"The Culinary Definition of Neighborly," by Laura M. Holson and I started to really think about food as a gift.
When my previous neighbors had their first child, I gave them a cold-cut platter on their first day home since I knew not only would the new parents not feel much like cooking, but inevitably family and friends would want to stop by and meet the baby. Being able to offer guests a bite without any fuss seemed like a great gift to me. The platter did seem to come in handy for them.
However, I work with a woman who simply will not eat most food brought in from co-workers. "I don't know what their kitchen is like, how clean they are, etc." While I understand and can relate to her concerns, I am usually willing to take the risk for a home baked good and am especially glad I did not miss the recent 4 ingredient cookies.
When I had a surgery a few years ago, wonderful and thoughtful gifts of food from work included a warm and comforting chicken noodle soup and a rice pilaf that went beautifully with anything.
For my sister's baby shower, her sister-in-law gave her a cooler full of home made frozen meals so the last thing the new mom would have to think about was, "what's for dinner."
Holiday gift guides often rave about gifts from the kitchen and perhaps putting dry ingredients together in a cute mason jar for hot chocolate or cookie dough. My thoughtful neighbors this past year gave us a basket loaded with goodies (of course many of them were already eaten before the photo shoot):
Meat also seems a popular choice for gift giving. I once gave my future brother-in-law a cooler of Filet Mignon and I believe my other brother-in-law received some Omaha steak love at his retirement dinner from a family member.
Food gifts go well beyond boxed chocolates but the jury seems to be out about giving and receiving home made culinary creations. What are your thoughts on both giving and receiving food from a friend, neighbor, co-worker? Will you eat it? Would you cook for them or only give prepared food as a gift?