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11 Savvy Gifts for the Foodie

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Whether it’s the friend who makes you wait in two-hour brunch lines or the uncle who starts planning Thanksgiving in August, you likely have at least one foodie in your life. This holiday season, indulge their gastronomic side with one of these delectable gifts.

1. SHORT STACK EDITIONS; $14 AND UP

Cover of cookbook.
Amazon

Entering the kitchen can be daunting, even with a well-written book of recipes at your side. The Short Stack series of cookbooks keeps things simple. Each slim volume focuses on a single ingredient and contains 20 to 25 relevant recipes written by a different culinary professional. Butter, avocados, chocolate, and tahini are just a few of the featured themes. And when the books are not being used to whip up recipes, the colorful, textured paper covers make them lovely to look at.

Find It: Amazon

2. HORSESHOE BRAND HOT SAUCES AND BARBECUE SAUCES SIX-PACK; $30

Row of hot sauces.
Horseshoe Brand

Horseshoe Brand sells 11 varieties of small-batch hot sauce and barbecue sauce. If you can’t pick just one bottle for the condiment-lover in your life, the Hudson Valley, New York-based company offers a six-pack. Mix and match to create the perfect set of sauces from their line, which includes roasted garlic, kiwi jalapeño, and hot barbecue sauce.

Find It: Horseshoe Brand

3. SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT BY SAMIN NOSRAT; $20

Cover of cookbook.
Amazon

Forget specialized kitchen gadgets and artisanal ingredients. The key to most good meals, cookbook author Samin Nosrat claims, comes down to just four components: salt, fat, acid, and heat. In the author's new book, she reduces over 100 basic recipes to these elements. With Nosrat’s sharp insights and Wendy MacNaughton’s playful illustrations as a guide, the readers of this book will develop essential cooking instincts.

Find It: Amazon

4. ONION LOVER’S SPICE SET; $16

Jars of spices.
Uncommon Goods

Save your loved one the labor of chopping and cooking onions by hand. This spice set includes three all-star alliums—yellow onions, green onions, and shallots—which have been slow-dried and then quickly ground and jarred to preserve flavor. One taste of the seasonings in soups, dips, or stir-fries will ruin the powered supermarket stuff for good.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. MOLECULE-R CUISINE R-EVOLUTION KIT; $50

Box of cooking supplies.
Amazon

Molecular gastronomy isn’t limited to Michelin-starred chefs working out of space-aged kitchens. With this kit, anyone can create futuristic dishes from their kitchen at home. The package contains pipettes, food additives, tubes, a mold, spoons, and a syringe. A DVD walks home chefs through 50 impressive recipes, making dishes like mint caviar beads, chocolate spaghetti, and tzatziki spheres as approachable as they are tasty.

Find It: Amazon

6. BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA; $49

Jar of balsamic vinegar.
Food52

It’s easy enough to find basic balsamic vinegar at your local supermarket, but if you want to find something that goes beyond the basic stuff, you’ll have to search harder. All bottles of this product come from a real vinegar house in Modena, Italy, a.k.a. the balsamic vinegar capital of the world. Its authenticity comes through in the flavor. With no additives or caramels muddying the taste, every drop is pure, concentrated balsamic.

Find It: Food52

7. CHEFSTEPS JOULE SOUS VIDE; $196

Food cooking in a pot.
Amazon

Flavorful fish and perfectly-cooked steaks are just a quick sous-vide away from the dining room table. If you know someone who would geek out over an immersion circulator, this is the one to get them. It stands less than a foot tall and weighs 1.3 pounds, making it half the size of similar products. And unlike traditional sous vide tools, this one connects to smart devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The app relays updates on the food as it cooks. Dinner has never been so hard to screw up.

Find It: Amazon

8. PIZZA RESCUE KIT; $15

Vials of spices next to a box.
Uncommon Goods

In a perfect world, every slice of pizza would leave you wanting more. But unfortunately, there’s no shortage of mediocre pies out there. That’s why a group of New York pizza aficionados created the Pizza Rescue Kit. The three vials contain black truffle salt, aleppo pepper, and an Italian herb blend. Pizza lovers can sprinkle the seasonings on frozen pizza or $1 parlor slices to elevate them to gourmet status.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

9. TURNTABLE KITCHEN PAIRINGS BOX; 1 MONTH FOR $25

Vinyl disc and food recipe.
Turntable Kitchen

This gift is for the person in your life who treats food like a cultural experience. Each monthly box of this subscription contains two parts: a recipe and curated music to complement it. Home cooks can drop the 7-inch vinyl onto their turntable and listen to new music from artists like Basecamp and Cathedrals while they cook. Once that track is over, they can transition to the digital mix tape that comes with the subscription. The food portion of the gift includes three seasonal recipes, one or two premium ingredients, and tasting notes.

Find It: Turntable Kitchen

10. SHERRY B SIGNATURE HOLIDAY ICE CREAM CAKE SANDWICHES SIX-PACK; $89

Ice cream sandwiches.
Goldbely

Ice cream cakes are usually reserved for special occasions; this six-pack of ice cream cake sandwiches from Sherry B Dessert Studio makes it easy to enjoy the treat anytime and anywhere. Each sandwich comes in a different flavor, like peppermint stick, sticky toffee pudding, and sweet potato pie. The treats weigh nearly half a pound, so hopefully you can convince the giftee to share.

Find It: Goldbely

11. ANTIDOTE DARK CHOCOLATE BARS SIX-PACK; $43

Gourmet chocolate bars.
Amazon

These gourmet chocolate bars are flavored with exotic ingredients like cardamom, mango, and cayenne. But in each variety, the cocoa takes the starring role. Antidote chocolate is made with Arriba Nacional beans from Ecuador that have been slow-roasted to create a rich depth of flavor. Little to no sugar is added: Instead the chocolate is mixed with real spices and chunks of fruit.

Find It: Antidote Chocolate

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18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
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Cost Plus World Market

Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
Amazon

That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

Buy on Amazon.

2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

Buy on Amazon.

3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

Buy on ThinkGeek.

4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

Buy on Amazon.

5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

Buy on Amazon.

7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
Cost Plus World Market

This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

Buy at Cost Plus World Market.

8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

Buy on Amazon.

9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

Buy on Amazon.

10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

Buy on Amazon.

11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

Buy on Amazon.

12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy chomping on your mug to worry about humans.

Buy on Amazon.

13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

Buy on Amazon.

14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

Buy on Amazon.

15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

Buy on Amazon.

16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

Buy on Amazon.

17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

Buy on Live Infused.

18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

Buy on Amazon.

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15 Umbrellas to Keep You Dry
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iStock

Make rainy days a little more exciting with a quirky umbrella.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. BANANA; $18.99

banana umbrella
Amazon

This ingenious umbrella comes with a special cover to make it look like you’re lugging around a real banana. The covers come in green and yellow, but the umbrella itself is always yellow.

Find it: Amazon

2. MAGICAL UNICORN; $36.49

Magical Unicorn Umbrella
Amazon

Rainy days don’t have to be dreary with this colorful, pastel umbrella. The handle is elegantly shaped like a unicorn and mane, with its gold horn sitting atop the umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

3. GAME OF THRONES; $37.89

Game of Thrones Longclaw Sword Umbrella
Amazon

If you’re looking for something a little tougher, a Game of Thrones-themed umbrella might be just the thing. The umbrella is adorned with the show's logo and has a special handle that looks like the hilt of Jon Snow’s sword, Longclaw.

Find it: Amazon

4. LETTUCE; $14.88

lettuce umbrella
Amazon

Salad lovers will want to get their hands on this special umbrella, which, when closed, mimics the look of a head of lettuce.

Find it: Amazon

5. CARROT; $15.90

carrot-shaped umbrella
Amazon

For more food-themed umbrella fun, check out this carrot-shaped umbrella. Similarly to the banana version, it comes with a protective case that resembles a carrot. When you take off the top, it reveals an orange umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

6. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR; $25.96

The Very Hungry Caterpillar umbrella
Amazon

For children who love Eric Carle’s creations: a Very Hungry Caterpillar umbrella. The transparent plastic allows the child to see the caterpillar design even when they’re using the umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

7. DOG UMBRELLA; $16.59

Dog Umbrella With Leash
Amazon

Don’t forget about your furry friends when it's raining cats and dogs. While dog rain jackets are adorable, you can also opt for a special umbrella made just for puppers. The handle is situated on top of the umbrella so you can easily hold it above your short companion. It’s also connected to a leash so you don’t have to carry two things at once.

Find it: Amazon

8. SKY; $43.95

umbrella with interior of blue sky dotted with fluffy, white clouds
Amazon

Opening this umbrella will have you seeing sunny skies, even in the rain. Designed by Tibor Kalman and Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, it looks like a plain black umbrella until it’s opened up, revealing its colorful underbelly.

Find it: Amazon

9. STARRY NIGHT; $43.70

umbrella with Vincent van Gogh’s "Starry Night" print
Amazon

If you want something a little more surreal than a boring blue sky, there’s an alternate version with Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night printed on it.

Find it: Amazon

10. CAT IN SPACE; $22.56

cat in space umbrella
Amazon

Strangely, the “cats in space” motif is pretty popular online. From sweaters to calendars, there’s no shortage of felines floating through the galaxy. You can also get an umbrella with the unusual design, because why not?

Find it: Amazon

11. LED UMBRELLA; $23.66

Blade Runner Style LED Umbrella
Amazon

There are a lot of futuristic gadgets in the movie Blade Runner, but some are more obtainable than others. You can actually buy the LED light umbrella seen in the movie. The battery-operated handle glows blue, which both looks cool and keeps you safe at night.

Find it: Amazon

12. BIRDCAGE; $22.99

Birdcage Transparent Clear Dome Umbrella
Amazon

Ever feel like a bird in a cage? Now you can really get that experience with this clear umbrella that looks like a birdcage. It even comes with a bird printed on the side.

Find it: Amazon

13. COLOR CHANGING UMBRELLA; $34

Black umbrella printed with color-changing rain drop design
Amazon

It’s hard to imagine actually getting excited about going out into the rain, but with this special umbrella, you might be watching for dark clouds. The special white ink changes colors when wet, so you can go from a monochrome umbrella to a rainbow one in seconds.

Find it: Amazon

14. RABBIT; €9.03

polka-dot umbrella with a bag that’s shaped like a bunny rabbit
Perletti

This simple red umbrella comes with a nice polka-dot design, but the real novelty is the carrying case. Instead of a regular sleeve, it comes with a zippered bag that’s shaped like a bunny rabbit.

Find it: Perletti

15. KATANA; $28.99

katana umbrella
Amazon

Carrying around an umbrella can be a bit of a pain, but at least you can look cool doing it. When wrapped up, this umbrella looks like a sword slung over your back. The hilt of the katana becomes your handle when you open the umbrella up.

Find it: Amazon

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