Christmas Hamper Help Needed - Wholefoods Edition
November 3, 2013 7:12 PM   Subscribe

I pride myself on being the best gift giver ever and I think I have nailed the idea for my Secret Santa this year, a Wholefoods Cookbook with accompanying produce. The thing is, I don't really know what wholefoods are, and the book is a week or 2 away (being sent from OS). I need this gift in the post around mid November so want to start my shopping for the produce now. Please help me, what kinds of awesome things can I put in the hamper? It can be snacks and grocery type things for cooking. Nothing that needs to be refrigerated. Im thinking dried beans, wholemeal pasta, that kind of thing. The book is 'Cooking with Wholefoods: A guide to healthy natural ingredients, and how to use them with 100 delicious recipes... by Nicola Graimes.' Thank you.
posted by Youremyworld to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
The preview of the book on Amazon includes the ToC and the intro, which talks about what the author means by whole foods. You might get some ideas by skimming the recipes as well.
posted by rtha at 7:20 PM on November 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you rtha, I always forget about Amazon. They never seem to post what I want to Australia.
posted by Youremyworld at 7:59 PM on November 3, 2013

One thing to keep in mind - beans, lentils, dried pasta etc are all very heavy, and postage costs an absolute fortune from Australia to overseas (seriously - my mum sent me some stock cubes last week, 600g and it cost her $45 to post to the UK). I would work out how much you can afford to spend on postage and let that determine what you include. Consider bags of herbs and spices, and of course look into customs requirements for the destination country to ensure the parcel will get through.
posted by goo at 2:34 AM on November 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks goo, this will be within Australia though. Postage is not a problem.
posted by Youremyworld at 4:12 AM on November 4, 2013

Best answer: From a combination of personal experience and a quick look through the Amazon preview, I would include dry staples such as brown rice, rolled oats, red lentils and quinoa. Also, if the person liked to garden, I might include some seed packs for herbs such as coriander, basil, parsley and chives.
posted by mosessis at 4:45 AM on November 4, 2013

Best answer: Consider bags of herbs and spices,

This. In the US we have places like The Spice House that will make up a box of herbs and spices appropriate for the kind of cooking you do, but you can accomplish this yourself. This would be an AWESOME gift because when you decide to make a recipe, that one spice you don't have can be a major obstacle. A selection of dried mushrooms might be nice too. And a box of Maldon salt.
posted by BibiRose at 5:10 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Herbs and spices yes, and packages of things like quinoa and steel cut oats. If you were in the US, I'd point you to Penzey's and Bob's Red Mill, respectively. Do you have anything comparable? The thing about BRM is that all of their packages are in a uniform size (similar to a standard package of coffee), and they look nice, so they make great additions to a large basket.

If there's nothing like this in Australia then would it be possible to buy some things in bulk? If weight is not an issue, what about filling mason jars with things? You could add a decorative piece of fabric in the cap/rim of each and then create colorful padded sleeves to protect each jar in shipping (I pick up thick socks from the secondhand store, cut to the exact height I need and then sew a seam. I size it just so I can still read the top of each jar).

Or, if glass is inadvisable, you could vacuum seal separate packages for freshness and put them in little fabric pouches. And if you did that, you could slide a descriptive page into each pouch.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 7:34 AM on November 4, 2013

Best answer: Heh sorry, I misunderstood. I agree with AnOrigamiLife if weight is no issue - use some nice jars and fill them with pulses from a health food shop that sells in bulk. For a starter pack I would look at a red bean (such as kidney beans), a white bean (haricot or soya beans), chickpeas and something a bit more exotic like borlotti beans or black beans. Then red lentils, good puy lentils, wild rice and perhaps some quinoa, good spelt wheat, unhulled sesame seeds or steel cut oats.

I would also include some herbs and spices, which ones would depend on the person and what they like to cook (eg/ Indian spices for curries, Moroccan or Ethiopian if that would appeal; can't go wrong with your basic parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, basil and oregano if they like pasta). Also if they are vegetarian or vegan the Massell "chicken style" and "beef style" stock cubes (that my poor mum spent so much to post to me! Nothing like that here in the UK) are great and available at any supermarket.
posted by goo at 9:06 AM on November 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you everyone, this is exactly what I was looking for. Great ideas on the herbs and spices, salt and stock. All things I never would have thought of.
posted by Youremyworld at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2013

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