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Top 5: Worst Gifts for Foodies

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We love to cook. We love good food. So why do people claiming to understand our passion give us Chili's gift cards, elf aprons and used chocolate body paint? It's not their fault, really. They just need a little help. That's why, this holiday season, we've done the dirty work for you and lovingly crafted five, ready-to-forward-email foodie gift guidelines for your friends and family. And while we can't fix your uncle's mouth breathing or your best friend's self-destructive dating habits, at least we can help to ensure they get you a decent gift this year.

Dear Foodie Gift Giver,
As you know, your foodie friend/relative is a wonderful person and deserves a gift worthy of his/her wonderfulness. Please use these gentle reminders as gift-giving guidelines and feel free to thank us in the comment section below. Happy holidays, Phoenix New Times

1. Tired/Expired Foodstuffs: Here's the first stop on the foodie No-Shit Train: Loving to cook doesn't mean, "we'll eat anything." Save the salted peanuts, China chocolates, glowing hard candy and anything harvested from the processed-food fields of Pepperidge or Hickory Farms for your C-list co-workers or that guy in prison you've been writing. And, yes, the thought you may be a murderer will come to mind when we notice the "best before" date on that can of sardines was 1992 or fail to hear a vacuum seal on the jar of black olives you're so obviously regifting.

2. Crap Gift Baskets ("craskets"): Loving to cook doesn't mean "just add water," so when you're at Walgreens the day before Christmas, resist the temptation to pick up that ready-made basket of hot chocolate, tea, scone, or biscuit mix with the "Merry Moosemas!" mugs. Thinking of going the DIY route? Please don't. While your idea of a jar of flour, tiny wooden spoon and blank recipe card may appear precious, we know it cost $3 and came from your pantry.

3. Uni-Task Disasters: Giving a foodie a gadget that does one thing only is like giving someone who makes furniture a screwdriver and IKEA gift card. You're not making things easier, you're killin' the buzz. To you, south-of-the-border-style cooking may mean a quesadilla maker, margarita machine and an avocado slicer; but to a foodie, we're happy with the pans, blender, and knives we already own. And leave the popcorn makers and electric wine chillers for the SkyMall junkies; we're staying clean.

4. Counter-Space Crooks: In the world of kitchen real estate, counter space is a foodie's lakefront property, so give us a break and don't park your trailer trash gifts on it. You know the ones: farm animals clad in chef's outfits eagerly anticipating eating themselves, talking cookie jars, and that plastic candy dispenser that shits M&M's. Here's some more news: We don't care if they're stuffed with peppers, fruit or a two-headed calf fetus, those glass olive oil bottles are useless and should remain on the clearance shelf.

5. Weird-Ass Cookbooks: Just because we wore an R2-D2 T-shirt when we were 11 doesn't mean we're dying to make Tusken Raider Taters from Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook, when we're adults. And the last time we checked, Billy Joel's fingers were on a piano, not in a bowl of cucumber salad. Sure, a recipe called Meatpops sounds hilarious when you're reading from a 1970s Oscar Mayer cookbook you bought for 50 cents at the neighbor's yard sale last weekend, it just won't be a reality in our kitchens, so please keep it out from under our tree.

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