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The Green Pan and other holiday gift ideas

The Green Pan- An early X-mas gift from a friend put one of these babies in my hands. I would never have bought into the marketing at first sight, but how happy am I to have it in my kitchen now? Very. (Thanks Rach!)It’s a non-stick fry pan without the toxic properties at high temperatures, with a significantly lower carbon footprint in production and life. I’ve tried it with eggs, fish, duck, beef, veal, vegetables.. all with great results. At low heat, nice sweating and heat control/conductivity, and most importantly, at high heat, a good sear with little fat required, no muss no fuss, no sticking, easy to clean. I don’t know how it would stand up to commercial use, but for the home, there is no doubt that this is a winner. Buy one for the cook in your life (or for yourself). Available in most kitchen stores, I also saw it at Zone. www.green-pan.com


Green pans aside.. in order to reconcile holiday gift giving and my principles of sensible consumption, I put a little work into my shopping and think hard about my purchases in attempt to be as ethical, green as possible all without being too rigid, still keeping the fun alive. For me that means a lot of cooking (because that’s what I do), and besides, I think the best gifts are home cooked or hand-made, something hand crafted by a local artisan, or at least unique and meaningful in some way, preferably not mass-produced in China. Fortunately, quality and taste usually go hand in hand with the local or fair-trade, artisanal, and sustainable choices.. So here are my suggestions mainly along those lines..


In the home cooking category, you can always volunteer to host/make X-mas dinner - now there's the hugest gift of all, especially for a weary Mom (my Mom is exempt for the rest of her life). The next best bet is baking, making classic shelf stable sweets like cookies, that way you can get it out of the way the week before the madness. Apart from truffles, traditional shortbread and gingerbread, I once made fortune cookies (with food jokes inside), all kinds of trippy flavoured chocolates, spice mixes, spiced nuts, buttercrunch and brittle, hot sauce.. I always dig into my mason jar preserves for housewarming gifts, I religiously make a zillion game meat tourtières, some foie torchon for the usual suspects, as well as miscellaneous other treats. This year Iwill be making big batch of cassoulet (François' request), some soup of course, and who knows what else. Customers will be taking up most of my time this X-mas, so that might be it, we'll see ..

For those of you hitting the stoves:

See Canadian Living Christmas book or site, Gourmet magazine, Martha Stewart or Ricardo X-mas issues. Fine Cooking also has a great holiday baking guide out. There's also a wealth of ideas to inspire you online:

Bon Appetit’s Blog envy: A great holiday recipe roundup from popular blogs http://www.doriegreenspan.com/dorie_greenspan/2008/12/blog-envy-a-great-holiday-recipe-roundup.html

Canadian Living - 9 cookie recipes http://www.canadianliving.com/food/menus_and_collections/cookie_recipes__in_cookie_heaven.php

All kinds of holiday recipes and tips at Gourmet http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/holiday

Gingerbread cookies http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/001633gingerbread_man_cookies.php




For those of you purchasing gifts in Montreal:



There’s Dix Mille Villages on Monkland (or on St-Denis) for hand-crafted, fair-trade gems such as pottery, wooden toys, X-mas ornaments and trinkets. http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca



La Maison Verte for the ideal housewarming gift, stocking stuffer or more: essential oil based gifts for her, ‘Les Chocolats de Sandra’ fair trade locally made chocolates, Café Rico coffee, and miscellaneous green items to turn someone on to the options out there, be it cleaning products, clothes or bamboo.. You can even shop online now. http://www.cooplamaisonverte.com/


Salon des Metiers d’Art at Place Bonaventure up until this week-end, for an overwhelming assortment of Quebec arts and crafts http://www.metiers-d-art.qc.ca/smaq/


The Jean Talon Market for gourmet edibles, many gift baskets to be had. Philippe de Vienne’s shop (Olives et Épices) is an unbeatabe place for foodie gifts. As is Quincaillerie Dante on the periphery.


Quebec made gourmet gift baskets online http://www.clindoeilgourmet.com/


A good bottle of wine is always nice, jamais de trop.. Many people won’t spend on a bottle for themselves, so I find this to be a nice treat. But splurging is not necessary, I tasted a fantastic local sparkling cider, perfect for the holidays and only 5% alcohol: Domaine de Minot, available at Marché des Saveurs. La Face Caché also has one out in a sharp package, I will be trying that one this weekend..




101 Produits Quebecois à découvrir http://www.editionsgoelette.com/site.php?detail=295


Or see my smart shopping page for tips on local food and arstisanal goods, online eco-guides.. http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/smart-shopping/


And More Shopping Online:



For Charity, A BRILLIANT idea: 

Unicef Gifts of Magic https://www.shopunicef.ca/ec/Portal.aspx?CN=32C5B8993DA5&MN=B2039D949889&LN=EN

Order a sugar shack special at the Endless Banquet, buyraffle ticketsor donate to the UN food program.. http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.com/2008/12/menu-for-hope-5.html

 Send a gift in support of the David Suzuki Foundation http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Donation_Centre/ecards.asp?tr=y&auid=4339335


Liquid Smudge - My mom introduced me to this ambient spray called ‘Liquid smudge’ that is revitalizing, peace and harmony inducing, the supposed cure for all ailments.. Sounds like a bunch of ‘n’importe quoi’, but it does smell amazing; it’s a mix of essential oils.. www.invocation.ca


In the Junky but fun category:


Lee Valley tools for miscellaneous gadgets for the men in your life (or for spice boxes and the original micro-plane if anyone you know doesn’t have one – no brainer!)


Gifts for Bacon lovers




Then there’s always BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS:


Books I’ve come across recently that I highly recommend:

The Devil’s Picnic, by Taras Grescoe (and Bottomfeeder, his latest)

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (not new, but I think everyone should read it and it’s an easy read)

Brain fuel, by Joe Schwarctz – fun for any curious mind



La Cuisine et le gout des épices, Ethneé et Philippe de Vienne

Anita Stewart’s Canada


(Only for cooks):

Under Pressure, Thomas Keller

Ma Gastronie, by Fernand Point republished


Canada’s top ten cookbooks http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=192802&sc=85


For Kids:

There’s a barnyard in my bedroom, David Suzuki – bringing nature into our urban landscape for perspective, also ‘The Salmon Forest’

Whining and Dining, by Emma Waverman and Eshon Mott – cooking for kids, with real food and enough flavour for adults


If there ever was an artisan to support.. There’s this Algonquin guy my mom met who writes books for kids (in English/French) and (English/Algonquin), beautiful and informative for a kid from here I would think (examples: ‘Where is the wolf?’, Strange spring’)

Jean Denis Coté is his name, to order:

jdcote07ågmail.com, http://www.aaao.ca/cote.htm


Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 03:14PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

February 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFernand Point
Four monthes later, still love it!
April 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterNancy Hinton
I personally love to cook, and with all the great things I had read in this site, I surely wish to have a friend that will also give me this kind of frying pan.
August 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertazzy18

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