Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tis the Season: Holiday Gifts

Some years, I find Christmas shopping more difficult than usual. This is one of those years. There are a couple people on my list (my new fifteen-year-old niece and my mom) who have me stymied—if you have any recommendations for a hip London teen and a mother who has everything, please feel free to let me know. And just in case anyone who comes across this blog is looking for suggestions, I have a couple I’d like to offer … plus, this gives me a chance to promote some people and projects very close to my heart.

A Dose of Our Minds

For the last two and a half years, I have been leading a teen writing workshop at the Alexandria House neighborhood program in Los Angeles. Last year, we published a book of the teens’ poetry, essays, and artwork. I admit, I’m partial, because these are such amazing kids (I’ve known most of them for years), but outsiders have told me that their work really is moving. It gets to the heart of being an inner city teen. And if you buy a copy, profits go back into the program for writing supplies, new books, photography field trips, and a new volume of their writing next year. A great gift for creative teens.

Click here to purchase A Dose of Our Minds

The Sushi Book

Published by Things Asian Press, (the same publisher behind my To Asia With Love guidebook series), The Sushi Book is for hardcore sushi lovers. This primer by Celeste Heiter covers everything: sushi history, sushi etiquette, sushi lingo, etc. There’s even a chapter of basic recipes for making a sushi dinner at home. Photos are full color and add to the book’s gift appeal.

Click here to purchase The Sushi Book

Click here to purchase To Asia With Love

Click here to go to Celeste’s food blog: Chopstick Cinema

The Unprejudiced Palate

Slow, locally grown food. Are foodies talking about anything else these days? With “locavore” named as the Oxford English Dictionary’s 2007 Word of the Year, and Alice Waters’ recently published treatise/cookbook endorsing her “delicious revolution,” it’s clear that this trend is here to stay. But long before Chez Panisse, back in 1948, Angelo Pellegrini was arguing for the slo-lo way in The Unprejudiced Palate. Having immigrated to the US from Italy, Pellegrini was appalled by the way Americans approached food, and his book is a rebuttal, as well as a primer on how to eat—and therefore live—well. Since he grew as much of his food as he could, and even made his own wine, he knows of what he speaks.

Click here to purchase The Unprejudiced Palate

The Little Saigon Cookbook

Ah, I just can’t help myself. Written by my pal Ann Le, photographed by my sis Julie Fay Ashborn, and featuring my favorite food: Vietnamese … it’s always a winner.

Click here to purchase The Little Saigon Cookbook

Click here to purchase Julie’s Southeast Asia note cards

Spices from Didier Corlou

If you just happen to be in Hanoi this holiday season, pop into La Verticale, Didier Corlou’s new restaurant, which also features a spice shop. I had the good fortune of spending time with Didier a few years ago, when I was in Vietnam researching Communion (coming soon, I promise). Then, he headed up the kitchen at the Metropole. His food was exquisite. Though I haven’t been to La Verticale yet, I just know it’s amazing. But I can vouch for the spices he sells, as my publisher kindly sent me a box of the best, including pepper, cinnamon, a pho blend, a nuoc mam salt, and more.

La Verticale
19 Ngo Van So St.
Hoan Kiem District
(84-04) 944-6317


Janet Brown said...

Since your mother and I are of the same generation I'm sure, I feel as though maybe I might be able to extrapolate from what I would love--give her a weekend trip with you, just the two of you--to a beach, a little town in the Redwoods, wherever you think you could both relax and enjoy each other's company...

Kim said...

Same generation, different worlds! But I love your idea. Thank you.