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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, December 2

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« From Bessie to Bacon I Had Jimmy Johns Yesterday. And I'm Sort Of Concerned About It. »

Random Wed Dec 22 2010

The Working Professional's Guide to Holiday Hostess Gifts: How to Look Thoughtful Without Having to Think

If you're reading this my friend, then we are in the same boat. Here we are, the week of Christmas and rather than spending hours at home baking, planning, decorating, preparing, and calming down our needlessly frantic mothers, we're at work. We are closing up books and projects, finalizing statements and proposals, and putting in a good end to 2010. While keeping your nose to the grindstone you realize, "I'm supposed to bring something to this holiday feast? Seriously!?"

I'm here to help. You need something that is unique, thoughtful, and quick. You are a young working professional after all...

First, the good old fashioned cheese and sausage. But really, this year's block o' cheddar and Johnsonville Summer Sausage just isn't going to cut it. I have two suggestions for you.

First: Creminelli's Musica Salami and Americano Salami. The Musica "starts out like a salami and finishes like a liver pâté." It's an elegant choice. The Americano is a sweeter sausage. The pigs are finished in an apple orchard and there is a light hint of cinnamon for the hometown touch. They come hand-wrapped in charming little brown paper packages. Available at Pastoral, Fox & Obel and others.

DSC_0619.JPG DSC_0618.JPG

Second: Bleu Mont Dairy's Bandaged Cheddar. I first heard about this award-winning cheese from the French chef that taught my first class at Kendall. If anyone should know good cheese, it's this guy. Coming from someone that *hates* cheddar, Bleu Mont's Bandaged version is smooth and creamy, without being gummy. It's nutty and earthy and easily the best cheese I've had this year. Available at Pastoral, if you're lucky and they haven't sold out, as often happens.

Thirdly, you know you are as addicted to Mad Men as the rest of us. So, rather than bring the standard "bottle of wine" shake things up a bit with Mad Men Manhattan. In order to bring on that Don Draper mystique Chicago-style, mix your manhattan with Koval's Lion's Pride Dark Whiskey . You can buy Koval spirits at Andersonville Wine & Spirits, Binnys, City Provisions, and more spots here.

And lastly, what says "bring on the party" like a holiday growler from your local favorite brewery? Logan Square's Revolution Brewing, Chicago's newbie, has a Fistmas Beer would be worth the Thursday night drive by. It's hopped with Chinook for pine aromas and spiced with ginger and orange peel.

Lincoln Square's Half Acre's Daisy Cutter has taken Chicago by storm this year, so if the folks you are celebrating with haven't had it, you'd better provide the introduction. It is a hoppy, aromatic West Coast Pale Ale.

Bucktown's Piece Brewery is the veteran of the group but has been pouring consistently good stuff since 2001. Their Dark & Curvy Dunkelweizen is sure to get at least an eyebrow raise from your mother-in-law, but the German Style Wheat goes down easy. All of these microbreweries will be closed on the 24th and 25th so you may have to plan ahead just a bit.

Hang in there, toiling few. We're all in this one together.

Happy shopping!

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Papa Ted / December 22, 2010 11:01 AM

Nice to see my pictures of the salumi from Thanksgiving. Folk need to remember to slice them very thin!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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