Living in New York City, I have friends and family scattered all over the place. Thank goodness for the advent of online shopping, which has made buying gifts for most people (especially those I may not see) a snap. If you have a homesick Texan on your gift list, especially one who might not make it back to Texas for the holidays, here’s a list of online gift ideas that will not only fill their bellies but will also warm their hearts with the taste of home.
Barbecue: If you can’t manage a trip to Lockhart, the good folks of Kreuz Market will ship their amazing beef, sausage, ribs or even a whole turkey anywhere in the U.S. Minimum order is three pounds. Brisket starts at $9.90 a pound. Jalapenos, pickles and onions not included. Kreuzmarket.com
Big Red: We’re talking soda, not gum here. They’ve expanded their distribution in the past few years, but it’s still difficult to find outside of the Southwest. For $23 a case, you can ship the beverage anywhere in the U.S. They don’t take credit cards, however, only checks or money orders. Bigredltd.com
Ice cream: In an age when pints of ice cream can cost over $9.00, and flavors such as wasabi, lavender and balsamic vinegar are not unheard of, sometimes it’s comforting to dip your spoon into a half-gallon tub of Blue Bell cookies ‘n cream. Now the little creamery in Brenham will send four half-gallons overnight for $89 (before you get sticker shock, it’s about $5.56 a pint) and that includes shipping. Ordering is a no-brainer, but it may be a challenge to choose between a selection of fine flavors such as banana split, pecan pralines ‘n cream, fudge brownie nut or peppermint. Bluebell.com
Kolaches: Anyone that makes the trip between Dallas and Austin knows the best place to fill up the tank and stretch your legs is the small town of West. Why? Because West is where you find kolaches, those scrumptious round Czech pastries stuffed with either fruit, cheese or sausage. The Czech Stop ships them by the half dozen or dozen, overnight. CzechStop.com
Rotel Tomatoes: Yes, finding these outside of Texas is still difficult, but TexMex Foods sells them for $1.50 a can or $32 a case. TexMex Foods also sells Hell on the Red salsa $3.50 a jar or $38 a case. Shipping not included. TexMex.net
Tamales: As I’ve said before, nothing says holidays more than tamales. Pedro’s Tamales, otherwise known as “Sirloin in a Shuck,” have been shipping tamales to far-flung fans for over 27 years. These are the classic Texan tamale, beef (go for the spicy), chicken or pork, served in a fluffy, spicy masa. $9.95/dozen plus shipping. If you prefer vegetarian tamales in a masa not made with lard, Texas Tamale Co. has them, stuffed with beans or spinach. They also make chicken and beef varieties. Four dozen for $60 or six dozen for $78, shipping and handling included. Tamales.com (Pedros); Texastamales.com
Thursday, December 07, 2006