local.sustainable.creative.handmade: a bay area holiday gift guide

the trip to china gave me a lot to think about, and a big part of that has been examining my relationship with consumption.

i love stuff.  i love pretty things, and good food, and hoarding books i may never read.

i also, secretly (or not so secretly, if you know me well) love target, even though it pains me to admit it.  something about all of those thousands of items you don't need, all perfectly lined up under one roof is too much for me to handle.  maybe it's one of the vestigial signs of my southern california suburban upbringing.  who knows?

like a teenaged boy obsessed with the latest video game, i can pine over random things for days, weeks, months, before breaking down and buying them because i conclude that i cannot possibly survive without them.  two weeks later, i can't remember what it was that made me want that thing in the first place.  there's a flat screen tv sitting 10 feet from here that i've turned on maybe once since i moved into this apartment almost three years ago.  the bike i don't ride nearly enough.  the pairs of shoes i've never worn.  thankfully, this strange disease rarely extends into the realm of kitchen appliances, which i'm just not that big on, or clothing.  but still, i often find myself spending an undue amount of time concerned with apple products i don't need, or this cursive olivetti typewriter (someone, just buy it so i can stop obsessing!!!).  

it's really annoying.

anyway, i left china with clear understanding that what's most important is to invest in people, in relationships with those i love.

i've never been a massive hoarder or utterly concerned with material things, but i'm always ready to be challenged, to grow and learn, and expand my world.  and though i've never really celebrated any winter holidays myself, i've always appreciated the sense of community and the unbridled generosity which are implicit in the season.  i love giving, and i love watching others give.  there are so many ways to give, but if it happens to be about gifts, then what better way for me to participate than by encouraging folks to support my friends and colleagues doing great work, whose products and services would make ideal gifts?

it's so complicated, my relationship to all of this.  i've been working on a holiday gift guide for a couple of months, and now, after china, i've reconsidered putting it up because, do i really want to encourage more consumption???  yet on the other hand, i believe in supporting people who do good work, and if i can spread the word about great people doing great things, then why shouldn't i?

welcome to my head.

while i continue to grapple with this line of self-questioning, let me offer a compromise: a highly curated list of my favorite things, as well as the suggestion that you consider a book-exchange christmas, a thrift-store christmas, an exchange of completely homemade gifts, or even (gasp!) a giftless holiday.

but most of all, i wish you all a wonderful december.




local.sustainable.creative.handmade: 
a bay area holiday gift guide





CLASSES, MEMBERSHIPS & SUBSCRIPTIONS


Home Ec: a series of basic cooking classes
building a pantry :: knife skills :: salt :: fat :: acid :: heat 
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1. my five-part home-ec series of cooking classes, at 18 reasons ($350 and up, sliding scale)
2. membership to siren seasa sustainable seafood CSA ($20 and up)
3. marmalade-making workshop with june taylor herself ($200)
4. quarterly ($25)
5. kinfolk magazine ($24)
6. annual membership to 18 reasons ($50)
7. annual subscription to canal house cooking ($50)
8. a membership to the brand spanking new baia pasta pasta CSA. place an order here to pick up on 12/10 and 12/11 at rare device in san francisco ($8 and up).
9. six month subscription to tattly ($60)



AT THE TABLE 


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1. any one of the variety of well-curated spices, salts, and spice mixtures from our very own neighborhood spice shop. grand opening tomorrow, saturday, december 3rd ($5 and up)
2. one of june taylor's traditional fruit cheeses ($18)
3. new year's osechi bento in a handmade three-level cedar box from peko peko ($250)
4. the ramona bar from double dutch sweets ($6)
5. a bottle of homemade tonic water (about $8 for ingredients and a bottle)
6. a country loaf from tartine bakery ($7), a sandwich loaf from outerlands ($5), or one of noah's sunday loaves at pizzaiolo ($7)


FOR THE TABLE

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1. aletha soule's gorgeous ceramicware ($40 and up)
3. a set of classic champagne coupes foraged from urban ore or the goodwill (about 50ยข each)
4. orkney tablecloth from rough linen ($130)
5. one of the fantastic deals from the piles of seconds or thirds at the heath factory store (astonishingly inexpensive)



IN THE KITCHEN


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1. hand-hewn magnetic knife holder from MR/CW (from $95)
2. set of two bento bags from ambatalia ($25)
3. vintage finel enamel mushroom bowl from pot and pantry ($48)





CALENDARS


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1. maria schoettler eat local 2012 calendar ($30)


ETC.


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2. silver and gold thread from bell'occhio ($6 each)
3. picnic basket rental for a perfect day in washington square park from little vine ($25 per person)
4. a perfect terrarium or other gorgeous oddity from crimson ($20 and up)
5. homemade worry dolls (a few bucks for supplies)
6. kaweco sport fountain pen ($21)
7. faber-castell basic wood rollerball pen ($11)
8. lamy aqua safari fountain pen ($29)
9. pink pelikan fountain pen ($18) (i'm really into refillable pens this year)


JEWELRY

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1. staple and tack earrings from general store ($35 and up)
2. pyrite stud earrings from lauren wolf at esqueleto ($45 each)
3. cairo necklace from marisa haskell ($170)
4. small circle post earring--recycled silver from melissa joy manning ($65)


BOOKS


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1. penguin threads series, with cover designs embroidered by jillian tamaki ($10 each)
2. an everlasting meal by tamar adler ($15)
3. standing by words by wendell berry ($10)
4. penguin great food series ($6-10 each)
5. tender by nigel slater ($22)
6. food rules by michael pollan, illustrated by maira kalman ($16)


and if none of these ideas does it for you, how about a gift certificate to one of my (or your) favorite restaurants?

bar jules
outerlands cafe
pizzaiolo
nopa
chez panisse
boot & shoe service
tartine bakery