With a little planning and a couple of cocktails the holidays can go down smoother than a pint of spiked egg nog. Gut Check's assembled a series of guides to help find the perfect present for the food lover in your life while maintaining sanity and investing in your community... and, okay, maybe picking up a thing or two for yourself along the way.
Is there anything better than curling up with a good book on a cold, dreary day? Why, yes. There is -- curling up with a good book that inspires you to whip up some hearty chili or simmer some mulled wine.
Give the gift of warmth this season with a locally produced and locally focused book. Not only will the recipes, memories or chronicles of beer lore lead to inspiration and (we hope!) toasty, delicious eats for you and your loved ones, your purchase from a local author or book shop is like a giant, cozy bear hug for your community. A really good one, too. One that maybe goes on just a few seconds longer than it should.
-The Wisejack Man's Cookbook is a great gift for any wannabe cook who lacks kitchen experience, though it's marketed specifically to the -- let's not sugarcoat things -- clueless-dude demographic. Purchase a copy through the Wisejack Man's website. ($24.95 for the regular edition, $45 for the limited edition)
-Stirring it Up With Molly Ivins is a memoir and recipe collection by St. Louis native Ellen Sweets, a close friend of Ivins. Copies are available at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) and in the shop's Web store. ($29.95)
-Finally, A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis By and For St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood serves as a love letter to and a tour of St. Louis for out-of-towners, new residents and lifers. Copies are available for sale at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) and several other local shops. ($18)
-Recipe Records is a locally produced, rock & roll-themed cook book for hungry music aficionados. Copies are available through the authors' website with free shipping, as well as at Vintage Vinyl, Left Bank Books and Phoenix Rising. ($19.95)
-Brew in the Lou: St. Louis' Beer Culture, Past, Present and Future by Post-Dispatch beer guru Evan Benn explores the history of beer in St. Louis and makes a great gift for any beer lover. Copies are available here. ($19.95)
-More Special Requests shares recipes found in St. Louis restaurants plucked straight from the Post-Dispatch pages. Plus, if you order More Special Requests now you'll get a free copy of Special Requests. Copies are available here. ($24.95)
-Saint Louis Days Saint Louis Nights is a classic cookbook filled with St. Louis recipes (gooey butter cake, T-ravs). A great gift for any St. Louisan, especially transplants who want to blend in like a shred of Provel on an Imo's twelve-inch. Copies are available through the Junior League of St. Louis. ($22.95)