How did it happen? You planned everything so beautifully and then, suddenly, it’s just a week before Christmas and you still have half your shopping list to get through.

For those on your list who are foodies or just love to putter in the kitchen, here are some gifts you can pick up at the last minute that will be just as appreciated as those you researched for months.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A cast-iron Dutch oven is a kitchen multitasker. It can be used to broil, braise, bake, or roast in the oven up to 500 degrees, or sauté, simmer, and fry on any stovetop. Its large size makes it perfect to marinate and refrigerate whole birds and roasts. Available from Home Depot for $40.

What’s Up Pop?

For the popcorn aficionado this handy silicone popper will replace microwaveable popcorn. It's a mess-free shortcut to a healthy snack that they can eat right out of the container. Put any kind of popcorn inside, place the BPA-free lid on, and nuke it to fluffy perfection in under five minutes, without oil. When they're done, they can pop it in the dishwasher, or simply wipe it clean. It folds down for easy storage. Just $18 at Uncommon Goods.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Let’s face it: we’re all kids when it comes to ice cream and what could be better than your own ice cream machine? The Whynter automatic ice cream maker has a two-quart-capacity built-in compressor and doesn’t require any pre-freezing. An LCD digital display and timer and stainless-steel mixing bowl make prep and clean-up a snap. Readily available at Wal-Mart for $276.

Dark & Delicious

Chocoholics and coffee snobs alike will enjoy this wonderfully decadent coffee and chocolate tasting box, the perfect gift for any occasion. Curated coffees from award-winning roasters are paired with culinary-inspired chocolates for the ultimate tasting symphony for their palate. It features eight fresh-roasted coffees, eight artisan chocolates, and tasting notes for each pairing. A special indulgence for your favorite coffee lover. $68.99 from


The Prepara stainless steel Herb Savor preserves the flavor and vitality of fresh herbs for up to three weeks. It features a stainless-steel water-well to keep roots and stems submerged, a stainless rinsing basket, and a crystal-clear herb “greenhouse.” $31.48 at Williams-Sonoma.

Card Sharks

If you’re really pressed for time, gift cards are always appreciated. And, while you can always buy one from a typical kitchen supply or department store, here are a few specialty cards that make more of an impact. specializes in delivering a variety of Asian groceries. Your lucky gift recipient can choose from fresh fruit, meat, tofu, and all the pantry staples anyone could ever need. In addition to the classics, they also stock a variety of up-and-coming Asian-American brands.

Cheese, please. With a Murray’s Cheese gift card, recipients can take their pick at the counter of the famous New York City cheese shop, or peruse the dairy, meat, and snack options online from the comfort of their own couch.

Goldbelly is known for stocking foods and sweets from some of the most famous restaurants and food shops across the country. With a gift card, a recipient can get a finger-licking good dinner from Nashville’s Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, a few slices from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, or hundreds of other options.

After 10 years of shipping their famous deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati's realized that ex-Chicagoans craved even more of the Windy City's favorite foods. It was then that it partnered with other fine restaurateurs in Chicago to provide the best tastes Chicago has to offer. Tastes of Chicago offers hometown favorites from iconic Chicago brands including Eli's Cheesecake, Vienna Beef, Portillo's, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Frango, Fannie May, Bobak's, Wildfire, Manny's Deli, Long Grove Confectionery, and many more at

Rick Karlin is SFGN's food editor. Visit to read his previous reviews. Have a culinary tip to share? Email Rick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..