Last-Minute Gifts for Local Foodies

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be squeezing in some last-minute shopping this holiday season. To help, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite food-related books and DVDs. Whenever possible I like to do my gift shopping at two places I frequent: food coops and the internet. Here are items you can pick up while you get your groceries or surf the web in your PJ’s:

For the traditionalist... 

 The Minnesota Table by Shelley N.C. Holl & B.J. Carpenter ($16.50-$25)

Available at and Twin Cities coops

This book is required reading for anyone interested in local and seasonal foods in the Upper Midwest. In addition to its fantastic recipes, The Minnesota Table walks readers through seasonal traditions like freezing berries and creating a modern-day root cellar to keep you eating local throughout the winter. It also highlights the stories of local food producers, making a great read for anyone interested in the story behind their food. (See what else I had to say about The Minnesota Table in my review here).

For the bargain shopper...

Chinook Book ($15-20)

Available at Byerly’s, Lunds, REI, Kowalski’s, & Twin Cities coops or online with free shipping

Formerly known as the Blue Sky Guide, the Chinook Book is the coupon book for shoppers who frequent businesses with a green/local/sustainable bent. I bought three last year and recouped more than the cost of each one. And it’s more than just a coupon book: Chinook also features neighborhood guides, handy charts, and other resources specific to shopping in the Twin Cities.

For the local foods curious...

FRESH ($29.95 for home screening DVD copy)

Available at

I have plenty of friends who are intrigued by the whole local/organic foods scene, but don’t know much about it. For them, I recommend the documentary FRESH. Where Food, Inc. is a tad foreboding, FRESH offers an optimistic view of where the food system could be if we all made better choices. It profiles some of my favorite food heroes (Joel Salatin, Will Allen, and Russ Kremer), and inspires us to think about how food affects community.

For the gluten-sensitive...

2011 Allergy-Friendly Recipe Calendar (pictured above)

Available at ($12 + shipping/handling)

This beautiful 12-month calendar made by local blogger Kim Christensen features recipes free of just about any food someone could be allergic to. But with delicious recipes for things like Smoky Zucchini Dip with Wholegrain Crackerbread, it holds appeal for even those who tolerate dairy, nuts, and shellfish just fine. Check out her site for a peek at the kinds of photographs offered in the calendar, and prepare to have your mouth water.

For the gourmonds...

Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home by Stewart Woodman

Available at and local bookstores ($18.45-$27.95)

As I wrote in my recent review, the tone of this book is infectious. Minneapolis chef Woodman has an unmatched passion for food, and it shines through in the anecdotes that accompany his recipes. Admittedly it would take a special occasion for me to attempt most of these recipes, but for the more accomplished home cooks this book is a fun way to try restaurant-quality recipes at home. If you’re feeling especially generous, you could include a coupon for a free dinner at Heidi’s, so that your recipient can compare their own cooking to that of the Woodman’s when the new location opens in January.


Leslie Kruempel likes bringing people together to talk about real food, whether it's through the Real Food Minnesota gathering, Twin Cities Crop Mob, or on Twitter. Follow her at @realfoodmn.