To make a man happy...
August 9, 2010 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Someone I care for deeply is splitting up with his wife and moving into his own apartment. They have been together for 8 years, and he was married before as well, so he hasn't lived on his own very much in his adult life. I'd like to send him something incredible.

Here are the pertinent factors:

1. I am pretty broke. The gift needs to be homemade or very cheap.
2. He's a 44-year-old jazz musician, composer and teacher.
3. He loves amazing food/booze.
4. He doesn't love knick-knacks unless they have sentimental value. (This one would since it's coming from me.)
5. He's a gourmet cook.
6. He's well-read/loves books.
7. He currently lives in a large town in the Midwest.

I've thought of a few things: a great cocktail set (maybe too expensive, but who knows?), the perfect book with a note inside, a fantastic can't-live-without cooking gadget that he probably won't have when he moves, etc.

But, I thought I'd ask the hive: any ideas?
posted by nosila to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Send him a copy of Richard Bach's A Gift of Wings and a hand-written letter of friendship and support on fine stationery.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:23 PM on August 9, 2010

I was in this position. I tell you, the microwave and toaster oven were great. I left behind all my good pots, too, and a good knife set. LOTS of ideas if you're interested in kitchen stuff.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2010

Oh, and the ex insisted on keeping all the good cookbooks.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:30 PM on August 9, 2010

Well if he loves booze, buy him a bottle of Johnie Walker Gold Label and have him throw it in the freezer (where it tastes best). He can sample it from time to time (so long as he's not depressed and you don't want to encourage him boozing it up).
posted by fantasticninety at 5:56 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like Sean's idea. I don't know the Bach book, but any good book with a letter like that would be awesome. It doesn't sound like you guys are in the same city, so you have to consider shipping fees when sending stuff. Books (and CDs, and DVDs) are usually not that expensive to send.

You could have Amazon deliver the book and have the card sent separately. Just a thought.
posted by xenophile at 6:02 PM on August 9, 2010

A great cocktail set doesn't have to be brand new; there are lots of fabulous, different styles out there at thrift stores, yard sales, and on ebay.

The Joy of Cooking is always a great gift for either a beginner or a gourmand; it's served my husband well as he's gone from canned-soup-scorcher to Total Foodie. Plus it's so widely known & loved that you will probably be able to find a decent copy at your local used bookstore.

If he loves to share his food with his friends or invent dishes on the fly, you could make him a set of blank recipe cards with some nice paper, an ink pad, and a stamp (either store bought or hand made--which is super easy). I have some from my sister-in-law that I love, and I think of her every time I use them.

Does he drink a lot of wine? Perhaps a lovely wine stopper, with some kind of significance to you both?

Or a nice bottle of uncommon booze? Hendrick's or Pimm's come to my mind, but I kind of live under a rock. You could make limoncello; I remember reading various recipes here and on MetaTalk. That would be inexpensive and also delicious, especially after a hot summer day.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 6:05 PM on August 9, 2010

Along with the making limoncello idea, you could infuse some cheap vodka with a local fabulous fruit - always delicious.

Otherwise, maybe give him a couple of inexpensive kitchen things to make wonderful food: a colander filled with some measuring cups, balsamic vinegar, and a decent olive oil?
posted by ldthomps at 6:09 PM on August 9, 2010

if you get him a cookbook, get him Mark Bittman's book How To Cook Everything. One of the best cookbooks I've ever used.

The Richard Bach book is also a great idea.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:41 PM on August 9, 2010

I will start this buying saying if he is in the least bit unstable, this is a bad idea. But if he is on solid ground. Get him a really nice knife. I have a Wusthof Santoku that I plan on being buried with. A nice knife makes cooking in the lousiest situations so much more bearable. And lessens the chance that you will take off finger tips. You don't state your price range, but I see them online for $60. Maybe less. Which seems about the price range most other suggestions are running. Good luck to your friend.
posted by emilyclaire at 8:19 PM on August 9, 2010

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