Potential holiday gifts are as close as a supermarket aisle

Each holiday season brings the challenge of finding gifts to buy — whether it’s for Grandma — or the host of an upcoming party.

While it can be daunting, filling out the gift list can be as easy as filling out a grocery list, said Lean Plate Club™ blogger Sally Squires, because potential gifts can be found in the aisles of your favorite supermarket.

Specialty teas and a nice mug or teapot, for example, or unusual spices and flavorings are good gift ideas for an acquaintance or party host.

“These can be stocking stuffers, or you can put them in a little basket,” Squires told WTOP’s Mark Lewis and Debra Feinstein.

The art of cooking healthy can serve as good inspiration for gifts to friends and family. Subscriptions to cooking publications like Cook’s Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen or Milk Street bring a wealth of recipes and insights.

“They’re great, because for people who are trying to learn how to cook, they have videos and they actually do ratings of different products,” she said.

Don’t forget cookbooks.

Julia Child and “Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten are great authors to seek out, Squires said. Ideal books for vegetarian and vegan cooking include Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s “Veganomicon” and Matthew Kenney’s “Plant Lab.”

There’s also the option of more intensive training in the form of cooking classes. In Squires’ case, a chef came to her house and showed how to make new Mexican dishes.

“It was great because she brought all the food with her, and then she just kind of stood with us and explained, and then sent the recipes afterwards,” Squires said.

Kids, too, can gain kitchen skills through the Radish cooking club, which delivers monthly kits comprising recipes, shopping lists and more. Their approach aims to combine math, science, history, culture etc. into “a fun culinary lesson.”

For the more kitchen literate, consider some useful tools like a quality thermometer, a coffee grinder, mandoline, waffle iron or air fryer.

“I think these are fun gifts, particularly if you’re trying to help encourage healthy eating or cooking more at home,” Squires said.

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Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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