|From a vintage Farm Journal Christmas magazine|
This week I was looking through some older Country Woman magazines. Sometimes, one can find fresh inspiration in the simplest of prose. That was the case here with the introduction to an article called "Give Gifts of Good Taste This Christmas". I'm not even sure who wrote these words -- possibly the food editor, who at that time was Janaan Cunningham -- or possibly someone else, so I don't even know who to give credit to. But the writer's words inspired me:
"Stirred up 'from scratch' and seasoned with love, gifts from the kitchen capture the spirit of Christmas in a delicious way.
"So go ahead and simmer some zesty picante sauce, bake a batch of rich Christmas cookies or set a special bread rising to the occasion.
"Then package your yummy presents in pretty tins or on colorful plates ... and tie them with bright ribbons or twine. Each will wrap up the holidays with memorable down-home flavor!"
As I thought about these words -- and the article, which included recipes for hot picante sauce, rosemary jelly, and more -- it occurred to me that sometimes, in order for kitchen gifts to happen, we have to plan way ahead. Say, right now, when we're dreaming over seed catalogs and planning our gardens. My own garden is tiny and I'm not enough of a gardener to grow quantities of produce. But if you are, why not make some plans to grow extra tomatoes and some hot peppers for picante sauce or salsa; herbs to make herb jellies or butters with; cucumbers for pickles, and so on? Or plan now to go berry picking and make jams or jellies for Christmas gifts. When I was a child, such gifts were common among neighbors, and we always looked forward to the various treats.
Of course, kitchen gifts can include much more than canned or pickled items. I enjoy giving cookies, fudge and other candies, jar mixes, spice blends, and more. Snack mixes or special nut blends are also favorites. To see some of my favorites, you can click on the "kitchen gifts" label in the label cloud at the top right. Or you could also check out my my Kitchen Gifts board on Pinterest, where I have over 100 great kitchen gift ideas pinned.
In browsing through another older December issue of Country Woman, I came upon this delicious sounding recipe for Iced Almonds. I just may try it for the coming year!