11 Savvy Gifts for the Foodie

iStock
iStock

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.

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1. Short Stack Editions

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 for $14 and up and at these other retailers:

2. Horseshoe Brand Hot Sauces and Barbecue Sauces Six-pack

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 for $30

3. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat By Samin Nosrat

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 beloved book (which even inspired a Netflix series), 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 for $21

4. Very Veggie Spice Collection

veggie spice blend collection
Uncommon Goods

Save your vegetarian loved one the labor of finding the perfect spices to pair with their meat-free dishes. This set includes seven sweet-and-savory blends—Manchego & roasted garlic, chipotle parmesan, chili lime, Asian curry and honey, balsamic and roasted onion, and parmesan mediterranean—which have been slow-dried and then quickly ground and jarred to preserve flavor. One taste of the seasonings will ruin the supermarket stuff for good.

Find It: Uncommon Goods for $26

5. MOLECULE-R CUISINE R-EVOLUTION KIT

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 for $43 and at these other retailers:

6. Balsamic Vinegar Of ModenA

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
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:

7. Chefsteps Joule Sous Vide

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 for $199 and at these other retailers:

8. Pizza Rescue Kit

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 for $15

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 CUSTOM ICE CREAM CAKE SANDWICHES SIX-PACK

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. Choose six flavors from options like birthday cake, purple velvet, Fluffernutter, and Blackout ice cream. The treats weigh nearly half a pound, so hopefully you can convince the giftee to share.

Find It: Goldbelly for $99

11. Antidote Dark Chocolate Bars Six-Pack

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 for $43

10 Ways to Get Your Caffeine Fix Without Coffee

iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell
iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell

Looking to get an extra buzz without drinking another cup of coffee? Luckily, sleepy people everywhere have created a huge market for all things caffeine-related. Here are some more unusual products that will give you a buzz.

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. Perk Energy Bracelet

A woman wearing a Perk bracelet
Perk, Amazon

These bracelets administer caffeine right through your skin. They're lined with energy patches that provide the same amount of caffeine as a medium cup of coffee, according to Perk, but over the course of four hours to prevent jitters or crashing. Because the caffeine isn't going through your digestive system, the effects are also stronger and hit faster. Each bracelet comes with 30 caffeine patches to get you started.

Buy it on Amazon for $40.

2. Viter Energy Mints

Six light blue tins of energy mints
Viter Energy, Amazon

Worried about getting coffee breath? Viter Energy mints will make your mouth minty fresh while putting a pep in your step. Each mint has 40 milligrams of caffeine, so eating two mints is about the same as an 8-ounce cup of coffee. (The caffeine content of coffee varies from brand to brand, but according to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce brewed coffee might contain anywhere from 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine, while an espresso will around 47 to 64 milligrams. A tall dark-roast brewed coffee at Starbucks contains 193 milligrams.) These mints have a "strong and intense wintergreen flavor and menthol kick” as the makers describe it, but they also come in spearmint, cinnamon, chocolate mint, and peppermint flavors.

Buy them on Amazon for $20 for six tins.

3. Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

Showers are about to get a lot more energizing—no freezing cold water needed. This vegetable-based glycerine soap from ThinkGeek is made with caffeine to give your morning a jump start even before your first cup of coffee. Each Shower Shock bar packs about 200 milligrams of caffeine per use. (Each bar is about 12 servings.) It also has a refreshing peppermint smell—but no, it's not edible.

Buy it from ThinkGeek for $8 or from Amazon for $16.

4. pureLYFT Energy Stir Sticks

Boxes of pureLYFT stir sticks near citrus fruit
pureLYFT, Amazon

Now you can add caffeine to any beverage you like with a stick that you can swirl into your drink. The plastic sticks are filled with crystals that dissolve after just 10 seconds of stirring. Each packs 125 milligrams of caffeine. You can opt for the plain version or try flavors like orange, mixed berry, and lemon-lime.

Buy them on Amazon for $13 per pack of six or at these other retailers:

5. OGX Fight Fallout Shampoo

A brown bottle of OGX shampoo
OGX, Walmart

Energize your scalp with caffeine-infused shampoo. While this shower addition might not actually wake you up, some studies have suggested that caffeine may (slightly) help with hair loss. OGX claims their shampoo helps thicken hair and keep it on your head. The company also makes a conditioner and a "root stimulator" spray with the same ingredients.

Buy it from Walmart for $12 or at these other retailers:

6. Power Toothpaste

Say goodbye to groggily brushing your teeth. Power Toothpaste is infused with caffeine that quickly kicks in as soon as you're done with your oral hygiene routine. Each tube has enough mint-flavored paste for 90 brushes with roughly 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Buy it from Power Toothpaste for $15 or from Amazon for $20 (with Prime shipping).

7. HeroEC Energy Water

A 12-pack of water bottles
Hero Water, Amazon

Swap out your coffee for something a little more refreshing. This hydrating water from Hero Water comes with electrolytes and 60 milligrams of caffeine, without the bitter aftertaste of coffee.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 for a pack of 12.

8. Jolt Energy Gum

A box of Jolt Energy Gum
Jolt, Amazon

Based on the popular soda, Jolt Energy Gum comes packed with guarana, ginseng, and 40 milligrams of caffeine per serving. The spearmint and "icy mint" flavors are designed to deliver a minty kick that's sure to keep you up for a while.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 per pack of 12 (120 pieces total).

9. First Aid Beauty Matcha Wake Up Wipes

A pack of facial wipes
First Aid Beauty, Amazon

Start the morning right with a clean and refreshed face. These caffeine matcha wipes remove dirt, soothe with aloe, and wake you up. The caffeine reduces puffiness and redness, too. Each pack comes with 25 wipes designed for all skin types.

Buy it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

10. Eagle Energy Caffeine Infused Inhaler

A three-pack of caffeine inhalers
Eagle Energy, Amazon

Made with guarana extract, ginseng, and vitamin B12, Eagle Energy’s caffeine inhaler is a sugar-free, calorie-free way to get your energy boost. According to the company, “Eagle uses a customized heating system that creates a vapor and is engineered to maximize caffeine bioavailability and prevent the creation of any unintended by-products.” Because the caffeine is inhaled, it only takes three to five minutes to kick in.

Buy it on Amazon for $26 per pack of three.

The 3 Best Mattresses You Can Order Online Right Now

iStock.com/diego_cervo
iStock.com/diego_cervo

President’s Day is quickly creeping up, and you know what that means: Everyone and their mother will be shopping for new mattresses (which traditionally go on sale over the holiday weekend). However, if you don’t feel like fighting off the crowds at your local mattress outlet, there are plenty of great online deals you can take advantage of—and you don't have to sift through a thousand reviews to find a great one. Check out our buying guide to the three comfiest mattresses on the market right now from Leesa, Allswell, and Linenspa.

1. Leesa’s Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress

Leesa's universal adaptive feel memory foam cooling mattress
Leesa, Amazon

Do you kick off the covers in the middle of the night because you get too hot? Try Leesa’s 10-inch-tall cooling mattress. It has three unique foam layers: The first layer is designed to keep you cool, while the second offers body-contouring comfort, and the third helps relieve pressure and provide core support. The “adaptive feel” label refers to the fact that it adapts to your body no matter what your preferred sleeping position may be. The mattress comes in twin through California king sizes, with prices starting at $375.

Buy it on Amazon or from Leesa's website, where you can get 15 percent off plus two free pillows this weekend.

2. Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid Mattress

This extra-thick mattress is so popular that it frequently sells out from Allswell and at other retailers. It packs 12 inches of high-end material into one mattress, including quilted memory foam and an outer layer designed keep you cool in hot weather. Similar mattresses tend to go for thousands of dollars, but the Luxe Hybrid retails for far less. Prices start at $345 for a twin, $485 for a full, $585 for a queen, or $745 for a king. (Not sure about the difference in mattress sizes? We've got you covered.)

Buy it from Allswell's website, where you can save 15 percent through February 20 using the offer code 15FORALL. It's also available at these retailers:

3. Linenspa’s memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress

The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress
Linenspa, Amazon

Amazon customers swear by Linenspa’s hybrid mattress, which comes in sizes twin ($96) through California king ($198). Ideal for people who like medium-firm mattresses, it combines the benefits of memory foam with the support one gets from a traditional innerspring mattress. The standard version is 8 inches thick, but Linenspa also offers a 10-inch version in all sizes. (We also love the company's incredibly affordable down-alternative duvet, which is $50 off right now on Amazon.)

Buy it on Amazon, where the 8-inch queen mattress is currently 18 percent off ($156).

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