12.4.13 My Gift to You

Bowls 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Dearest ones, I'm afraid I've been neglecting you, but it's only so I can take care of myself, so I'm pretty sure you approve. At this time of year, I am usually a bundle of nerves (discreetly packaged under a cool exterior) as I quietly curse myself for biting off more than I can chew. But this year, this year of health coaching and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, I achieved something resembling balance. Sometimes I am still very uncomfortable accomplishing less, but I am sitting still for that and letting it happen. And I feel better. I do. One thing I had to relinquish this year was the pop-up shop on my blog. (Sob.) I developed some very beautiful things, including a whole line of ceramics with my beloved and talented friend Mirena Kim, who is starting to get some of the attention she deserves. I also worked with spice wizard Lior Lev Sercarz on a custom blend just for Glutton for Life. But there's always next year, right? And, in the meantime, I'm going to be giving away some very choice items every week between now and Christmas. That makes this a great time to subscribe, if you haven't already, so you'll get an email alert when a new post goes up. (Sign up next to the little heart at the top of the page.)
Color 790 xxx
bowled over
I'm kicking off the Grand Holiday Gift Extravaganza with this gorgeous set of nesting bowls from Mirena Kim. (Read more about her herehere and here.) She's a potter, a graphic designer and an accomplished cook who brings a wonderfully refined simplicity to everything she touches. This set is in dark earthy tones of brown, glazed on the inside; the largest one has an interior of deep sea green.
Tray 790 xxx
a place for everything
I have quite a few of these small bowls from Mirena and I use them constantly, in every room of the house, to hold everything from spices to soap to jewelry. They are the ultimate mise en place bowls, ideal for helping you stay organized as you prep and cook.
Salt 790 xxx
cellar's market
The smallest one is perfect as a salt cellar, to keep either by the stove or on the table.

I'm excited to send this set of Mirena Kim nesting bowls to one of you! Just leave a comment below telling me about the best gift you ever received before Sunday 12/7 at midnight. I'll anounce the winner early next week...at the same time I post another giveaway!


I love my tablet the most!
Debra Lee on December 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm —
I know, indispensable, right?
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm —
What a generous offer Laura! I'm so glad you are taking the "slow approach" to life. As you know my dear mom passed a short time ago and as I reflect back on my life with her I have to say that the best gift I ever received was her unconditional love and support. As a gift to you and your readers I will pass on her favorite words of wisdom, "Don't be so hard on yourself". XO
Suzinn on December 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm —
Thanks for that pithy advice from your mom via you!
laura on December 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm —
A kite!
Margaret on December 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm —
Such a lovely connection to childhood!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm —
Due to a basement flooding, I've been going through a lot of paper 'ephemera', and I realize that the best gift(s) I've ever received have all come from my kids -- I treasure their cards and letters.
Monique on December 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm —
A great way to remember them at every age...
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm —
The best gift I ever received was an overnight my husband gave me for my birthday. we got away from the kids and everything he planned kept going wrong-- the national park was dark and closing by the time we arrived; dinner was terrible; our room was worse-- and all that did was increase the joy of being together because it was just so funny. I LOVED that none of it mattered. We know we're great parents, but it was gratifying to see that we're still a great couple even after 20 years together.
casey on December 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm —
laura on December 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm —
My mother. For making me comfortable with who I am by loving me completely,and for being the best sounding board in my life....ever.
Sarah van Der burch on December 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm —
How lucky you are!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm —
A perfectly oversized vintage Tori Amos tee from my ex. It felt like she really tried to consider what I would treasure.
Jennifer on December 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm —
The best gifts really do that.
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm —
When my parents moved from our childhood home two years ago my Mom finally shared some of her treasures....one was a cast iron Dutch Oven I use lovingly for bread all the time.
Diane Lindsay on December 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm —
I have some of my mom's kitchen classics and they bring me so much joy!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm —
The best gift I ever received was a teal-blue ceramic box, made by my son, Winston, when he was in high school. (He's now almost 26.) It has a pale green drawer (with a cinnamon-color glaze on the inside of the drawer) that has a small pull, which comes out of the box to reveal a pair of black-and-white ceramic dice, also made by Winston. The dice have the correct configuration of dots on them. I love it!
Emily Herrick on December 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm —
Evidence of the human hand always touches the heart.
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm —
Besides the obvious, health, family & friends, I'd have to say it was a truck full of mulch! I love gardening and really needed some mulch to finish up some landscaping, so it was a perfect gift.
Una Walker on December 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm —
Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm —
Best gift I ever received was my son's life. So grateful for his bright little spirit! He almost died when he was 5 days old. Grateful every day.
Celeste on December 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm —
What a wonderful living reminder to cherish every day!
laura on December 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm —
The best gift I ever received was my boyfriend printing a box of 500 business cards with one simple statement printed on the card. "You are the love of my life." The box itself wasn't in fact given to me, but I found those cards in my pockets, taped to the back of my closet door, under my pillow, in my shoes, inside cookbooks, in my office drawers, in the pantry. Everywhere. His love was so overwhelming. I miss that.
Maurag on December 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm —
Lovely, but sad.
laura on December 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm —
For weeks before Christmas, Dennis kept telling me he was getting me a puppy. He would leave the house and say he was going to the shelter. He was very sneaky, and very open. Christmas morning, he came into the living room with a huge box w/air holes. Inside was a small plush toy, a perfect little terrier. I was so afraid he was getting another dog, and so darn relieved that it was just a stuffed animal, I burst into happy tears. I still have that silly dog and it makes me laugh every time I see it.
Cathy on December 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm —
I thought everyone WANTED a puppy?!
laura on December 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm —
My family is my best gift! For all their encouragement and support.
Hannah on December 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm —
Such a blessing, Hannah!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm —
these are lovely and I so want some for myself and as gifts, but will support Mirena and purchase on-line. thanks for sharing the beauty and bounty as always Laura! xo Barbara
Barbara Brown on December 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm —
Thank YOU for your support, Barbara! xo
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm —
My husband and daughter, friends, health, and the fact that my life is one of abundance notwithstanding, one of my favorite gifts is a beautiful sugar and creamer set that my dear friend Susi gave me on the occasion of my 40th birthday. I love pottery ... and she knew this set had my name written all over it. Even with long periods of time where we don't talk, she and I always pick up right where we left off. I treasure her friendship, and her gift is a reminder of what matters most.
Janet Prince on December 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm —
That eternal connection is so special!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm —
The best gifts I have ever received are health, my devoted and loving husband, and of course the love of my three beautiful children. I know this sounds sappy but nothing else really matters.
Barbara P. on December 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm —
Not sappy at all but touching and true!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm —
Thankfully, my life is full of gifts that are not of the physical or material sort and for that I am most appreciative. But I will answer this question about a "material" possession that means the world to me, but for emotional reasons. Its a gift I received from my husband on a very special anniversary. I think you know what it is! You commented on it when I had lunch with you last month in NYC...my bird necklace... P.S. Glad to hear you are embracing this slower approach wholly. I need to do the same.
Tanya on December 5, 2013 at 7:12 am —
Sometimes the perfect object manages to embody/signify all the rest!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm —
My favorite gift came to me when I was in my early 30s and aspired to the Martha Stewart aesthetic. My mom offered me a spot in a Martha Stewart led weekend workshop. Unfortunately, the residents in the hospital where I was training went out on strike the same week that the workshop was scheduled, so I didn't get to go. The thrill of being offered this wonderful treat and the thoughtfulness of the gift have always stayed with me.
Meg Rosenberg on December 5, 2013 at 11:01 am —
The ultimate proof that it's the thought that counts!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm —
A donation to WFCR; my public radio station of choice.
Tom Kelley on December 5, 2013 at 11:17 am —
laura on December 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm —
My best gift so far was a green Le Creuset Dutch oven. It was so beautiful I was amazed, and I had no idea how expensive they were for months after I got it. And it's so useful all the time!
Nicole on December 5, 2013 at 11:35 am —
Something practical can be a real luxury, no?
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm —
When I turned 50, my husband Michael reserved a room at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles to make me Queen for a Day (for two days, in this case). Thanks Laura for making us all think back on best gifts; it was fun.
judy b on December 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm —
There's nothing quite like being spoiled...
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm —
Early in my college years my little sister, 7 years old at the time, sent me a handmade teddy bear that she had made for me in school. It had my name written in her little kid writing across the belly. It is one of the few things I have held on to as I have moved around.
Alyssa on December 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm —
What a beautiful memento...
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm —
My best friends mother handed down all of her copper pots to me! Carried through Europe in the 70's by my best friends dad, as a gift to his wife. Three daughters later, not one of the girls "appreciate" the copper…too heavy! Knowing my love for the kitchen and all things quality, I received them with blessings from the whole family. I use and cherish them daily.
Molly Mae on December 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm —
That is truly spectacular!
laura on December 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm —
Best gift ever - a few days before I got married, my husband-to-be got me a stunning turquoise necklace which I wore to our wedding rehearsal. Every time I wear it, I think of the excited stomach-butterflies of the days before we got married.
jennifer on December 6, 2013 at 5:30 am —
laura on December 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm —
My mother once sent me a box of oddities at Christmas, much of which was junk. But lovingly wrapped in tissue at the bottom of the box was the most beautiful beach rock. At the sight of it I burst into tears.
Cussot on December 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm —
laura on December 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm —
my favorite gift was a small piece of cardboard with about 25 bits of rock collected from all corners of the earth. my old neighbor worked on the big international hydro electric projects and gathered the rocks and minerals over the course of a year or two. I still have it and it is as precious to me now as it was then. It (and he) taught me to love rocks.
Karen O on December 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm —
Shared knowledge and passion do make a wonderful gift!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm —
a beautiful black paso fino horse. My dream come true -
Cindy on December 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm —
Wow, hard to top that!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm —
Both my husband and my daughter are wonderful gift-givers and that, in itself is a wonderful present. But the gift that stands out was the package of heart-shaped pink and red sugar cubes my daughter gave last Christmas. They fit the description of my perfect gift in that I NEVER would have bought them for myself, though I would have gazed longingly at them in a shop. They were too special, too girly, too pink and just too extravagant. But once I had them, I loved them and every day I got to drop one fancy pink or red heart into my coffee cup and watch it dissolve under hot espresso and know I never would have thought of it myself.
Jesica Davis on December 8, 2013 at 12:39 am —
So sweet and thoughtful!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm —
All the best gifts I have ever received were made by hand from my daughters. One daughter is very invested in the process so her gifts are real works of art, which only makes my other daughter's efforts all the more special. I display everything from them both. Tis the season of peace and joy, which can only be had by creating within our limits and loving the process. Beyond that is stressful and heavy. Have a glorious Holiday season!
tamika on December 8, 2013 at 9:25 am —
What a great mom! I'm sure you passed on a lot of wisdom to your girls.
laura on December 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm —
Many moons ago, a college friend knit me a sweater. In the box, along with the comfy sweater was a pair of knitting needles, yarn and a note saying she would teach me how to knit. Best. Gift. Ever.
Ronnie on December 8, 2013 at 9:33 am —
Is that what turned you into the knitter you are today?!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm —
The best gift I've ever been given was this advice from my Dad: Try your hardest. No matter what you're doing, no matter what the outcome, if you can honestly say you've tried your hardest, your heart can rest at ease.
Laurie on December 8, 2013 at 9:38 am —
I'll bet that bit of advice proved truly formative; so lucky for you!
laura on December 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm —
A happy marriage to my best friend ever.
Arlene West on December 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm —
I think that's a mutual gift! (Or maybe a gift from the universe?)
laura on December 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm —