Culinary Sleuth

What I Want For Christmas:
by Culinary Writers and Others

by Lynn Kerrigan


Ever wonder what people who make their living from creating, writing about or promoting food want as gifts? Wonder no more. This month I decided to ask a handful of culinary professionals what they want Santa to place under their tree. Here are some of the (often surprising) answers.

Bev Bennett
Co-author of the Dictionary of Healthful Food Terms (Barron's, 1997) and a syndicated food columnist

As a food and nutrition writer, I was hoping Santa could whip up a magic pill that would allow me to eat anything I want while staying slim. Of course it would erase crow's feet and turn my hair color an alluring auburn. Flavor it cinnamon-mocha please.

But, if Santa isn't up to that, I would love a stash of my favorite nibbles:


Sharon Parquette Nimitz
Creator, writer, worrier about, editor and philosopher of Cook/Speak, a seasonal narrative with Recipes

Honey, I would like a three quart tin-lined copper Windsor pan, French made, under my Christmas tree. And a month in Jamaica for February. And accumulated meditation time to fly as a speck of foam or transparent fish on the waves. And the concentration and freedom of time to write one good piece of "fiction." and a sunny meadow in which to garden. And health and wisdom for all, beginning with my family—large and small. And, of course, a change in the world's thinking about food big enough to allow everyone to feed themselves healthfully and tastily. And all the best to you, dear.


Kate Heyhoe
Executive Editor of The Global Gourmet at

That's a tough one—I'm a pretty happy person and don't ask for much. I have my health, a wonderful family, and all the necessary creature comforts. I guess what I'd really want is: time—free time to do whatever inspires me. I'd spend it with Thomas, the love of my life, doing something where we would both be learning, like traveling, exploring and eating, and I'd make sure there was not a modem in sight! (grin)


Cyndi Duncan
C & G Publishing, Inc., Greeley, CO

My partner, Georgie, and I have dreamed of being on Oprah or Good Morning America with our cookbooks. They are: Colorado Cookie Collection; Nothin' but Muffins; 101 Ways to Make Ramen Noodles, Creative Cooking When You Can Only Afford Ten-for-a-Dollar Pasta; Mystic Mountain Memories; Cookie Exchange; and our latest Quick Crockery Cooking. I know Santa is hard pressed to fill every wish, but... Thanks.


Karen Harris
Author of Granny's Drawers: Four Generations of Family Favorites (profiled in the November issue of Southern Living Magazine)

What I want for Christmas is a kitchen full of smiles and laughter, with smells of turkey and dinner rolls baking, a Christmas tree glittering nearby with lights and treasured ornaments from times gone by, wrapped presents under the tree, holding treasures for the little ones, and family abound. That is what Christmas will always mean to me--and what I will always want it to hold--happiness, peace and a time of thanksgiving... The cook in me prays that the turkey will be golden and juicy, that all casseroles come out on time so that all food is hot out of the oven for serving, and that my desserts will be just like Mama's. with a little help from our family cookbook, Granny's Drawers, I'll make it!


Susan E. Baugh
Librarian and branch manager at the Southern Regional Library, Louisville, KY

I want cookbooks to be adequately indexed. As a Librarian and cook, I am constantly amazed at how often cookbooks are printed with limited and sometimes non-existent indexes. A minimal index needs to contain entries by main ingredients, title of recipe, method of cooking such as baking, frying, microwaving or grilling, and country or region of origin for ethnic specialty recipes.


Karen Page
Co-author, Becoming A Chef, Culinary Artistry, and The Food Intelligentsia

Whirled peas.


Kathy Guttman
Wordsmith Ventures ( author of Whop Biscuits & Fried Apple Pie: Cooking with Gatlinburg's Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Cookbook.

I would like Santa to bring me the following:


Joanna Lund
Author of the Healthy Exchanges Cookbooks and The Healthy Exchanges Food Newsletter

What I Want For Christmas is to share with others the peace and contentment that I now enjoy because I no longer am obsessed with instant weight loss. I now know that my self esteem is not attached to a "magic" number either on my scale or in my clothing. Rather it's attached to me simply doing the best I can...the best I can. When I lightened up on myself, then and only then, did my body lighten up on me. It's been almost seven Holiday Seasons now since I lost 130 pounds and I still savor my healthy Eggnog and Holiday Goodies as much if not more than I ever enjoyed the high-fat and high-sugar treats of my past.


Gary Allen
Formerly an illustrator/designer, with two children's books still in print. Currently an instructor at The Culinary Institute of America where he teaches Applied Culinary Design and working on several culinary related books

For Christmas, I would like to be able type faster and more accurately... or possibly a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem (and yes, I'm aware that there are some irreconcilable differences in the above).


Diane Pfeifer
Author of Gone with the Grits among other cookbooks and former backup singer to Tammy Wynette.

I'd like each grits lover who buys one of 16 million packages of Quaker Quick Grits to send in for my "Gone with The Grits" cookbook so there world be more peace in the world with "grit-ter" understanding of each other. (Plus the "Grits Burgers" are great!) Season's Grit-tings.


Don Hubbard
Author of Neptune's Table from Eagle Publications.

I would like Santa to guide my hand in the writing of the perfect cookbook press release, a ready source of Eastern Littleneck clams and Chesapeake oysters, a geneticist who finds out how to breed a low cholesterol shrimp, and 20 key reviewers who want to say nice things about my new all shellfish cookbook, NEPTUNE'S TABLE. Over 200 recipes, color illustrations and good narration. That's asking a lot, but I really have been a good boy!


Suzanne D'Avalon
Author of Placidly Amid the Noise. PO Box 16914, Colorado Springs, CO 80935

Since Santa is always out with the reindeer and that darn sleigh, I presume you're the one spending time in the back room fulfilling orders and baking cookies. Well, what I'd like for Christmas is a supermarket chain. I'm the author of "How to Feed a Vegetarian: Help for Non-Vegetarian Cooks," which uses ingredients found in supermarkets. Since I'm very interested in making vegetarian cuisine easy and affordable for everyday, busy folks, I'd like to work with a supermarket chain on my next cookbook, "The Supermarket Vegetarian." A name and phone number would be sufficient, as I do not have room in the apartment for a bunch of stores. Happy Holidays!


Patti Londre
Owner The Londre Company, Inc., a marketing and public relations firm specializing in food, beverage and consumer goods.

Actually, a wok is on my Christmas list. I've never had one, and I think it is about time. I've always used my Revere Ware fry pan to make stir-fry.


Elizabeth Gunderson
A Food communication consultant who writes, teaches and develops recipes whose clients include Land O'Lakes, The Pillsbury Company and The Minnesota Beef Council.

I'd love for Santa to bring me more hours in a day. BUT, I would probably just fill them with more work, so maybe I'll stick with my allotted 24. What I'd really love is a set of Circulon pots and pans. My current mix-and-match set does the job, but shiny new (high quality) pots and pans would be a treat!


Nancy Edwards
Food columnist, The Daily News, Longview, Washington

Quality time with my extended family at a slowed-down pace. No gifts, just the presence of all the people I love and care about. Good conversations, reminiscences and, of course, plenty of food to share.


Copyright © 1997, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.


This page created 1997 and modified February 2007