When the winter holidays roll around, it's often time to spend big bucks on gifts for friends and family. Well, you don't have to break the bank or spend any time in long lines at big box stores. With a little elbow grease and a trip to ReStore, you can whip up some homemade gifts for under $5 each.
If you're like me, there are certain friends or family members that are impossible to shop for. But one thing that everyone can appreciate is something homemade, unique, and involves food! Create the foundation for delicious charcuterie and cheese using inexpensive wood planks!
If you don't know what charcuterie is, you're not alone. It's a French word often used to describe meats prepared a certain way, so they don't require refrigeration. Traced back to the first century AD, charcuterie was once a peasant food. Today, it's a popular display of fine meats, cheeses, pâtés, and more. You can customize them any way you like with whatever food you like. But best of all, making your own charcuterie board, cheese board, or cutting board is simple to create and makes an amazing holiday gift!
Here's how to get started
You'll need to find some nice hardwood. Cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, and teak are great choices, but at ReStore, we like to use whatever is on hand. Planks or wide boards make the entire process simpler and require less cuts, so if you can find boards that are at least 12 inches wide or more, that works great! ReStore often has rough sawn lumber available that typically run around $4 a foot.
Don't worry about perfection. Boards that have character have the best end result and visual interest, so slight damage, rough edges, and saw marks are actually preferred.
1. Cut the boards to a length you prefer. This might depend on the width of boards you have, but this is up to you. You may also want to consider the overall length of the board and measure out equal lengths to make multiple gifts from one long board.
Feel free to use power tools or not. A simple wood saw works just fine and leaves a rougher appearance that we actually prefer.
2. Give each piece a rough sanding to smooth it out a bit and to get rid of splinters or sharp edges. Depending on your preference, you can sand longer to get a super smooth surface or a quick sanding gets rid of any small bits that might break off into your food.
3. You're almost done! You'll need to apply some oil to the board to make it last. You can do a bit of research on different products, but Jan from ReStore recommends a mixture of food grade linseed oil and bees wax. The key is to make sure the oils or products you use are food grade. You don't want to use oil stains or varnish since food will be in direct contact with it.
Butcher block oil is a great option, but make sure you read the label so you can be used with food. Do NOT use vegetable or olive oils. They eventually go rancid.
That's it... You're done! All you need to do is wrap it up or give it a bow. We promise people will love these boards because their made by YOU! Produce a bunch over a weekend and you'll have ton of unique and special gifts that will last throughout the holidays.
Here are a couple extras to consider
- Cut an organic shaped hole in one of the corners or near an edge. This give a natural handle when holding the board and adds an appearance of a painter's palette.
- If you created a large board, add a couple of handles or cabinet pulls on each end to make for easy serving using two hands.
Here are a few optional handles we found at ReStore