Guest List: Gifts for the Chef Enthusiast

Did the holidays creep up on you like they did me?

When you join the wonderful world of parenting, nearly every other member of the club will warn you how fast the time goes.  You shrug it off and think, how fast can it go?  Did the universe suddenly thrust the earth into a new orbit where time quickens just because you now have a rug rat?  Alas, they are usually right, and time post-Griffin really has gotten away from me.  So, yes, the holidays crept up on me.

The other day, Anica over at one of my favorite blogs, Lickity List (a blog about lists, genius), reminded me that I better get my act in gear when she asked me to do a guest post (a first for me!).  I put together a few items on my Wish.List — items that any Chef Enthusiast like yours truly would love to receive.  Here’s a preview…

Did I stump you?  Go check it out and tell Anica I sent you.

What are you waiting for?  Off you go.

Japanese Candy Club: First shipment

So I’ve explained my addiction to receiving things in the mail.  My latest obsession is monthly clubs.  Yes, I’m a Jewelmint member (though I’m thinking of quitting because I’m not digging the quality of late), and I’m a Birchbox member (who doesn’t love beauty samples I ask you!?).  For a totally worth it monthly fee I get one lovely package in the mail, per club.  Sometimes I know what’s coming and sometimes I don’t.  Even better.

My latest and greatest club find is a little kooky.  I’ll explain.  So this guy from Finland moved to Japan and realized pretty quickly that you can buy all sorts of funny stuff there, including interesting candy.  My St. Louis buddies recently experienced zany Japanese candy first hand when they received, direct from Japan, Kit Kats in all sorts of crazy flavors that we are not privy to here in the States (you must read Lickity List’s Japanese Kit Kat posts, in 3 acts, here and here and here.  Ramune or Soy Sauce flavored Kit Kat, anyone?)  I’ve never been to Japan, but I noticed a similar phenomenon when I lived in China and wish I had his brilliant idea.  So, the guy from Finland started a club.  And for a monthly fee you get a package delivered to your door, twice per month, that includes fun candy from Japan not seen outside of Japan.

Join I did!  You can too at

Or I can just tell you what I received and you can live vicariously through me.  That’s what a blog is for, right?

So, my first package arrived yesterday.  In it were two boxes.  The first was a lemon flavored chew wrapped in edible rice paper.  It tasted like a cross between salt caramel and a lemon drop.  Interesting.  And the rice paper was a nice touch.

Japanese Candy

The second was something called Meiji Chelsea Butterscotch, which tasted exactly like a crunchy Werther’s butterscotch.  The wrapping and marketing is what gets me.  Each butterscotch is wrapped in floral foil, and stuck in a sliding black box.  When you remove the candies the bottom of the box says “wishing you happiness with Chelsea.”  These candies are made in Japan and have always been made in Japan, but are pretending to be something British.  According to this blogger, who can apparently read the Meiji website in Japanese, the candy introduced the Japanese to butterscotch for the first time in the early 70’s, and wanted the packaging to resemble something British and expensive, hence the retro floral vibe.  They even brought in British looking actors, complete with peasant caps, for the commercial.

The first package in my Candy Japan club did not disappoint.  Stay tuned for the next.

Mom Approved Part 2: Baby Stuff Galore

My good friend, the lovely D, recently asked me if I really used all the “stuff” that I received for Fin’s baby shower. My reply: actually, Yes. I fully realize that new mommas are absolutely OB-SESSED with all the baby stuff. I myself spent weeks just researching what stroller we should buy.  A sales clerk at a baby store told me that most parents end up buying 4 strollers by the time they’re finished having kids. (For the record, we now have 2 and I’m contemplating a third).  And at my law firm, my lawyer colleagues who are new mommas actually put together a spreadsheet listing all of their recommendations for their favorite products and comments about why a particular product was a must (we’re Type A after all).  Baby shopping is a SERIOUS business.

So, for all you new mommas or soon-to-be mommas who are as obsessed as I am about all things baby, below are my recommendations for my favorite can’t do without baby products (and some that I could do without but love just the same).  [Read more…]