Food & Drink

The 2019 Gift Guide for Southern Cooks

A baker’s dozen ideas for anyone who appreciates Southern food (and drink), from ham holders and silver storers to sugar-fried pecans and peach-jalapeño jam

A New Take on Cast-Iron Cookware
Nearly four years ago, when Isaac Morton first began producing his Smithey Ironware Co. skillets in G&G’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, we were instantly intrigued by the buttery-smooth pans. Smithey is part of a phalanx of artisan metalsmiths forging new takes on traditional Southern skillets, including Butter Pat and Blanc Creatives. Now, Morton is expanding the Smithey line to include the one item that many home cooks value just as much as a skillet—a 5.5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with a domed lid, handsome brass nob, and glassy pre-seasoned interior surface. The lid does double duty; it fits Smithey’s 10-inch skillet, too, turning it into a shallow braiser. $295; ggfieldshop.com


Peach Jam with a Kick
The peach-jalapeño jam from Stephen and Jessica Rose, the couple behind Nashville’s beloved Peach Truck, strikes a perfectly sweet-and-spicy balance on a ham biscuit. (Read more about the couple here.) The jam is available as a ready-to-wrap three-jar gift box or mix it up with the Rose’s traditional peach jam and a boozy peach-bourbon blend. $33; thepeachtruck.com


Holiday Ham Helper
So you’ve got a whole country ham ready for holiday get-togethers… now what? Order a ham stand, right? Not so fast. Many stands on the market are designed to hold Spanish Serrano and Ibérico hams, which have the hoof attached. But unless you have an inside source, most domestic hams arrive hoof-less. Perhaps unsurprisingly, having a whole ham in need of slicing is a not-infrequent occurrence around the G&G office, where we have found that the Spanish-made Jamonprive Folding Stand works wonders with American hams. Position the hinged Y-shaped arm right where you need it on the shank end, press the butt end onto the stabilizing spike, then tighten the screws and start slicing. $69; amazon.com


…And the Knife to Slice it with
Another one from the “we’ve-learned-by-experience” files: A paper-thin knife really does result in slices to match. This flexible, stainless steel blade, also from Jamonprive, has a plastic protector to help guide you as you learn to take delicate slices. $30;  amazon.com


Like Baileys, but Southern
Think of the Butter Pecan Sippin’ Cream from Sugarlands Distilling—makers of the fine rye whiskey G&G’s drinks columnist recommended earlier this year—as Baileys distant kin who left Ireland for the hills of East Tennessee, where it adapted to local custom and took up its abode in a mason jar. The sweet, creamy, nutty concoction really kicks up coffee at Sunday brunch. Or serve it straight over ice as an after-dinner indulgence. $29; sugarlands.com


A Cutting Board for Perfectionists
The home-cooking geniuses at Food52 keep coming up with brilliant tools to help make getting dinner on the table an easier, faster, and more pleasant experience. This year, they’ve developed another clever design: the Food52 x Epicurean Precision Cutting Board, which is printed with measurements for cutting perfectly uniform cubed potatoes and matchsticked carrots. $59; food52.com


Sweet-and-Savory Pecans
The key to Ocmulgee Orchards Sugar Fried Pecans is the hint of salt; it enhances the flavor of the nuts and adds a savory element to their sweetness. It’s a recipe the Johnson family has been perfecting since the 1970s at their 200-acre orchard in Hawkinsville, Georgia. Twin brothers David and Donald now run the operation with the help of their children, preparing thousands of pounds of these treats each holiday season. Set their pecans out at a party, and they’ll practically evaporate from the serving bowl. $26; ggfieldshop.com


Carolina Coffee
With packaging bearing pretty floral embellishments from local Greenville, South Carolina, painter Annie Koelle, each 12-ounce bag of Methodical Coffee makes for a stocking-stuffer or hostess gift you don’t even have to wrap. All of the beans are meticulously-sourced from around the world and roasted near the outfit’s downtown coffee shop. Keep the good times percolating with a 3-, 6-, or 12-month gift subscription. From $14 per 12-ounce bag or $54 for a 3-month subscription; methodicalcoffee.com


Silver Drawer Storage
We should tell you at the outset that this gift probably won’t be ready in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. But when a custom-built SilverGuard flatware drawer insert does finally arrive, we feel quite confident that it will thoroughly delight any Southern silver collector. The process is simple: measure (twice for certainty) and send your specs to Austin, Texas-based craftsman Patrick Burgeson, who’s been making silver-care products since 1988, agree to a quote (custom prices vary based on size, but a standard 12-x-18-inch insert starts at $149), then eagerly watch for the delivery truck at the agreed-upon time. Each insert is lined in authentic Pacific Cloth, which helps silver retain its shine, and the support bridges can be made with your choice of wood finishes (cherry, maple, red oak).
From $149; silverguard.com


Cotton to this Gin
Brown water might be the traditional flask filler for toasting a successful hunt (or even an unsuccessful one). But Oaklee Distilling Co. in Wendell, North Carolina, aims to offer an alternative with Master Bobwhite gin. Distilled with botanicals London Dry style, the 102-proof gin has a citrus-y, juniper-forward quality. $30; oakleedistilling.com


Here’s to the Hunt
Radcliff Menge left behind a Wall Street career to launch the Tom Beckbe line of waxed-cotton hunting jackets and vests inspired by his roots spent hunting and fishing along Alabama’s Tombigbee River. His 8-ounce stainless-steel bottle flask, wrapped in oak- or chestnut-stained leather, includes a metal funnel and four toasting cups. $150; tombeckbe.com


The Secret to Great Grilling 
Hands-down one of the most useful kitchen tools this side of a cast-iron skillet, the classic Thermapen—originally developed for commercial kitchens—offers precise internal temperature readings within 2-3 seconds, so you’ll know exactly when that duck breast has reached a perfectly rosy-red medium-rare. $79; thermoworks.com


Clay Courses
If your recipient enjoys making dinner, it stands to reason that he or she might also enjoy making the items that beautiful meals are served on. Give an experience and the tangible gift that results from it by booking a session at one of the many clay studios across the South that offer beginner-level classes. Make it a single-day endeavor at an urban studio, like Atlanta Clay Works, The Clay Lady in Nashville, or Austin Pottery in the Texas capital. All offer traditional wheel-thrown pottery classes as well as beginner-friendly hand-building techniques. Or make a vacation of it at a place like Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which offers a full schedule of three-day adult arts classes in January and February, taught by working craftspeople from around Appalachia and beyond. Prices vary.

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Our Thursday morning teacher, Dorie Mickelson, makes handles look fun! #pottery #demoday #potteryclass

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Holiday gift guides from G&G
>> Gift Ideas for Southern Cooks
>> Gift Ideas for Those Closest to You
>> Gift Ideas Under $150
>> Gift Ideas for Every Budget


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