How to Make a Homemade Food Present for the One You Love

Looking for a different kind of gift for a friend or family member? Give the best, something of yourself: a gift you have made and packaged for a special friend. Although you can create many items out of fabric, paper, wood, or clay, homemade foods carry a touch of family and home, the scent of the holiday kitchen, and a memory of happy times to recall the rest of the year.

They are also fun to make, attractive to give, and often one of the most welcome, yet least expensive, gifts you can offer. Your food present will be even more welcome and useful it you tailor it to the recipient’s dietary needs, then enclose recipes or serving suggestions for its use. If your friend has diabetes or is watching his or her weight, include the nutri­ent analysis information on a pretty gift card.

You might also combine your food gift with something for the kitchen, such as a wooden spoon, cutting board, grater, or trivet. The package, too, can be useful—a basket, casse­role dish, baking pan, or storage container.

While you’re letting your imagination roam, keep your mind on your time schedule. Many additional activities crowd the holiday hours, so plan ahead. Prepare food items early and freeze them, if appropriate. If you are going to make special packaging, remember you may need time to find necessary items, with a day or so for glue or paint to dry.

You’ll need airtight containers to store most food gifts and shakers with lids for others. So save salad dressing bottles, margarine or whipped topping tubs, snack and coffee cans with plastic fids, large glass jars and baby food jars with screw lids, spice jars with shaker tops unusual salt or pepper shakers, and tins that held popcorn or other snacks. You might place a variety of small items or a handful of snacks in a pretty stationery or jewelry box, or a never-used flower pot or vase. Don’t forget to hold onto pretty or unusual wrapping paper and ribbons, too.

Soak appropriate containers 30 to 60 minutes in hot, soapy water to get them thoroughly clean and to remove all labels. Then, if you wish, paint or cover them with contact paper, or personalize them with stickers, decals. paste- or paint-on initials, wallpaper, or colored ribbons. You can put as many servings as you wish into each container.

An easy way to start is by making a Bouquet Garni. Simply measure out I Tbsp parsley, 1 tsp basil. I tsp rosemary, I tsp oregano, 2 bay leaves, 6 whole peppercorns, and I clove garlic. Place all the ingredients together and divide into four parts. Put each part in a piece of cheesecloth. Secure the top by tying with a piece of string.

To use the Bouquet Garni, add one packet to soups or stews for seasoning. Put the packet into the liquid, leaving the string hanging out. Then remove the Bouquet Garni before serving. Discard after use.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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