Food can be given as gift so broadly that I decided to break these ideas into groups.
• Gift baskets: The easiest way to gift a foodie is with a variety basket. Most places that sell foods have baskets. From Gourmet Gallery to the Beef Jerky Emporium and all points between, the fine folks will either pick or allow you to pick a variety of edibles, place them in a basket with pomp and circumstance, and top them with pretty bow. Baskets can be pricey, but they are eye-catching and efficient. If efficiency isn't your thing, buy a basket yourself and self-elf your own gift basket.
• Meats and cheeses: Pepperidge Farms has kept itself in business for years shilling summer sausage and smoked Gouda for the holidays. The irony is free. The Beef Jerky Emporium takes that to a new level with enough varieties of jerky to fill up a chimney. Places like Gourmet Gallery and Forward Foods offer higher-end cured meats and cheeses from around the world. Forward Foods has such a good selection that when you say the word â€œselection,â€ you say it with a French accent. But if you want to work some practicality in for the carnivore on your list, consider what you can find at a place like Wheeler's Meat Market, Cusack Meats, Rhett's Meat Market or Crescent Market. And that's boxes of beef. It takes more than a finger placed aside my nose to get good beef up North. So, if you're reading this, Mrs. Claus, close your eyes and imagine the voice of either Sam Elliott or Matthew McConaughey reminding you: Beef, it's what's for Christmas.
• Candy: Children's stockings will be stuffed with their favorite candy, using the ever-evolving technology we use up North. If you want to elevate candy to gift status, you need to visit a professional. Godiva and Russell Stover's have been flooding the market for years with their goods. Candyopolis has several locations to supply you with enough gummy bears to create your own gummy couch. There in Oklahoma, you have some fine purveyors such as Bedre and Woody's Candy. Over at the 42nd Street Candy Shop, they have all kinds of great candies plus some other goodies worth checking out. Same for The Candy Basket in Norman. Don't forget about Coco Flow, where chocolatier Gene Leiterman creates candies almost as pleasing to the eye as they are the palate. Nearby is the Bricktown Candy Co., which is available to appease the sweet tooth's needs beyond chocolate.
• Cupcakes: Thanks to Casady-grads Charles and Bobby Nelson, cupcakes are the new yogurt. The success of their Sprinkles Cupcakes in California has sent a broader, warmer wave over the rest of the country than any El Nino or La Nina ever did. Oklahoma City has lots of great homemade cupcakes to offer. Every cupcake place has something good to offer. One doesn't acquire a little round belly that shakes when you laugh like a bowl full of jelly without being thorough when it comes to baked goods. Local cupcake bakers include Cupcakes to Go Go and Red Velvet Bakery in Edmond, Sara Sara Cupcakes, Cuppies & Joe, Pinkitzel Cupcakes and Candy, GiGi's Cupcakes, Nancy's Cupcakes and The Cupcake Queen in Norman.
• Cookies: Many of you will be baking me cookies for my coming visit. How do I put this lightly: Of that group, some should consult a professional like Cindy Hoehner of 1 Smart Cookie. Cindy's got an army of jars to choose from plus some lovely likenesses of yours truly. Again, to be thorough, I sleighed on over to Edmond to sample the goods at McLaren's Pantry and Selma's Cakery. Then it was up, up and away to Norman for Cookies-n-Cards, then Moore for Cookies by Design. We circled back to Bethany for Clark's Pastry Shop, then back into the city for Ingrid's Kitchen, Brown's Bakery, Prairie Thunder Baking Co., Johnnie's Sweet Creations and Raspberries 'n' Creme. I ended up at a place called Cookie's on N Western, where I found a lot of bad karaoke but no baked goods. Luckily, it was next door to Someplace Else Deli and Bakery, where the cookies were quite good.
The Food Dude told me printing costs have gone up since the hand-crank press, so I'd better keep it short. There's a lot of great places and foods around your fine city. Hope this checklist adds a little merriment to your Christmas, if not a few pounds to combat in the new year.
Local purveyors of edible gifts