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December 19, 2008

The Very Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide Part 2

by guest writer, Brooke Cheshier

Unless you plan to make it a Very Wal-Mart Christmas, you only have six shopping days left. Seven maybe, but you’re re-heally pushing it. Before you panic and start stuffing your sweetheart’s stocking with those mini bottles of airplane liquor you stashed away for a “special” occasion, we have a few more gifts for you to consider. Because trust us, your honey deserves more than a holiday cheese ball and a hangover.

Get Cultured: As in bacterial cultures and cheese curds. The premiere issue of Culture: The Word on Cheese landed on my doorstep this month. Since its arrival, I have been dreaming blue cheese and barley wine dreams.

This new magazine from cheese aficionados Lassa Skinner (Oxbow Cheese Merchant) and Kate Arding will introduce your friends and family to cheesemongers around the world. They will learn how to store, serve and even eat cheese.  They’ll also increase their cheese IQs and meet a few happy Normande cows (whose rich, rich milk is a delectable favorite among cheessmakers). Cheese pros and renowned authors like Janet Fletcher and Laura Werlin are contributors to this new, protein-rich magazine.

This magazine isn’t just about making and eating cheese. It’s also about tradition and culture and embracing a richer way of living (cheesy pun intended). After reading one issue I wanted to drown myself in triple-crème and truffles. And have an Irish cheddar affair.

  • Take a sneak peak at Culture’s inaugural issue at www.culturecheesemag.com. Once you’re hooked by the rich, creamy prose, simply click on the Subscribe link and fill out the form. If you want to order an extra copy for yourself, I won’t tell anyone.

Feed Your Inner Literati: People think everything we do out here in wine country centers around eating and drinking. It’s a common misconception, and it doesn’t hurt our feelings. Really. You should know, however, that in between all the fabulous imbibing (and it’s all fabulous), we find plenty of time to feed our minds and souls, too.

That’s where The Threepenny Review comes in. This large format, newspaper style magazine has it all: criticism, fiction, poetry and that not-yet-lost art form, the essay. Some of the literary world’s best authors use this quarterly journal as a creative outlet. 

This holiday season, give someone you love a collection of beautiful words. A pastoral from Louise Gluck may be one of the most underrated gifts of the season, but it won’t be underappreciated. The editors and authors of this nonprofit publication will appreciate your contribution, too.

Max Beerbohm once wrote that, “To give and not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving.” He’s a little verbose, but you get the idea. Give something that gives back. You won’t regret it.

  • To subscribe to The Threepenny Review, go to www.threepennyreview.com. Take the concept of “giving back” a step further by making a donation to this unique publication. A hundred dollars makes you one of the nonprofit’s beloved Silver Bells. Five hundred grants you entrée into the prestigious league of The Golden Bowl.

Engage in a Little Frivolity: Doug Biederbeck’s philosophy in restaurants and in life has always been high-low. The owner of San Francisco’s Bix restaurant has never believed in doing anything lukewarm.  Which is why Bixology, a sexy, leather-bound guide to cocktail culture and the good life is such an intoxicating gift.

In Bay Area circles, Doug is known as the ultimate guy’s guy, but Bixology isn’t just for the boys. In fact, this alcoholic version of Schott’s Miscellany will appeal to anyone who believes, “If it doesn’t taste like alcohol it’s not a proper cocktail.”

This slim, 156-page volume is about more than just getting a bit gin-y. It’s about embracing life with style. It’s about polish and class and not just “doin’ it well,” but doing it right. Don’t worry you’ll still learn how to shake – and strain – a genuine, honest-to-God Martini. And raise your glass in a proper toast.

Bixology is a contagiously fun read (don’t skip the chapter on Five Essential Jazz Albums). But don’t worry. As Beerbohm also once wrote, “Nobody ever died of laughter.”

  • Bixology will be available through normal channels (i.e. Amazon and national booksellers) in March. Until then, you can order your copy on the Bix Restaurant website, www.bixrestaurant.com. Secrets for great living for only $16.95? It’s the ultimate bargain gift. You might even have enough left over to buy a copy for yourself, too.

Brooke Cheshier spends most weekends watching SEC Football and stealing blackberries from the neighbors. She is the wine correspondent for G -The Magazine of Greenville, where she makes heavenly matches between southern eats and the world of drinks. Visit her blog at:  http://aficionada.squarespace.com.

Posted by Pamela at December 19, 2008 9:05 AM| Share on Facebook |

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