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Food as Gift

This topic warrants at least half-a-dozen posts but to at least start this favorite topic of mind, here’s what I have going on today. I should preface this by explaining that I’m going to NYC for a very quick trip planned just last week for some Slow Food USA board work. This trip has inspired quite the variety of food-as-gift and food-in-trade scenarios.

First of all, I have lots of beautiful lettuce that is going to bolt soon. And I have basil, which did ultimately survive the wet spring and is now prolific. While I’m out-of-town I don’t think my husband will have time to put this to use so I offered it up on Facebook. My neighbors weighed in first so they’re going to get it.

Secondly, I have a limited wardrobe these days. Three-and-a-half years of raising a kid and working from home, in the garden and kitchen, does not make for a New York City meetings and dinners kind of wardrobe.  However, I have a great summery dress that I rarely wear  and I finally figured out that it’s just a bit too long. So, my wonderful neighbor Bev who is an accomplished seamstress fixed this problem for me last night. So she gets Yogurt Panna Cotta with Apricot Compote this evening in exchange.

The third food-as-gift endeavor involves baking a batch of my new favorite cookies which will be split three ways 1) my host and dear friend Gail in Brooklyn, 2) the fabulous Slow Food USA staff, and 3) and my husband and son.

Fourth, today a friend migrated all my data from my ancient and dying computer to my new (refurbished), shiny laptop for me. This will promptly result in a meal plus dessert upon my return.

My first forays into cooking involved giving it as a gift and I got hooked on the pleasure of creating something edible to share or give away. My mother, who as you know, influenced my approach to food and cooking in innumerable ways, always brings a tin of cookies to meetings. So as I finish this post in mid-air, flying past Mount St. Helen’s with two cookie tins at my feet, I am grateful for the gift of food.

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love this post! Our backyard garden is teeming with produce we can’t eat fast enough, so I’m always thinking of ways to give it away. We brought our wonderful neighbors a big veggie box as a thank you gift for watching our cats while we were on vacation last week. I love giving food as gift.

    July 28, 2010
  2. I was hoping for a photo of you in the dress, or at least the dress. Nice post. I often think that food as gift, even among my food friends, seems like a cop out. But maybe that’s because it’s fun and easy (most of the time). And because we tend to put a value on something we handed over dollars for. Why is that?

    On a side note, I plucked the top growth from all my basil plants to encourage growth and a teenage boy walked by and said “smells good.” I asked him if he cooked and to my surprise, he said “yeah, sometimes.” So I handed him the big bunch of basil. I felt like the fairy basil princess.

    Have fun in NY!

    July 28, 2010
    • I love the fairy basil princess story. Thanks for sharing Jane.

      July 28, 2010
      • Linda Daily #

        Katherine
        I hope you are having a great time in NYC! Hope it has cooled down a bit.
        I am sure you look fab in your dress.
        This was a great post as I have always given food gifts since Ron and I were married (33 years ago!).It is just something we have always done–first because it was affordable and on through the years because it is a pleasure.
        Any chance of sharing that cookie recipe???
        Linda

        July 28, 2010
      • Thanks Linda! Food really is my favorite gift and we miss having you in the neighborhood, for that reason, among others. The link in the body of the post for the cookie recipe should work. Let me know if it doesn’t. k

        July 28, 2010
  3. Danica #

    I can´t wait to try baking your favorite cookies. I just made the chocolate chip oatmeal ones you recommended from 101 Cookbooks for my 6th and 7th grade summer school students. We made ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice cream (thanks to my teaching partner.) My students love ¨food as gift¨too!

    July 28, 2010
  4. Sandra #

    Where do you get espresso powder? I haven’t been able to find it. When I ask around, no one has ever heard of it. Please advise.

    July 29, 2010
    • I get it at New Seasons. It’s in the coffee section. Small jar of it. I don’t have it in front of me but will email you the brand later. It’s great for baking, panna cottas, etc.

      July 30, 2010

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