What’s going on in your kitchen these days? This weekend, I had the somewhat novel pleasure of visiting a kitchen that didn’t belong to me or a client—our friends Dan and Keziah recently relocated to Maine and graciously hosted us in the home they’ve been beautifully renovating for the past few months. It was such a joy to gather with a small group of vaccinated friends for a couple cozy days of cooking, hiking, eating, and just generally enjoying each other’s company.
Temps are getting cooler, vaccine rates are on the rise in a lot of places, and we’re staring down the barrel of Friendsgiving season, so I have a feeling you might be lucky enough to do a bit of small gathering in the near future as well. And if you’re anything like me, you would never be caught showing up empty handed when attending said small gathering.
So today, I’ve rounded up a list of my favorite housewarming/hosting gifts for the foodie friends that so generously open their doors (and kitchens) to us.
But first, let’s talk a bit about what makes a good hosting gift—I’ve gone ahead and re-branded “hostess gift” to “hosting gift here”—because who says hosting needs to be gendered? For me, as a general rule, these gifts should be something small—both physically and in terms of impact on the wallet. I usually lean toward gifts the hosts can use or consume. I tend to avoid anything purely decorative because tastes differ so much! I also avoid anything that the hosts would have to immediately manage in any way—like a bouquet that needs a vase or food that needs to be put away in the fridge/freezer—this way I’m not creating any inconvenience and the hosts can focus on just that: hosting.
And as with any gift giving, I try to keep my hosts’ specific tastes and circumstance in mind. Do they live in a space with a tiny kitchen? In that case, I probably wouldn’t gift anything that would take up any space and would go with something consumable. Obviously I’m not showing up with a bottle of wine for my sober or sober-curious friends. And for that friend or family member who’s obsessed with purple (we all have one of those, right?) they’re getting the lavender hued version of the item I’m thinking of gifting them.
Okay, now that we’ve covered my basic gift giving beliefs, let’s get into the specifics and take a peek at this roundup of favorite hosting gifts for foodie friends, shall we?
For the foodie friend who cooks over an open flame or plans to light a lot of fires this cozy season: a design-y match cloche looks stunning in the kitchen but is also so functional and thoughtful. Our hosts this weekend just installed a wood-burning stove, so this made the perfect little housewarming gift.
For the foodie friend who’s also a bookworm and wants to up their cooking game: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and An Everlasting Meal are the cookbooks I consistently recommend to beginners a seasoned cooks alike. Both have been extremely formative in my own cooking style. Bonus points: write a little thank you note on the inside cover!
For the foodie friend who has a sweet tooth and appreciates a little extra effort: a batch of your favorite homemade cookies. I love this gluten-free number and these unexpected miso PB babes (both NYT cooking recipes, so maybe behind a firewall if you don’t subscribe but you can probably find access to both with a quick google). Hot tip—package them in a tin and when you pass them off to the host, whisper: just a little treat for you to enjoy after everyone leaves. This way, they don’t feel pressure to serve the gift at the gathering!
For the foodie friend who’s a pescatarian or is dying to take a trip to the Mediterranean: some fancy tinned fish. I’ve given and received tinned fish on numerous occasions and can confirm that it is generally unexpected and truly delightful.
For the foodie friend whose kitchen has a well-defined color scheme and appreciates a functional gift: the Gir rubber spatula comes in so many colors and is my favorite rubber spatula on the market. Perfect for that purple (or pink, or neutrals, or blue…) lover in your life.
So, you’ve made it to the end of today’s Fresh Letter and maybe you’re wondering, “Erica, does this list of gifts really count as a kitchen tip?” And myy answer to you, of course, is a resounding yes! It’s a tip about how to behave in other people’s kitchens! So go forth, (safely) gather, and gift, my pal.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,
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