Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
The gifts you give at Christmas say a lot about you. They can say, I Love You. They can say, I Didn’t Think About You Until the Last Minute Which Is Why I’m Blatantly Regifting This Gift to You. Or they can say, I Think You’re Pretty Weird and This Gift Reflects That. So, be on the lookout for the gifts below. They say a lot.
Bacon Wallet. It’s not like bacon is hard to find: you’ve probably already had a bacon doughnut, bacon cupcake and bacon-tini cocktail today. But the folks at Accoutrements seem to have thought long and hard about the last remaining non-bacon frontiers and gone for it. Hence their bacon air freshener, bacon (shaped) adhesive bandages and Mr. Bacon Bendable Action Figure. And, yes, the bacon wallet. Says one satisfied customer on Amazon: “If you’re rakin’ in the bacon, takin’ a bacon wallet is the best move you be makin’.”
Growing up with an Italian grandmother, Christmas meant befana cookies. My Nonna would make these anise treats every December. Italian legend has La Befana as a good witch in the style of Santa Claus, but for some reason in my family, befana became the name for Christmas cookies.
Nonna would make enough befana cookies to fill a glass jar that was about two feet tall. She would store them on the stairs leading to the attic with a piece of bread on top to keep out any moisture. I grew up in Vermont and I remember the cold as you would try to sneak a cookie. Of course, Nonna would catch me - the powdered sugar on top of the cookie made it very obvious.
My Nonna passed away in November of 2001 and unfortunately, no one in the family had learned how to make the befana cookies. Thus, my younger brother has spent the last eight years trying to perfect the recipe and seems to have come as close to Nonna's as possible.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Now don't get all puffed up - December 9 is National Pastry Day!
From croissants to cream puffs, éclairs to strudel and baklava to brioche, one of these sweet, flaky bites is bound to get your mouth watering.
Pastries and pastry dough have been around since ancient times in the Mediterranean when baklava, made with paper-thin, butter filo pastry dough, was king. During the Renaissance, French and Italian chefs created puff and choux pastry. So be sure to say a word of thanks to these ingenious individuals the next time you take a bit of cream puff, éclair, Napoleon or brioche.
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