When it comes to adventurous eaters, the average holiday cookie just won’t cut it. Here’s your chance to show all those foodie friends you can get on their level. We combed through our assortment and put together a secret recipe of gifts to entice all the culinary connoisseurs on your list.
What do you expect to see when you step foot on an urban rooftop? “A farm” probably isn’t high on the list, but if you make your way to the top of Building 3 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you will, in fact, find yourself surrounded by edible greenery. That’s due in no small part to the work of Ben Flanner, President & Director of Agriculture at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, where the peppers and herbs that give our Rooftop Garden Hot Sauce its unique flavor are grown. Getting hungry?
As if “President & Director of Agriculture” weren’t impressive enough, Ben’s also one of Brooklyn Grange’s co-founders; he started the venture with Vice President Anastasia Cole Plakias and Chief Operating Officer Gwen Schantz in 2010. Armed with a background in management consulting and financial marketing—neither of which, you may notice, are farming—Ben took quickly to his new line of work. “Creating more green spaces in cities is ecologically, socially, and economically valuable on so many levels,” he says. “Personally, though, the idea to start farming was spurred by my love of agriculture, vegetables, and all of the many challenges and hats worn by a farmer.”
So your dad’s impossible to shop for. So what? If one thing’s for sure, it’s that a guy’s gotta eat. For those who can’t imagine a Father’s Day gift that’s not a version of something Dad already has, let us present a selection of our most scrumptious, uncommon foodstuffs, from irresistibly tangy condiments to cocktail kits that’ll have him feeling like a real bartender. Check ’em all out below. (Sorry if we make you hungry, but some things can’t be helped.)
Does this face look familiar? It’s not just you. Loyal readers may recognize Lori Sandoval as one-third of the WomenMadeLA team we spotlighted back in December last year. For those who aren’t already in the know, Lori recently teamed up with fellow makers Sashee Chandran and Debbie Mullin, both of whom sell their wares here at UncommonGoods, to form a collective of lady entrepreneurs taking the City of Angels by storm. And now it’s her turn to take a dip in the limelight.
Like Debbie and Sashee, Lori’s creations are edible—sauces inspired by the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico, her parents’ home country, and ever-so-aptly dubbed “Mexican Cooking Sauces.” We’ll let you in on a secret here… they’re amazing. Like, “Where have you been all my life?” grade amazing. So it’s only natural that we had to ask her about them, just like we asked Sashee all about Tea Drops and Debbie about her delectable pour overs.
Read on for a full account of our conversation with flavor guru Lori, including talk of art history, sauce-loving kids, and wise words from the mouth—er, pen?—of Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalist extraordinaire.
Your kid has yet to discover that broccoli is delicious and they won’t touch anything that isn’t an unnatural color with a ten-foot fork. It’s going to be OK. While letting your kiddo live on gummy bears and microwaved mac ‘n cheese alone certainly isn’t an option, sneaking some healthy good stuff in their favorite meals is. These tips make breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes healthier, but they’re still completely kid-friendly. Serve up each meal with our Construction Plate & Utensils and your little one might even ask for seconds.
Breakfast: Kid-Approved Baked Goods
As the old saying goes, it’s the “most important meal of the day.” But if that meal is packed with sugar, your kiddo will crash before lunch. Start the day right by replacing the refined sugar in baked goods like mini muffins or waffle bites with a fruity alternative.
- 1 cup of no-sugar-added applesauce easily replaces 1 cup of white sugar
- Mash 3 medium bananas and add a splash of water to get the equivalent of 1 cup of sugar
As a self-proclaimed cheese connoisseur, I knew the moment I saw the Dairy Free Cheddar, Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit that it had to be mine. Melty mozzarella, creamy ricotta, tangy cheddar: say no more, you had me at melty. (Editor’s note: Morgan loves the Fondoodler, so her predilection for meltiness comes as no surprise to us.) I’ve dabbled in the realm of vegan cheese before, but as a non-vegan, I’m much more familiar with the dairy varieties of my favorite delicious treat. I decided to go to my local grocery store and sample their vegan wares and I was a little disappointed. The consistency and flavor just didn’t meet my exceptionally high cheese standards. Alas.
This is when I decided I was up for the challenge of creating a vegan cheese even the most dairy-loving person could enjoy.
As a former research scientist, I hypothesized that my laboratory skills could help me concoct this vegan cheese masterpiece. I knew there were challenges, based on my prior vegan cheese sampling and dislike for its odd texture, but the images on the box of this kit looked delightful and I decided to judge a book by its cover.
Pretty much everyone appreciates good food, but “foodies,” as they’re known, are another breed entirely. We all know at least one spice hoarder that fits the bill, and finding a gift to please their palate can be daunting, especially when you’ve seen them tackle ingredients out of one of Chopped’s crueler episodes. Thankfully, we’ve selected 15 of our favorite food-themed treats to make your life—and your holiday shopping—easier. Whether you’re on the hunt for something wearable, hangable, or, of course, edible, our well-seasoned selection of gifts for foodies has something just for you.
Even if you’ve never heard of Greyston Bakery, chances are good that you have, in fact, eaten their baked goods. Ever had a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, or spooned your way through a full pint of Half Baked? Congratulations! You’ve had a little bit of Greyston in your belly. And it’s no coincidence that both of those flavors made it to Ben & Jerry’s top 10 list last year—Greyston’s brownies, which you can now snag in four flavors at UncommonGoods, are mind-blowingly tasty.
That’s not all, though. Like UncommonGoods (and Ben & Jerry’s), Greyston Bakery is a proud B Corp, and it’s New York state’s first Benefit Corporation, too. Founded by Zen Buddhist Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1982 in Yonkers, New York, Greyston is best known for its unique hiring model, dubbed Open Hiring™. “Open Hiring is simple,” says Ariella Gastel, Greyston’s VP of Marketing and Business Development: “If you want a job, come to the bakery, sign your name on a list, and wait to be called. No questions asked. No resume or interview needed.” Designed to break down barriers for those seeking honest work, Greyston’s policy provides opportunities to Yonkers locals who might otherwise encounter difficulty obtaining a job, whether that means they’re single parents, have trouble speaking English, or once struggled with homelessness. “It is hard to imagine how many people want to work but can’t because of barriers,” says Ariella. “Our mission is [to] create thriving communities through the practice and promotion of Open Hiring.”
Though most of our real live visits are to artist’s studios, we couldn’t resist making the trip up to Yonkers to visit Greyston’s facility ourselves. The promise of brownies, of course, was a draw, but we were equally excited to see Greyston’s mission in action and to have the chance to meet Ariella and longtime team members Cece and Raymond. Armed with questions and juuust enough space in our tummies for a brownie or two, we set off for Yonkers from Grand Central Station, a mere half hour from our final destination.