It’s the last-minute crunch. You’re running out of time, and you still have a few gifts to buy. Take a look at these affordable, last-minute holiday gifts that the real food lovers on your list will love. Most of these gift ideas are less than $30. I have them all, use them frequently, and if I didn't already have them, they'd be on my Christmas list.


  1. Salt box and kosher or sea salt. Having a salt box easily available on the countertop is really helpful when cooking, but the box needs to be attractive. A box like this one from Sur La Table is great, and most upscale kitchen stores have something like it. I use an 8-ounce mini Le Creuset casserole dish with lid as my salt box.
  2. Pepper grinder and peppercorns. This is another item you can find in specialty or upscale kitchen stores. Many recipes call for freshly ground pepper, and having a pepper grinder on hand makes a difference in the flavor of foods.
  3. Subscription to an Edible publication. Edible Communities was the recipient of The James Beard 2011 Publication of the Year. These really well-done publications are a series of local magazines that focus on the foods and food producers of various regions.
  4. Subscription to Eat Your Books. This gift would be perfect for someone who has a large collection of cookbooks. Eat Your Books is an online search engine for cookbooks. It allows cooks to easily find recipes in the books that they own, as well as point them to recipes on respected food blogs.
  5. Onion goggles. You can buy onion goggles at specialty kitchen stores. I use mine all the time. They keep the fumes from onions away from your eyes so you don’t cry when I'm cutting them. I look absolutely ridiculous when I'm wearing them, but they keep my eyes from burning and my mascara from running when I’m cooking, so it’s worth it.

Do you have any other ideas for last-minute gifts?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 affordable, last-minute gifts for foodies
There's no time to have anything shipped at this point, but these gifts can be picked up at a local store or purchased online without having to worry about ship