Gifts from your kitchen (and your heart)

Cranberry mostada 

For millenia people have expressed their feelings through food. Feasts and festivals mark important milestones from the changing of the seasons to birth, marriage, and death. In addition to these celebrations, gifts of food play an important role in conveying sentiments of love and gratitude. Homemade gifts especially relay these messages, so it's no wonder many of us choose to make goodies for our coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family.

In a world filled with 24-hour news cycles, 6-second videos, and instant messages, taking the time to prepare a batch of caramels or can a jar of pickles connects us to a time where the pace was slower and simple things were cherished. We hope that the recipients of our offerings will appreciate that we value them by giving of our most precious resource: time.

Also, making stuff is fun.

For avid cooks, creating unique and delicious products is cathartic and rewarding in itself. Sharing it with others is icing on the cake (or cookies, as the case may be). While we may lament the intrusions on our time and senses by the overwhelming array of information on the internet and TV, we cannot deny that these media serve as tremendous sources of inspiration and technical knowledge for our DIY endeavors. 

The information is everywhere, but we've got the best stuff right here. Indexed magazine Food & Wine has several ideas for homemade gifts ranging from cookies and candies to mulling spice sachets. (Scroll to the bottom of the article for ideas for jams, jerky, and quick breads, too.) Indexed blog The Kitchn offers 21 homemade gifts you can make.

Pinterest is brimming with clever and creative options including the EYB DIY food & drink board. There you'll find items ranging from cranberry mostarda to infused vinegar to homemade spice blends. For the cocktail enthusiast you'll find homemade allspice dramIrish cream liqueur, and maraschino cherries. Handmade pasta combined with a jar of tomato sauce makes a great gift for a time-pressed friend or coworker. And who could resist dulce le leche or salted caramel butter paired with a quickbread?

What homemade presents will you make this holiday season?

Photo of Cranberry mostarda from indexed blog The Kitchn


  • Jane  on  12/3/2014 at 4:06 PM

    I'm making a batch of vin d'orange. Every year we go to friends on Christmas Eve who lay on an amazing sit-down dinner for friends and family (last year there were 36 of us). The host is very into cocktails so I've started making him some concoction that he won't be able to buy. Last year I made a Spiced pomegranate gin from Jamie Magazine. I also make mince pies for my friends - my own mincemeat has been maturing for weeks.

  • Christine  on  12/3/2014 at 4:10 PM

    I make homemade chocolates every year for gifts. I usually make the same 4 or 5 recipes, but am thinking about changing things up this year. I will have to consult my EYB Bookshelf to make my final decision on recipes!

  • Aggie92  on  12/4/2014 at 10:05 AM

    What do you buy family members that live 1400 miles (or more!) away from you when you have no idea what they may want or need? Absolutely nothing. I show my love and appreciation for my family by baking. Every year they get an assortment of homemade fruitcakes, cookies, & biscotti. Everyone loves it and no one returns a thing!

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