Top 10 Local Museum Store Holiday Food Gifts

Salt And Pepper Shakers From The Fowler Museum Store
Salt And Pepper Shakers From The Fowler Museum Store
Fowler Museum Store

Holiday gifts for food-centric friends are tricky. You want something unique that isn't already lining their overstuffed kitchen cabinets. Sure, those Paula Deen silicone spatulas from Target are tempting, if only for the gift card fun (suggestions on what/who to swat when your friends have had their fill of the Food Network). On second thought, swatting at the Southern diva could result in more Rose Parade riots.

Instead, we suggest hitting your neighborhood museum shop for truly unique kitchen gifts. Sure, there are mugs, lots and lots of mugs, at most of these museum shops. But we also found some great, truly unique products. Noodle "manners" bowls, angelfish-shaped colanders, Abbey fruitcake, even a rather promiscuous apron. Plus, the proceeds go to a local nonprofit rather than a wealthy Southern diva. Turn the page for our Top Ten Local Museum Food Gifts. Eleven, actually, because we just couldn't bear to leave out James Buchanan again this year.

Top 10 Local Museum Store Holiday Food Gifts
mocastore.org

11. MOCA: Yes, we've seen the Andy Warhol image more times than we've actually had Campbell's soup, but this mug ($20) comes in a cool box so you don't have to wrap it.

10. Ronald Reagan Museum: It's hard to get more unique that pick-your-President china. Whether they're a tacky gift or the epitome of good taste depends on your view of American politics. Nonetheless, we suggest George Washington's gold monogrammed cup and saucer ($58) for your patriotic grandma and plates ($45) from James Buchanan, who seems to wind up as No. 1 on most of those worst-Presidents-in-history lists, for that subtle jab at the in-laws (with its sweet pink pattern, they'll never guess).

9. Huntington Museum: If you're going all-out homemade this year (we are, hence those Twelve Days of Cookies recipes we're handing out this month), but feel that nagging need to buy a little something to go along with your shortbread, this orange marmalade ($7) is made from the orange trees that have been on the estate since Henry Huntington bought the property more than 100 years ago.

Top 10 Local Museum Store Holiday Food Gifts
Acquarium of the Pacific

8. Aquarium of the Pacific: For the cook who has it all -- or simply has a seafood fetish: an angelfish-shaped colander ($17) and a blow-fish kitchen sponge ($6).

7. Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels: The Cathedral's shop has a small but well-edited selection of food gifts, like this $8 creamed honey made by Cistercian Sisters of Redwood Abbey and a $36 rum-soaked Abbey fruitcake made by Trappist monks. Combine either with A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns and consider your holy holiday duties complete.

Elephant Mugs From Mozambique
Elephant Mugs From Mozambique
Fowler Museum Store

6. Fowler Museum at UCLA: Our current favorites of the Fowler Museum store's ever-changing selection of handmade gifts are these hand carved elephant mugs from Mozambique ($32) and the dog and cow ceramic salt and pepper shakers ($8 a pair, photo on first page).



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