It is the most wonderful time of the year, as they say. That is, unless you’ve ordered the latest and greatest gadget too late, and now it’s stuck in supply chain limbo. We are here to help you.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
It’s the most wonderful time of year, as they say, unless you’ve ordered the latest and greatest gadget too late and now it’s stuck in supply chain limbo.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Or maybe you are like Daniel Gritzer.
DANIEL GRITZER: I’m really a last minute gift giver and have to fake something (laughs) in desperation.
KELLY: Gritzer is the Culinary Director of Serious Eats. We spoke with him and other food manufacturers and artisans who are advocating for DIY this season.
CORNISH: A homemade gift that Gritzer recommends: raisins.
GRITZER: I call them baked raisins, which got reactions from readers saying, why the hell would you bake raisins when you could just buy raisins? And that’s a valid question, but they’re pretty special.
CORNISH: OK, let’s listen to him.
GRITZER: You get a caramelization that happens on the surface of the grapes when they dry in the oven, so it’s more fruity and it’s brighter and it’s fresher than what you’d get from a can of grapes. dry on supermarket shelves.
KELLY: If you’re feeling a little more festive, New York Times food writer Priya Krishna recommends the holiday classic – cookies.
PRIYA KRISHNA: If someone gave me a jar of cookies the size of a fire extinguisher, I’d be happy.
KELLY: Same, but not just any cookies. She wants Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies
KRISHNA: It’s like a chocolate chocolate cookie with, like, a really nice salty note. They are impossible to hate.
CORNISH: And impossible to hate seems like a gift goal that we can all aspire to.
KELLY: Indeed. What’s not to love about chocolate chocolate cookies?
CORNISH: But let’s just say your loved one doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Gritzer and Krishna both suggested making crispy chili – the bright, burnt amber condiment infused with chili flakes.
GRITZER: There might be a bit of shopping you have to do to get your chili peppers and make garlic and shallot slices and things like that. But it is highly customizable and easy to do.
KRISHNA: I have, like, a tradition where I make dumplings over the holidays, so crispy chili would be a perfect thing to give me as a present (laughs).
GRITZER: Of course there are exceptions to that, but if you have it, you can put chili crisps on anything. People made sundaes topped with crispy chili.
KELLY Sweet and hot sounds good. But if shallot slicing isn’t for you, fear not. Craftsman and teacher Aris Rossi suggests getting out some art supplies, blank cards, and homemade greeting cards.
ARIS ROSSI: And that way the recipient can go through them and whenever they need, you know, a thank you card for a colleague or friend, they can choose a card that suits them.
CORNISH: His other must-have gift: a spa in a jar.
ROSSI: It’s just a little mason jar full of spa products like nail polish, nail files, stuff like that, bath bombs. Wrap a big knot around and give it as a really nice home spa gift.
CORNISH: If homemade food sounds like a recipe for disappointment to your loved ones, well, we’ve got you.
URSULA CARMONA: I have three teenage girls and they don’t want anything homemade. They just want cash (laughs) hard cash. That’s it.
KELLY: Same for the teenagers in my house. It’s Ursula Carmona. She suggests mixing something store-bought, like a gift card, with a nifty element.
CARMONA: One year, I set up pots, and I just filled them with various little ornaments. And I just stuck a gift card in the middle of it and wrapped it in a knot. And that made for a cute, homemade, but not quite like, gift card type present.
CORNISH: Daniel Gritzer says that even if it stresses you out …
GRITZER: If they’re so petrified about doing anything, maybe they could gift a really nice chocolate bar or something (laughs).
CORNISH: Just wrap it gently, with a bow.
KELLY: You can find recipes and photos of what these gifts might look like on npr.org or search ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on Facebook and Twitter. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.