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

By Grace Parisi
Updated March 31, 2015


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.

Alessi Ladle

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

Photo © Alessi.

Brass Pot Stands

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

Photo © Mjölk.

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.

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
Credit: David Malosh

© David Malosh

Hostess Gift Idea:

Pound Cake

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


Hostess Gift: How to Make Homemade Vanilla

Hostess Gifts: More Presents from the Kitchen

Garlic Confit
Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake
Swirls of Nutella make this pound cake extra rich.
| Credit: © Alexandra Grablewski. Cake Keeper Cakes