A December Letter from the Editor: The Small-idays Are Here and I Have Some Ideas
Welcome to the merriest time of the year: the holidays! Except that this year, they’re what my friend Nina calls the Small-idays. Our circles are smaller, travel eliminated. I’m feeling cheerful now about the future and the expectation that next year we’ll be safely celebrating again with loved ones. For now, I’m actually excited about a very intimate, very cozy season where the party pressure is off and comfort cooking is in.
The Small-idays, for me, mean going big on decorations and easy on expectations. I have not one but two Advent calendars running to help my little ones manage their own excitement and count down the days (we love this inexpensive felt version from Target). The Small-idays also mean eating exactly what I want, like takeout dumplings for dinner, any cookie for dessert, and all the in-season persimmons I can get my hands on.
The Small-idays mean baking cookies to share and trying new recipes I didn’t have time to in busier years. I hope you’ve seen our spectacular Quarantine Cookies collection: Sixteen cookies from our favorite bakers, all answering the question: “What’s the one cookie you’d send to a friend this season?” I cannot wait to make Dorie Greenspan’s ginger-molasses muffin tin chubbies, or Amanda Saab’s rich chocolate cookies with crumbles of sesame confection.
But the Small-idays also mean one more thing: Taking care to shop small businesses. Our most precious businesses have had a truly rough go of it in this extremely hard year. Now, this is hardly a chore — isn’t it great how ordering out for dinner and supporting a local dumpling shop intersect exactly with my own need to take it easy this season? As a cook who writes about home cooking I just want to say that this is the season to order in, if you can. Support the little restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and immigrant kitchens you love now, or they might not be there come spring.
Beyond restaurants too there are all the small businesses to shop for gifts. Small businesses offer so much care and beauty; I love supporting a small maker’s dream, but I also love the handwritten notes and beautiful details that these little companies slip in.
I asked my team what small food and kitchen businesses they are loving most and I have a glorious list here for you! I hope you find something delightful here for others (or yourself).
- Omsom: Andrea says that this startup creating East and Southeast Asian sauces and meal starters has “made me so excited to cook again.”
- Ground Up Nut Butters: Lauren especially loves this Portland company’s Coconut Cardamom w/ Chia Seed Almond + Cashew Butter.
- Fancy Sprinkles: Meghan, our resident sprinkle expert, loves this Los Angeles company. “I just ordered some to make hot chocolate bombs for gifts,” she said.
- Trade St. Jam: Our entire team is pretty obsessed with this jam-maker and especially this smoked peach flavor. “It’s good for cocktails, pork chops, and morning toast too,” says Meghan.
- Diaspora: The turmeric, cardamom, and other spices from this wonderful company are staff favorites.
- Pineapple Collaborative: The olive oils and apple cider vinegars are sourced from female farmers and producers and extra-delicious (and very cute), says Sholeen. Nina says she could “drink that ACV straight.”
- Brightland: Another olive oil favorite our whole team loves of course is Brightland, another woman-owned company with delicious oils and beautiful bottles.
- Mochidoki: Ice cream-filled mochi bites, with flavors like Apple Miso Caramel and Espresso. So beautiful and tempting.
- Frankie & Jo’s: Amelia loves this plant-based ice cream company with flavors like Oatnog, and Date Shake.
- Stick With Me Sweets: Nina also mentioned Susanna Yoon’s chocolate company which packages colorful bonbons in boxes that look like books.
- I Want Candy: Many people in my life are getting one of these crazy beautiful planet lollipops in their Christmas stocking.
- Golde: This Black-owned small business has beautiful packaging for their teas and wellness products. Lauren says that she and her sister are starting with this Superfood Latte Sampler.
- T-We Tea: Hollis loves this tea, which has cheeky names like Precious Angel Kitten (gunpowder green tea, rooibos, lavender).
- Nguyen Coffee Supply: Sholeen recommends this Brooklyn company that sources their beans from a farm in Da Lat, Vietnam.
- Counter Culture Coffee: Caroline has been gifting their bean subscriptions, which are a treat.
- Copper Cow Coffee: Another coffee find we love; they sell Vietnamese pour over sets.
And then, just a few non-food favorites that I have to shout out.
- Hoppe Shoppe: Sam, who creates the photos you see on site every day, loves this shop’s style and sourcing.
- Debbie Carlos: We’re such fans of Debbie’s ceramics!
- State the Label: I love this Georgia brand’s approach to color; their cheer, like in these unusual round napkins, is exactly what I want right now.