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Homemade Hostess Gifts

F&W's Grace Parisi takes a stand against unsatisfying hostess gifts by revealing the presents she loves to give.

My friends will be horrified to hear this, but as someone who throws a holiday party every year, I'm often disappointed by the hostess gifts I get. I know it sounds ungrateful, but I always feel let down when my friends hand over a bottle of wine to open on the spot. That's a gift for them, not me. Ditto anything that could be mistaken for dessert: If I'm serving dinner, I like to pick the menu.

So what gifts do I give? I love bringing my hosts tomorrow's breakfast (a tea cake, say), tomorrow's dinner (a jar of soup) or some other concoction from my kitchen (a spice paste). Follow my example with these recipes, perhaps matched with a pretty serving piece, and you will leave your friends' house with a lifelong invitation to return, not to mention some very good karma.


Tuscan-Kale-and-Squash Minestra
© David Malosh

Hostess Gift Idea:
Homemade Soup

This minestra makes a great gift, along with one of the presents below.

Hostess Gift: Alessi Ladle


Oversize Ladle Marcel Wanders's "Dressed" ladle for Alessi is ultradeep. $46; fitzsu.com.

Photo © Alessi.

Hostess Gift: Brass Pot Stands


Brass Pot Stands Japanese hand-forged brass trivets from Mjölk look like suns and stars. $81 each; mjolk.ca.

Photo © Mjölk.

Hostess Gift: Iron Pot


Iron Pot Iittala's Sarpaneva pot has a smooth wooden handle. $300; iittala.com.

Photo © Sarpaneva.


Chile-Cumin Spice Paste
© David Malosh

Hostess Gift Idea:
Spice Paste

Give chile-cumin spice paste in a nice jar—your hosts will love the flavor on pork chops.

Hostess Gift: Mouth-Blown Jar

Mouth-Blown Jar Holmegaard's "Minima" mouth-blown jar is airtight. $32; shophorne.com.

Photo © Mjölk.


Lemon-Glazed Citrus-Yogurt Pound Cake
© David Malosh

Hostess Gift Idea:
Pound Cake

Lemon-glazed pound cake presented on a slicing board is a particularly generous gift.

Hostess Gift: Slicing Boards

Slicing Boards Cutouts in these "Holey" maple boards allow them to be hung on the wall. From $52; canvashomestore.com.

Photo © Holey.

Video Hostess Gift: How to Make Homemade Vanilla

Hostess Gifts: More Presents from the Kitchen

Published December 2011
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