The 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

Someone once told me that ever good blog has a holiday gift guide. Actually, no one told me that, but as shopping (and finding cool gift guides) for my friends and family is enjoyable to me, I thought I’d take the plunge and pass along a couple of things that I’ve either 1. used and loved 2. been recommended by someone who has used and loved them. I think that’s fair. I’ll be adding new things during the next couple of weeks, so send me your ideas in the comments.

Soooooo, here we go!

Feed them with food

Reindeer Cake – The limited edition, December only Reindeer Cake is a gingerbread and caramel concoction that I may have come up with the idea with. Only at Muddy’s Bake Shop. Muddy’s also carries some other awesome Christmas specialties like the Santa Baby (choc/peppermint) cupcake and the Pear Gruyere pie.

Maddie Belle’s Southern Cheese Straws – These locally made cheese straws are made by a good friend of mine, and her recipe is as good as I have ever had. Thanks to the original Maddie Belle for passing the recipe through her family, so that we can enjoy them now! These will be exclusively available at Muddy’s Bake Shop in December.

Dark Star Granola Groovy Foods. If you don’t like chocolate (what???), the Civil Granola pictured above is a perfect alternative. This granola can be found at Muddy’s Bake Shop, Trolley Stop Market, and a number of other local retailers.

West Wind Farms Bacon – OK, let’s just all admit our love of bacon. It makes just about everything better, whether tomato and lettuce sandwiches, cheeseburgers, or maple cupcakes. Add bacon and you are golden. West Wind Farms makes some of my favorite. It is available at Trolley Stop Market, and while I don’t recommend wrapping it and leaving it under the tree, I do recommend putting some in your fridge.

Neola Farms Beef Neola Farms produces some of the best beef that is available in Memphis. Whether you’ve had it in the Interim burger or from the farmer’s markets, you know that this is prime time. Got someone that loves firing up the grill? Try some of their awesome steaks or ground beef. Their meat is available at the Trolley Stop Market.

Poplar Perk’n Coffee – Pick up a bag of your favorite roast or get crazy and bring your host a Voodoo (see this post). PP uses Gusta Java, a great Jackson, TN roaster, for their private label coffee.

Dinstuhl’s Cashew Crunch – This is easily my favorite candy from our local candy shop. If you haven’t had it, you are missing out. If you had, you know what an addicting flavor these have.

Feed the mind with Books

Wild Abundance – My next “Cooking with Thomas” post will be from this book. ArtsMemphis has published a great cookbook with recipes from some of the South’s best chefs from restaurants and hunting clubs. As if my recommendation weren’t enough, The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro named it their “pick for best gift for less than $50 this decade.” Whether you hunt, cook, or both, this is a beautiful book that will make a great addition to coffee table or cookbook shelf. Available a lot of places, but if you get it from ArtsMemphis directly, all of the proceeds will go to support the arts.

Simply Suppers – Jennifer Chandler’s fantastic cookbook that shares a ton of awesome recipes that can be done quickly and without fancy, schmancy ingredients that you don’t already have in your pantry. I wrote about the book here. You can get it at Burke’s, Davis-Kidd, Trolley Stop or Amazon and I’m sure a bunch of other places.


Ghost River – At Ghost River Brewing, they say “great water makes great beer.” Get a growler (an intense way of saying a half gallon) of your favorite brew to share with your friends and family. Great gift at only about $10. Kegs are available as well, in case you are planning a raging tacky Christmas sweater party…

Gifts for Good

Green Fork Ornament – The Project Green Fork ornaments are a great way to spruce up your tree and make a difference. Each green fork raises money for this great organization that works to make our restaurant community more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

MIFA Holiday Cards – What better gift than the one that feeds seniors, keeps the heat and the lights on during the winter for families in trouble, and helps get inner-city teens off to college? As a pillar of our community MIFA does all of this and more with the help of the thousands of donors, volunteers, and supporters that make MIFA great.  For a $10 donation per card, MIFA will send personalized holiday cards to everyone on your list, and you can know that your gift made a big difference. Check them out online.

Art, Crafts, and Other Rad Stuff

Elizabeth Eggleston Jewelry – This friend of mine makes fantastic custom jewelry. So if you need a sweet necklace for someone, check her out on Facebook or at the David Perry Smith Gallery.

Gift Certificate to Flicker Street Studio – I’ve written about Flicker Street Studio a number of times on here, often after a class and lunch on a Saturday. The classes are fantastic ways to learn new art techniques and skills or to hone the ones that you already have. With classes from painting to bookmaking and sculpture to drawing, there is something for just about everyone. I recommend the watercolor class!

Kicks – My good friend Peria Gober is the Peria behind Peria Shoes. P is prime at getting people into the right shoes. She’ll make you (or your lady friend) look good and feel good in some of the best kicks in Memphis. Here’s what she says about the shoe above, “Booties are the perfect shoe to get you through the season! Pair them with fun tights from 9-5 or skinny jeans for a night out.”

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