We at SWK have been famous for...... well not famous for but perhaps known for….ok, again likely not truly known for but maybe recognized on occasion for leaning toward an epicurean genre of gift giving options.
I mean, seriously, how can one go wrong when making a present of food and/or drink?
Well, unless of course, it’s a fruitcake. Then it’s so totally wrong. In some quarters receiving a fruitcake is like getting dead flowers. It tells you something about how the gifter feels toward you and believe me it’s not likely to be endearing affection.
Yesterday while in the grocery store there were samples. I love sample day. Years ago when we lived in that fine metro area to the south of us LSC Lil, patient woman that she is, used to ask if I was ever going to take her to lunch somewhere other than D&W on Fridays.
Last week we were in a Meijer store (Alpine I think) and they were giving out whiskey samples. For real. In miniature shot glasses. Yes we did.
Anyway this store had blueberry turnover samples which were marvelous and fruitcake that was rather emphatically declined by all who I watched hit up the sample station.
But I digress.
Stumped at this point are you? Searching for that gift that will deliver a little peace of mind and cure the “it’s almost here and I got no clue what to get” blues?
SWK has just one word for you.
Stuff to eat and drink.
Two reasons. First off if it’s a regular type present the giftee immediately has to feign excitement, consider what to do with it, wonder how it fits in their life and if it doesn’t how to go about not hurting your feelings because your gift kind of, well, sucked I guess.
Not so with edibles. There’s a little anticipation of how that salmon will go with the nice Chardonnay accompanying it, some planning for the chocolate to be part of a late night snack and maybe how those steaks ae going to look on a plate nestled beside a perfectly done baked potato..
Then here’s a few ideas.
Gala Gourmet in downtown Newaygo is an epicurean treasure for foodies throughout the region. Owner Terrie Ortwein (known to SWK as simply “T”) has created a classic culinary colony of scrumptiousness with an exotic array of cheeses and meats (and generally salmon) along with some nice antipasto options in the deli case, breads and baked goods in the neighboring counter, Ferris coffee (Love the Colombian French Roast but for a special treat the upscale Blue Mountain is sublime) and grass-fed beef from Great Lakes Cattle Co. of Fremont.
Then there’s the wine. Gala Gourmet boasts an outstanding selection and they are knowledgeable for those of us who may not be oenophilically inclined. I once went to T and asked for a wide selection of wines for a dinner party and the guests marveled at the options offered, praise I personally embraced as my own of course.
They also have a gallery of cookware conducive to creative cheffery if you’ve someone on your list who enjoys such activity. For me it’s more of a spectator sport while awaiting the enjoyment of the finished product.
Jerkies Jerky Factory is also in downtown Newaygo and boasts the best dried meat in the universe (SWK personal opinion perhaps, but one formed from decades of jerky samplings). They will create a gift basket bearing samples of their wide variety of sumptuous snacks along with Michigan beers and wines, some of their dips and a smattering of their other tasty delights. It’s a pretty safe bet present-wise because many more of us chew jerky than eschew jerky. There’s just something immensely satisfying about gnawing on a bit of jerky while, say, on a road trip or watching a ballgame or maybe in line at the Secretary of State’s office. Anytime really, but word of advice from someone who knows, it’s not always a great idea during job interviews.
How about a box of steaks? Would you say no to a little collection of NY Strips or T-Bones staring you in the face as you open your gift? Yeah, neither would I though one needs to be aware of the level of carnivorousness in the giftee. I mean you certainly don’t want to risk slapping some ‘Secret Santa’ steaks in front of a person who has chosen a vegan path. As in all such situations, one must be certain of the culinary customs of one’s giftee, but those who enjoy a fine filet of beef will beam at the thoughtfulness. Gene’s Market in Grant (as the James Earl Jones sound-alike guy says all too frequently on TV) has the meat.
The Vanderlaans have done wonders with this little grocery gem since purchasing it earlier this year including instituting changes and redoing sections but the meat counter, a staple for those of us who like to get a custom cut from time to time, remains.
Order a box for the brother-in -law, the boss, the barber, the neighbor who owns a plow and gives you a free push now and again, or perhaps the pal who might invite you over to share in the bounty.
We know the dilemma staring some of you down. Desperation looms for those who have yet to fill their shopping lists, but fear not Near Northians. SWK will keep at it this week as an ongoing public service to our readers.
And again shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’ve an idea that bears investigation and we will put our crack team of wily shoppers into the fray.
And always remember….