Welcome to the first annual Tucson Homeskillet Holiday Gift Giving Guide! It's 2015 and oh what a year it has been. We've had so much fun eating and drinking across Tucson and now it's time to settle in for Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzza, Festivus, etc etc which means even more eating and drinking...which is our favorite thing ever so, bring it.
But, you know, we've grown quite weary of the same thing year after year. Presents we're talking about here. You always go to Amazon or whatever on Cyber Monday to get discounts on things nobody wants or watch in horror as greedy idiots who have been waiting all night in front of big box stores on Black Friday to get deals on stuff they don't need in the first place. Nor do the people they plan on giving those gifts for need or want as well.
Well dear readers, The Tucson Homeskillet is here to help!
Seeing as we like to keep things local, we thought it would be great to send out some unique ideas for gift giving this holiday season courtesy of two of our favorite supermarkets in Tucson.
We are talking about the Asian persuasions themselves, Lee Lee and Grantstone Supermarkets, respectively.
Having always been a big fan of these markets, we recently came across a plethora (you heard it right kids, a plethora!) of out of the ordinary gifts from those stores for those hard to shop for friends and family members.
You ready? Here we go...
Part 1: Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
Our first stop is Lee Lee Supermarket (1991 W Orange Grove Rd.)
Having the Homeskillet home base be decidedly midtown Tucson, getting to Lee Lee is a bit of a trip, but what a worthwhile journey it is! This place has everything and I mean everything. Looking around the vast expanse of the store had me jotting down all kinds of ideas for presents this year, mainly for people I have no idea what to get in the first place.
So if you follow our lead here you just might be inspired to wrap these, shall we say, "uncommon"?, gifts for those finicky or difficult to please members of your immediate present exchange holiday circle.
1) For the person that wont settle for anything less
Aunt Maggie sure is tough. She only enjoys the "finer" things in life. Well these chestnuts without their shell should impress her only because they are the best. And, best of all, they are ready to eat! It says right there on the package: Best. Why would this product lie? I mean, look at the dude in full bar-be-que gear. He's stoked! He is eating the best roasted chestnuts. Like ever. But...it doesn't say 'grilled' or 'BBQ' so...what's he doing on the cover? Now I'm confused.
Whatever. The best!
2) For the little entomologist
Lil' niece Gertrude sure does love butterflies don't she? She sure does. Always has. Heck, she even has her room decorated like the Botanical Gardens when they do their butterfly magic expo. Now you can crank her weird obsession up a few notches and have her actually eat the things she loves most. Aww, isn't it cute? Look at her, just gnawing away at various monarchs and swallowtails.
The holidays are magic!
3) For the bodybuilder in your life
Your neighbor Pete is always at the gym, always telling you how you need to "buff up" and "get hard" and "stop peeing in his bushes late at night". Oh Pete. Well, now you have the perfect gift for him; some squid that is just as shredded as he is. This aint no girly man snack we're talking about here, no sir. This stuff is only for the ripped and the swole. And it's spicy too! This is a man's man kind of gift that will keep on giving even if he keeps stealing your mail that's wrapped in anonymous brown wrapping.
Don't you just hate neighbor Pete?
4) For the "going through puberty" kid
Your cousin Virgil just turned 13 and 'things' are starting to happen to him. His voice is changing, strange urges abound and hair is starting to grow where once was smoothness. This fuzzy squash is a sure fire hit letting him know that you too went through "the change" and that everything will be alright. Unless of course he starts getting real zitty, then he's toast.
Oh, he is a bit spotty. Well, maybe he'll grow tall and play basketball. Let's go with that.
5) For the indecisive person on your gift list
Let's face it, your sister Myrna can be quite the pain in the patootie sometimes. First she wants fish then she wants steak, first its "Oh Tom Hardy is the sexiest man ever" then it's "I think that kid that played Steve Urkel is hot", and on and on. Just can't make up her mind can she? Well with these salted duck parts she gets all kinds of fun variety and will never have the same bite twice. Was that a leg? Probably. A breast? Maybe. An anus and duck bill? Whee!
The adventures will never stop this Xmas because Myrna will always have to keep guessing what the heck she just chewed and swallowed. She loves you!
6) For the "adventurous" type
Here are the facts: Durian fruit has the consistency of snot curd, smells like Pete's gym locker and tastes as if an onion couple just gave birth to a fart. So when "Wild Will", your globe trotting and totally lame second cousin arrives for the holidays, hand him a gift wrapped spiky yellow ball of spite and tell him that it came from some indigenous tribal tree just outside of (Make Up Fake Country Here) and that only the most virile men can eat it. Then sit back and watch the magic. Watching that insufferable Will eat a durian fruit and pretend to enjoy it makes the holiday season even more tolerable. That'll keep him locked and silent in the lavatory for a while.
God bless us, everyone.
7) Part two for the puberty kid
Virgil sure has a lot of questions, especially when it comes to girls. Well, since you're not his mom or dad (thank Jeebus for that) hand him a bag of these steamed bananas and watch his eyes glow with curiosity and slight arousal. Then pat him on the back, nod your head and say, "You were asking about girls, right? Yeah. It's...kind of like that."
Oh the enchantment.
8) For that annoying juggler boyfriend
Look, your little sister is going through a phase. She met Kyle (ugh...) at Burning Man and now they are a "thing". He wears Teva sandals with socks and is all bummed that his hacky sack fell down the gutter. To make things worse, Kyle likes to juggle...down by the beach. Well to show your support of his, uh, talent, give him some fresh items to impress the crowds (okay, that one weird guy who wears a tube sock around his head like a bandana who cheers him on now and then is usually his "crowd") such as these fish heads. Yessir the eyes will be a poppin' much like the recently decapitated here. Can you smell that? That's the scent of joy coming off of Kyle as your sister just looks up at him and thinks, 'This guy is lame. I'm sure there will be cute guys at Coachella.'
And Kyle isn't even that cute! Oh the blessings!
9) For the, shall we say, "questionable" one you know
Here's a cleaver little gift (see what I did there?) for that one person you know would just LOVE to handle and operate a full on slasher movie weapon. That's right, found on aisle 5, next to the tea kettles and embellished cats waving their right paw for eternity, I found just the perfect item for that exceptionally quiet kid or uncle with the "exotic hobbies" or even that jacked up nephew that calls himself a Juggalo and goes "whoop whoop" everytime he walks into a room. This handy dandy present is one that those, uh, "special" people in our lives will treasure forever. Or until their parole hearing.
Whichever comes first. Glad tidings!
10) For the aging ska punk enthusiast
Fishbone the band was a seminal product of music stylings combining ska, punk, funk, rock and soul. This gift for your buddy Terry "Two Tone" will delight and send strange flashbacks from 1980's bathroom stalls where Terry and his rude boy pals were all gathered together snorting glue and doing shots of warm Rumple Minze stolen from his granddad's liquor shed before the band took stage. Once they did, the skanking took over and Terry got the spins real bad and before you know it he threw up on frontman Angelo Moore, then known as Dr. Madd Vibe, who whacked Terry with his saxophone sending him to the hospital but couldn't afford the care so he snuck out and slept in an old dumpster still wet from the rain and made good friends with a dead racoon he named Danzig.
Terry will call you Santa Clause for years to come!
11) For the self satisfying hybrid car driver
Oh goody, here come Carol and Sebastian, those "hippie" relatives of yours that rake in more than 100k a year and still insist they live off the grid somewhere in Berkley. Because of their constant, constant, chatter about the wonders of their hybrid automobiles, you just went ahead and took it a full rung higher. The parrot fish has the flavor of a mackerel yet possesses the ability to talk non-stop about nothing...just like them! It's perfect for when they entertain Birkenstock wearing clones of their ilk with balding ponytails and personal yoga instructors named Selene, going on about "sustainability" and how this fish was caught wild by the hands of a Native American wearing only mud and the light of the sun god.
Sure. That and I just farted in your Chevy Volt. Christmas miracles abound!
12) For the average Joe on your list
"Hey, thanks for the present."
"How'd you like it?"
"Yeah. It was good."
"I thought it was special."
"I dunno. It's good though."
"Okay. So how are things?"
"And the kids?"
"Great. Say, I'm going to go drink turpentine now. Will you excuse me?"
13) For the slave to the routine
Everyday aunt Fernelda gets up she does exactly 10 leg squats and 10 arms lifts. Then she has oatmeal with exactly half a shaker of Splenda. Then she watches the news, her judge shows and The Price Is Right before going and doing her shopping. When she comes back, she naps, plays bridge with the girls, eats dinner, plays Grand Theft Auto 5 with a 40oz of King Cobra and goes to bed. That's what she does.
Now it's time to add some color to her palate. Something she can do on a, oh...regular basis. Something...often. You know what I'm trying to say here right? She needs something that she can rely on...on a...um...usual time slot?
Oh, it'll come to me. I've been drinking spiked eggnog since Tuesday. Cheers!
14) For the wise one of the family
Hey, you are one third there buddy. All you need now is some balm and a precious metal. Wouldn't be Christmas without it. Because, you know, little babies need an aromatic resin to go with the gold and myrrh that those dudes brought. Am I right?
Welp...see you in hell!
15) For the calorie counter you may know
Those folks you know that are constantly dieting? Here's just the thing.
What is it? I don't know! But, hey....zero calories!
Do the wonders of the holidays ever cease?
16) For the diet fad anarchist
First of all, no, you are not gluten intolerant. .01% of people actually have Celiac Disease which is what the whole gluten free revolution was based off of. But a bloaty tummy when you eat a sandwich doesn't mean you immediately have a gluten allergy, it just means you ate a sandwich that disagreed with you and take a Tums.
This gift here is a big middle finger to that whole multi-million dollar fear industry and for that the lil elves that made this in their workshop are giggling knowing your brother's fiance, Judith (ugh), will just shriek with disgust knowing this is even in the same house as her. Because, you know, she reminds eveyone about every fifteen minutes how she is gluten free and has been for the last month or so.
By the way Judith, that 7th glass of wine you just downed sure as heck isn't gluten free and you sure seem to be having a great time.
Oh, Judith is talking about the economy now. Time to make snow angels!
17) For the up and coming marketing exec
So little Erma wants to go into product marketing does she? Isn't that just precious. Well here is something you can learn from Erma.
Just take a look. That's right. Now what do you see?
Black slat? What's black slat? There's no such thing as black slat. You know why?
Because it's supposed to be black SALT. You had one job translator typesetter guy. One job. And you blew it.
At just 10 years old, Erma is now running things at Laxmi Brand. She moved to Flushing and is doing just fine.
Oh the weather outside is frightful...
18) For your friend Miguel/Miguelita
Well, here you go. Merry Christmas. Huh? What is it? Um, I'm not really sure. But apparently it's a blend you might enjoy. And it's been trusted for about 70 years....so. Yeah. Oh hey, can I get that hammer back that you borrowed, like, oh...a few months ago. Kinda. Need. It. Yeah, the one with the red handle. Thanks.
19) For Metal Mark
Remember when I ordered Kewpie mayo special from Japan and the shipping and handling cost three times the amount of a tube of the stuff? Yeah. It's just sitting on the shelves at Lee Lee.
For all my smarts, oh man am I dumb...
Part 2: Grantstone Supermarket
Where Lee Lee sits in a comfy if not bland area of town surrounded by a gas station and various strip mall restaurants, Grantstone (8 W. Grant Rd) rests in a rather questionable location with visitors of all creed, mainly those jabbering nonsense as they hustle by in a fume of longtime crazy wearing bags on their heads. Once you get past the ramshackle and noise, you are treated to a wondrous expanse of variety from all across the globe.
This is why Grantstone should be your one stop shopping mecca for all the hard to shop for folks that just seem to enjoy re-gifting that special item you found last minute at Walgreens, drunk after that holiday party. There will be no re-gifting here my friends. Oh no. Mainly because the items here are still wriggling around. That and there's a strict no return policy.
20) *please see #19
It comes in gallons here? BLERG!!!
21) For the eternal optomist
Uncle Hank is always in a good mood, he always has something good to say. Why is this? Because he is slowly dying inside. Three divorces, on his second mortgage and his dream of being a famous puppeteer came crashing down when he discovered booze and blow in the late 80s. So to keep from completely imploding, Hank is always whistling a jaunty tune (ugh...whistlers), always looks on the bright side of life and habitually keeps his flask nice and full.
This holiday season, give him a happy promise he can keep all through the winter, because, honestly, he's gonna need it. Because that isn't chocolate mister.
Joy to the world!
22) For that one person that still watches "Duck Dynasty"
You know the TV show. A bunch of camo wearing beardos from the swamp lands of nether-America struck it rich making duck calls and now they are famous and like to say racist things publicly whenever they get the chance.
Like ducks do ya? Well have you tried duck balut? No? Wait....you don't even know what it is? Well then, you are in for a Xmas treat! Nothing says "Ho Ho Ho!" than chomping down on a partially developed duck embryo, boiled and eaten raw in the shell. Yum yum. I'll have seconds please. Pass it around, don't think grandma has had any balut yet. Good thing you have those beards because finding secret sprinkles of half eaten bird embryo in them later is like having angels bless you with happy stardust.
Merry, merry to all!
23) For the glutton on the list
Like chicken? Like soup? Like chicken soup? Like to eat a whole lot as well?
Dig in! You just combined all of Esther's and "Big" Jerry's favorite things in one single bowl. You are their favorite now. Unfortunately Esther likes to give you kisses, especially after she has eaten most of the fruitcake (yes....Esther actually eats the fruitcake, yes even the old ones from like 10 years ago) so be prepared.
24) For that hard to shop for stoner
Know someone that likes to get mad turnt whenever possible? This "special" curry powder will turn any dish into a trip down the blazin' trails of the high country.
Think that's a chicken he's smoking? Wait...is it? Dude, it totally looks like a chicken...or a bird of some kind. Isn't that weird? Oh man, I am so wasted.
Happy...uh...um...what was I saying?
25) For that bowler dad of yours
Admit it, dad's bowling game has been off since...ever. He thinks when he breaks 100 he can make the pro circuit. Your dad also likes to smell gas when he's pumping it down at the Circle K.
Let him know that it's time to move on. Fill his ball bag with something useful...like this octopus. It's round, it's kinda heavy and, best of all, it tastes delicious on crackers! What crappy blowing ball can say that? They can't! It's a ball. At least an octopus can look back at you when you're trying to get the golden turkey. But the suckers on the tentacles will prevent him from even getting halfway down the lane, so...there's that.
26) For the Black Metal fan in your fam
Ellie is just Goth and likes to be somber and wear black while shopping at Hot Topic. But Megan, MEGAN!, is into the real deal, she loves Black Metal. All over the walls of her bedroom are posters for Dark Throne, Mayhem, Gorgoroth and the like. Let her know that you oh so approve by getting her something she can really use:
Sure, wearing corpse paint makeup out in the open is cool and gets some looks, but imagine Megan just drenched in real pigs blood when she boards the bus to school. Heck, she just might be the new lead singer for Emperor just on principal alone! Hallelujah!
I mean...hail Satan!
27) *see number 24
28) For the Hollywood gossip type
Someone on your list that can't get enough TMZ, or reads the National Enquirer religiously or thinks the Kardashian's are America's first family? Nothing says "hungry for more celebrity gossip" than actually being able to ingest your favorite worthless pastime.
When you say "Megan Fox is so hot I could just eat her up!", open a can of Celebrity Luncheon Meat and pretend to do just that! It's also best to just keep some of this handy while you binge on a "Real Housewives of...whatever" marathon. Isn't that crazy ho a dish?
Now she is!
29) For that random Tracy Ullman fan
Remember Tracy Ullman? Yeah, so does Rick. He loves her. Always has. Can't stop reminding people that The Simpson's got their start on her show.
Now he can wear her on his...wait. That looks nothing like Tracy Ullman. Does it? No. Well...
Eh. Rick huffs gold paint. He'll never know the difference.
30) For that 'in constant danger' person
Tilly always thinks she is being followed. She's not. She lives in a small New England township where everyone knows the business of everyone, unfortunately all she does is watch crime shows and Fox News when she's not conspiracy theorizing. But, apparently, there is always a lurking marauder skulking in the bushes ready to strike.
To ease her paranoia just give her a big bin of mace. She'll love it. When that invisible masher comes a knockin', all she has to do is grab a handful of this stuff and toss it in his face. That'll show 'em.
Either that or she can make a mess of donuts for you so, really, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
Oh the glory!
31) Finally for the person that has everything, except...
Know someone that drives nice car, has a great job, money in the bank, lots of hip, sexy people always hanging on them, houses in Milan, New York and Paris, but is just sick and tired of being called "Hey You"?
Then look no further.
At Grantstone they can get the one thing that has eluded them their whole life. You will be their Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzza miracle with this gift. And when you present them with it, all you have to say is: "Now you really do have it all."
Then they might fall into a deep pit of despair knowing there is nowhere else to go and drive that Lamborghini off a cliff. So there's that. Good luck!
Hope this list helps!
Happy Holidays from Metal Mark and the Tucson Homeskillet!
Camera and Typing
"Metal" Mark Whittaker
Early December, 2015
Metal Influence (well...punk really)