and heat resistant. It comes in a bunch of pretty colors and is dishwasher safe. They really did get this one right.

California Olive Ranch Olive Oil

You might know that California Olive Ranch makes wonderful, affordable, olive oils. Did you know that you can sign up for their olive oil club and receive recurring delivery of your favorite olive oils? What luxury to have olive oil delivered to your home and not have to schlep it home from the store!

Framed Photo of Angela Lansbury

If all else fails, I suggest you frame a photo of Angela Lansbury and hang it above your stove. I sure did.

* * *

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thanks for being so great. xo


45 comments to “Gift Guide 2012”

  1. I love your blog and the amazing food you cook, and now I’m officially adding you to my list of things I’m thankful for because YOU FINALLY GAVE ME AN IDEA OF WHAT TO GET MY DAD FOR CHRISTMAS. Smoked sugar, “Wilder Quarterly”, and that delish Catbird candle. God bless you.

    (Also, yes and yes to T.Swift and Frank Ocean).

  2. Yes to Taylor Swift. I am glad you gave it a try. =)

  3. Get out of here with that smoked sugar! My bf would love it. He’s up for anything with smoke. Once, it was ice for a cocktail. That project burned right through the bottom of a pot, made our place smell like a dive bar, and totally worked. Good times.

    Great list!

  4. Great round-up! We had the lemon Quince & Apple on Friday night and it went lickety-split. I love their spreads.

  5. Love this! Thanks. I’ve started looking forward to it! No new favorite local cheese this year? I continue to love both Willi’s bandaged cheddar and the Roelli red rock thanks to you.

  6. Eleanor- Good question! I am sure there are great new cheeses out there, but I am afraid I haven’t been very adventurous recently and don’t have any suggestions. I’ll make trying more cheese a resolution for 2013. ; )

  7. I have the gold flatwear and was super excited when I found. Alas, it does not wash well and the gold finish is being rubbed off from everyday use.

  8. Jenna- huh! Good feedback. Haven’t had problems with mine, but I don’t use them everyday. Did you contact West Elm? Maybe they know something about it and could help you out.

  9. Hi Tim,
    Thanks! I will try that. I just figured that was just an effect of wear. They are a great looking set!

  10. TIM! I love everything about this list – a tour around your house, heart and mind. If only you were here we could have smoked sugar cocktail and an album review party. That mini tin of salt is so cool!

  11. OMG TIM! This Thanksgiving I am thankful for you and your blog. I’ve truly loved your blog these past 10 months (since I started following you) and your gift guide is beyond brilliant. I love everything about it! You’re so funny and I truly enjoy getting a glimpse of you and your home. We just legalized gay marriage in Washington State, so I think you and Brian need to move here so we can be friends, enjoy cocktails and have dinner parties :)

  12. thanks, all!

    Jennifer- Sounds fun!
    SG- you’re the best! xo

  13. I love your holiday gift guide. Last year I bought the little glass spinny thing that loves light (dang it, can’t remember the name for the life of me), but it makes me & my husband so happy looking at it. And in this guide you mention my most favorite movie ever, Days of Heaven, so I’m thrilled. I’ve also bookmarked half your list for my own personal one :) Thanks Tim! You are the best.

  14. Great list of ideas. Love the duvet cover. My favorite idea though is the framed photo of Angela Lansbury. Can you tell me where you came upon that particular photo? I love it. It is so perfect! Jessica Fletcher, my hero :)

  15. Hi Cheri- It is from the current issue of The Gentlewoman She’s the best!

  16. Oooh, that was quick! Thank you so very much! I’m off to do some browsing from your great suggestions. Happy Holidays to you~

  17. Angela Lansbury! I could not be more thrilled that “Murder, She Wrote” is currently streaming on Netflix. She is so great. Love this gift guide too, as always!

  18. That mini tin of Maldon Salt is too much. Sheer brilliance. Seeing as I am that person that carries around a mini jar of a friend’s home-made crushed red pepper flakes, I think this may just be the best stocking stuffer ever…(with an extra one for my purse of course :)

  19. ANGELA. LANSBURY. I seriously freaked when I saw this. You are clearly awesome (though I knew this already).

  20. So many of these are gifts I’d love to buy myself!!

  21. I’ve started doing gift guides this year (two up so far with more to come between now and Christmas) and I’m with you on all of these suggestions! I’ve been eyeing up gold cutlery for a while (but I’m not convinced that I would get it passed my husband), Rookie is the site that I wish had existed when I was 15 (so I obviously bought myself the yearbook), and we have the tarot deck candle in our kitchen. Going to go and look up the rhubarb hops syrup now…

  22. thanks for the good info, I am definitely going to check out wilder, also that gold flatware looks nice.

  23. I did not know I wanted gold flatware. And now I totally want gold flatware.

  24. Yesssssss! So good!!!!!!

  25. yes! I second the quince and apple hops. So good with some gin and sparkling water for something really light. love these lists :)

  26. What a wonderful, thoughtful list! Best one I’ve seen yet :)

  27. That duvet cover is simply incredible.

  28. Thanks, all!
    Ben- Has West Elm made it to Canada? The duvet is the best.

  29. The Maldon is always a welcome gift. Glad you included it!

  30. Christian Rene Friborg says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I wish to receive everything in this list. Just perfect.

  31. Your lists are always beautiful, thoughtful and inspired! I am a huge fan of Quince and Apple’s Tart Cherry and White Tea preserves. It pairs beautifully with another amazing Wisconsin cheese, Evalon goat cheese, (served on a slice of lightly toasted baguette)! Can you find it in Chicago? If not, plan another trip to Madison!

  32. just discovered your blog…LOVE it! (and your gift guide, too:)

  33. I am keen on the sea flakes box :-). I always travel outside of Southern Europe with a little bottle of olive oil (usually in my cosmetic bag, just in case I cross borders where they check all the food, like they do here in New Zealand). If the food taste really bland I generally manage to save it by adding a little olive oil (and if applicable, lemon juice and salt), but during my last trip in the Pacific I also bought with me some salt flakes, and they made such a difference!! Still, I didn’t have a proper box for them, Thank you for the idea.


  34. I have always wanted goldware. I have Taylor. I need some pocket Maldon. My sister has to have the Rookie yearbook for xmas. I love this guide.

  35. Thank you for making me obsessed with finding/ordering those pickle chips.

  36. Jerusalem and My Kitchen Diaries 2 are my absolutely favourite books! This is, hands down, the best gift guide this year.

  37. Wow. I really want that syrup.

  38. Love the framed Angela Lansbury photo. More proof that this blog is my favourite.

    Great gift guide and happy holidays!

  39. Another great list, thank you for putting it together. And I couldn’t agree with you more about using a tool for its intended purpose. I bought a copper Jam pan a long time ago in France and love using it every year when I make my peach jam!

    Also, Smoked Sugar…I cant image how good that would taste when used in a glaze

  40. Hi Tim!

    Thanks for all you bring to the web and my own little corner of the universe. I’ve been a lurking reader for some time, but the fact that you managed to come up with a culinary item involving smoke that my mother, a chef who loves all things smoked and always says “hugs,” when I ask what I can give her for Christmas, doesn’t own requires a shout-out. You are awesome! I, and my mother, come the 25th, thank you! Cheers and a very merry holiday season. I hope it goes on and on…

  41. Love you love a pickle chip

  42. taylor swift! noooooooooooooooooo!
    everything else, yesssssssssssssssss!

  43. Taylor Swift Forever! ; )

  44. Melissa Gumiran says:

    January 10th, 2013 at 10:16 am

    clearly i am months late reading this, but these were all great! i wish i had seen them sooner. or i’ll just use them for gifts year round. can’t wait for 2013…!!

  45. thanks, melissa! also, hiiii!

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