Here Come Hanukkah and Christmas

Reminder: Hanukkah starts Sunday Dec. 22 and Christmas is on Wednesday Dec. 25. That gives you less than three weeks to get it all together for the impending storm, and that's precisely why The Fork is here with some cool gift ideas for the foodies in your life. We're gonna try to throw down with a variety of products for a variety of people and price ranges, but we're also open to your ideas which we'll probably share with everyone in a future Fork. Let's go!

For the gaming dorks in your lives—and don't kid yourselves, you know some—we're really digging this Skyrim heat-changing mug. It's a clever use of the game's opening moments wherein, during a time of strife in Tamriel, the player regains consciousness in a prisoner transport wagon. The mug is heat-changing, so though it appears solid black when cold, adding a hot bevvie reveals the scene—a bearded man addressing the drinker: "Hey, you. You're finally awake." he notes. With this-here coffee, you bet I am!

Keeping up with the dork theme, and with the understanding that everyone everywhere loves Star Wars because that's the law, we're pretty down with this R2-D2 instant pot from Williams Sonoma. You'll be instant-potting in droid style with this precocious little bastard and then also the people in your life who come over will be all like, "Wow. You sure do like Star Wars!" It'll show everybody. IT'LL SHOW EVERYBODY!!!

If it's snacks you're after for any of the big days, keep it local with some caramel corn courtesy of everyone's favorite local candy maker, Señor Murphy's. The shop actually has a ton of cool ideas, from artsy tins filled with sweets to good old-fashioned handmade chocos available in pretty much any variety your little heart desires. We mention this one because it's pretty cheap and The Fork's mom loves caramel corn.

Harry & David has just a bonkers huge assortment of awesome Hanukkah gifts, but we're going with this schmancy box o' pears. Why? Well, have you ever had a really great pear? Yeah, you'd know if you had. Pears rule, and they're good for you and the whole design of the box and the pears and all is classy as hell. You're welcome, America.

We know you probably know some vegans who like food, but you're a diehard carnivore who teases them relentlessly looking to prove you have an open mind. What to do? Simple—try on this six-variety range of vegan ice creams from Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen. You can choose the flavors, and you'll feel good knowing that Van Leeuwen's history is in every bite … or some dumb shit like that. Anyway, don't be surprised if it's better than you think, you monsters.

Don't worry, meat dorks—we've got something for you, too, and it's the kind of thing that'll make your meat eating buddies wonder how you did it while not breaking the bank. We're talking the KLEMOO needle meat tenderizer. Y'read that right, it's a bunch of needles that tenderize your meat something fierce and, as we all know, tender meat is good meat. Or something. Look, there are a million little kitchen gadgets out there that seem insignificant or weird or whatever, but they're all cool. All of them. Someone will love this thing.

Or maybe it's something as simple as pizza that you want, right? Everyone loves pizza, right? But not everyone has the means to just whip up a pizza, let alone cook it in a way reminiscent of The Jetsons or whatever future … uh … thing one imagines when thinking of future pizza (it's obviously Back to the Future II). Anyway, check out this countertop pizza oven from Pizzazz. It looks cool and it apparently makes kickass pies. The Fork actually has a friend who's a literal pizza consultant (it's a big thing, look it up), and he says this bad boy is pretty cool for use in the home. Pretty cool? If that's not a resounding recommendation, we don't know what is!

There's also a whole wide world of food subscription boxes out there, from companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron and, probably, others. But we're a little more into Love with Food, a company we learned about from SFR's copy editor and that not only has all kinds of tiers and snacks and cool things you might otherwise never hear about, but who donates meals to families in need through a partnership with Feeding America. Every month, stuff'll show up and the people to whom you gifted this thing will think, "What good friends!"

If it's giving you're in the mood for, look no further than Santa Fe-based nonprofit Kitchen Angels, which prepares and delivers meals to those in need in and around Santa Fe and which is staffed with just some really super nice people. If you visit the "Donate" section of their site, you can set up a one-time or recurring donation in someone's name. And, really, isn't that what it's all about?

And then, of course, let us not forget the many, MANY local restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, wine stores, kitchen paraphernalia-havers and other such small Santa Fe-owned businesses that would probably love if you were to walk through the door and buy up some gift certificates. Try to start local … brick and mortar, baby! Santa Fe looks out for itself, right? Right. So you should do that. Or treat someone to a meal. Or go cook for someone. Or maybe send The Fork one of those gigantic gummi pythons with advertising that seems borderline erotic? Whatevs. Just remember that not everyone is food secure, and donating to Kitchen Angels is just one way you can help out people in need. Think of others this season. Like The Fork. Who really wants that effing python.

Look at this thing. LOOK AT IT!!!

¡WEIRD CHRISTMAS FACTS ALERT!

And now, for one of our very favorite Fork traditions—the telling of weird holiday stuff as a means to illuminate and educate, but to also bring us closer together during the holidays.

For example, did you know that despite its terribly creepy modern-day tradition of uninvited kissing, mistletoe was actually once a symbol of virility? In other words, its standing-under-it origins are actually less handsy and more about letting people know you're down to bone. Either way, don't ever ever ever ever ever use it as an excuse to put hands on someone who isn't consenting.

Y'know that classic Christmas jam "We Wish You a Merry Christmas?" Turns out that it began as a more of a threatening jeer. See, in England—where Christmas somehow seems so much more valid because of Charles Dickens, which is a story for another time—the song was originally shrieked at wealthy landowners and bosses as an increasingly frantic reminder that tradition dictated they fete and/or booze up their workers. Think about it: "We won't go until we get some…"

Eggnog, which is disgusting, face it, was apparently created in 1607 Jamestown, so setting aside its colonial bullshit heritage, let it be known that it was born of the term "grog," which is pretty much any drink with rum in it. Eggs and rum sounds like a great way to feel awful.

Did you know there was a cease-fire/truce during the WWI Christmas of 1914? There's a whole book about it called Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. Anyway, both sides exchanged gifts and played sports together and stuff. True story.

Y'know how the Christmas color scheme is red and green and maybe gold? Well, the red represents the blood of Christ, the green is for life (y'know, life plants and such), and the gold is for wealth and money since we all act like we're rich at Christmas like a bunch of weirdos.

Nova Scotia grows more Christmas trees than anyone else—so take that, Delancey Street!

We'll dig up some more fun stuff for a future Fork!

Also

-Our friends tell us that they're now 100% sure Crackin' Crab is back open in their same location at 604 N Guadalupe St. We wrote about 'em a little over a year ago, but the place shut down for a time. Maybe if seafood is your game, this is your … place. Whatever, just know that.

-Speaking of SFR's food coverage, since we were off for Thanksgiving last week, we didn't get a chance to share this profile Zibby Wilder did on Coyote Café/Santacafé owner Quinn Stephenson. We like Stephenson, in no small part because he's not some trust fund dorkus who spent his family's money to own a restaurant—he worked his way up from busser to big time owner. Like, in the movie of our lives, Quinn Stephenson goes to the regular kid summer camp and totally sticks it to the rich kids on the other side of the lake.

The Santa Fe Master Gardener Association (which should be recognizable to longtime Fork readers because we think they're cool) has a great newsletter that goes out into the world, and the most recent edition has tips for foraging for cocktail ingredients. Rad, right?

The Santa Fe Farmers Market is upping its game for the holidays with special guest vendors in addition to all the regular stuff. From now until January 11, find special booths and deals and good stuff for gifts. Note that the Tuesday Market is closed for the remainder of the year.

-Do you know about the Rowley Farmhouse Ales Honor Society? If you're into beer (or looking for a good gift for someone you know who's into beer), it's a great value. For the $75 membership fee, you get access to high-end beer glasses, the right to purchase special brews online before anyone else, a catered party and other such perks. Check it out here. Oh, and don't forget that Rowley cleaned up at the Great American Beer Festival this year, so there's that, too.

More Tidbits

-Y'know how the whole dang world seems to be losing its mind over chicken sandwiches? First (and we don't mean EVER, we just mean in the context of this news item) there was Chick-fil-A, and people didn't like that place because they notoriously donate to anti-LGBTQIA2+ causes (though they recently said they'd stop that, but then they also walked that back). Then there was Popeye's, a sammie apparently so good, people were getting stabbed over it. So now, since they're no shrinking violet, McDonald's is entering the fray with their own crispy chicken sammies. It's in the test phase now through Jan. 26.

-Starbuck's has a new holiday drink called the Irish Cream Cold Brew, and it's pretty much what it sounds like without booze. Shop local, though.

-Over at getpocket.com, find a fascinating tale of the young worker whose produce stand job was like a crash course in fleecing foodies with little actual applicable knowledge. The short version? Conning people is easy.

-What do we actually know about Sleepytime herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings? Y'know, apart from how that sleepy-ass bear on the label looks sleepy AF? Not much, it turns out, but Food & Wine has a rather eye-opening piece on the tea's alarming ties to eugenics.

-You might think mashed potatoes are a cakewalk, but you'd be wrong—dead wrong. That's why we're sharing this guide on how to make 'em right or, perhaps more essentially, how to not make 'em wrong.

-Famous French chef André Daugin has sadly passed from pancreatic cancer. As this New York Times article will tell you, he was part of the culinary revolution of Gascony and an influence on so so many people. Mr. Daugin was 84.

-Lastly, in news from around the wide world o' food, turns out In-N-Out, the most perfectly OK burger joint to ever come down the pike, is gonna get sued for allegedly starting a California wildfire in 2017. Ruh-roh, Shaggy.

Finally

In the print edition of SFR, foodie stand-in Cole Rehbein journeyed to Madrid to test the famous Hollar restaurant while learning a thing or two about the catacombs beneath the one-time mining town.
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A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence 

Number of Letters Received
55
*Yeah, but it was 2 weeks worth of mail, so…

Most Helpful Tip of the Week 
“We like chile.”
*Oh, word? Us, too!

Actually Helpful Tip
“Crackin’ Crab is now open. I know because I went by there.”
*We hope it went OK!
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Crispily yours,
The Fork