The Food Column: Gifts for food folks


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Ho ho ho, it's time to fill up your Santa sack with gifts for all the good little foodies. This year, we've got several gift ideas for the food-and-Pittsburgh lovers on your list:

Local restaurant cookbook: Do your family members and friends love eating out in Pittsburgh? They might enjoy a new cookbook that would allow them to replicate local restaurant dishes in their home kitchens.

The women of eatPGH.com -- Laura Zorch, Sarah Sudar, Mandy McFadden and Julia Gongaware -- are bringing out their second book, "Pittsburgh Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Steel City," on Dec. 17.

But you can get an early copy by attending a release party from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Marty's Market in the Strip District. Tickets are $50 and include a copy of the book, hors d'oeuvres provided by Marty's, beer from Full Pint Brewery, music and dancing. (For tickets and information: eatPGH.com.)

The book, part of a series that started in other cities, includes more than 90 recipes by area chefs and restaurateurs. The authors have also interviewed chefs so you can get a behind-the-scenes glance at your favorite local eateries.

Recipes include Baked Ground Hazelnut Ricotta Cake from Larry Lagatutta of Enrico Biscotti Co., Stinging Nettles Soup from Trevett Hooper of Legume, and Bone Marrow Ravioli from Justine Severino of Cure.

Alternative-format cookbook: North Hills High School and Stanford University graduate Ben Funk spearheaded the development of "GULA," a flowchart-style cookbook, through a Kickstarter campaign last year. The $30 hardcover book seeks to reinvent the traditional recipe format for digital-age cooks who are more accustomed to graphics than to words-only formats. Mr. Funk said individuals with autism and other visual thinkers, as well as non-native English speakers, might benefit from this reformatted recipe style. He solicited -- and then reformatted -- favorite recipes from his relatives and Kickstarter backers as well as developing his own.

Mr. Funk's high school friend, graphic artist Jack Gazdik, helped to design the book.

Books are available through gularecipe.com.

City Dining Cards: This "deck of cards" features $10-off coupons (on bills of at least $30) for 50 locally-owned restaurants, plus coupons for other locally-made items like cutting boards, bottle openers and more. For each deck sold, 5 percent goes to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. One deck costs $20. To order, go to citydiningcards.com.

Pittsburgh on your dishes: In the Kitchen, the Strip District kitchen store, is selling white porcelain dishware featuring Pittsburgh landmarks. Items include Pittsburgh map plates, Pittsburgh skyline trivets, square plates with 24 different buildings and bridges, and a host of Steeler items. shopinthekitchen.com.

Gift guide: This last one isn't so much a gift idea as a place you can go to get your own ideas. The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture has compiled a "Good Gifts Guide" listing local foodstuffs and other products on sale for the holidays -- artisan cheeses, beers and wines, CSA shares, restaurant meals, gardening supplies, gift baskets, honey, meats, soaps and lotions and more: pasafarming.org/get-involved/good-gifts.

More gifts

All-Clad seconds sales: Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6 through 8, at two local stores: In the Kitchen, Strip District (shopinthekitchen.com), and Crate, Scott Township (cratecook.com). Also Friday and Saturday at Washington County Fairgrounds (facebook.com/allclad).

DIY Gift Ideas class: Jackie Cleary of Auburn Meadow Farm shares simple and sweet holiday gift ideas made with local products. She'll focus on how to make and use apple cider molasses. Guests can sample bacon jam, caramels and other items made with the molasses. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at East End Food Co-op in Point Breeze. Suggested $10 donation benefits Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Reservations: 412-242-3598.

Books in the 'Burgh: PG food writer Miriam Rubin, author of "Tomatoes," and Western Pennsylvania native Kathy Hunt, author of "Fish Market," are among 60 writers representing nearly 150 titles at this book fair showcasing local authors of all genres. Author talks are scheduled, and signed copies of books will be available for sale. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Heinz History Center, Strip District. Free admission. heinzhistorycenter.org.

Holiday food

Lawrenceville "Joy of Cookies" Cookie Tour: Cookie Tourists can sample shopkeepers' favorite cookies at more than 30 participating Lawrenceville businesses today through Sunday, Dec. 8. Most businesses will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Many shops will also offer special discounts and opportunities to win prizes or gift cards. Information: lvpgh.com/cookietour.


Rebecca Sodergren: pgfoodevents@hotmail.com or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.

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