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snowangel

Care Packages for College Students

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I'm not thinking just about Holdays right now. I've got a child (acutally, Diana, age 19, is not exactly a child) 1/2 way across the country in Tacoma, WA. She loves packages. Back when I moved from Bangkok to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1975, a care package was the weekly onion-skin blue aerogram.

But, any recommendations on what to send her? She's not a particularly big sweet eater, but sweets aren't out of the mix. What mails well, besides money and light bulbs (like you can't buy them in Tacoma???)

While I know I could buy all sorts of packaged crap, I figure that if Peter, Heidi and I make stuff, it will taste more of love.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'm not thinking just about Holdays right now. I've got a child (acutally, Diana, age 19, is not exactly a child) 1/2 way across the country in Tacoma, WA. She loves packages. Back when I moved from Bangkok to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 1975, a care package was the weekly onion-skin blue aerogram.

But, any recommendations on what to send her? She's not a particularly big sweet eater, but sweets aren't out of the mix. What mails well, besides money and light bulbs (like you can't buy them in Tacoma???)

While I know I could buy all sorts of packaged crap, I figure that if Peter, Heidi and I make stuff, it will taste more of love.

How about chilied nuts - peanuts, pecans, etc. Or a big box of caramel corn?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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What's the kitchen situation like? If there's access to one, it's nice to make homemade "mixes", like cake/cookie mixes of some of your favorite recipes, where she just had to add water, or at most the oil/eggs. Maybe good homemade hot chocolate mix. On the savory end, you could mail her "soup kits" (e.g. herb/spices in a pouch, dried bean mix) with directions (hopefully minimal additions needed, like chopped onions).

On the "no additions required" end, you could send savory scones. Homemade crackers (might need to wrap these in bubble wrap). Homemade granola. Even Chex mix, or homemade trail mix would be nice. The famed "muddy buddy" peanut butter/chocolate cereal mix was always seems well-received. I like the idea of spiced nuts!

Have fun creating a bit of home to send your daughter! Speaking from experience, they mean a lot. :wink:

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Some kind of homemade biscotti? They're durable and not too sweet.

Also homemade candied lemon and/or orange peel, which are truly a labor of love. Ditto for candied ginger.

Stuffed dates? Alice Waters in her Fruit cookbook suggests stuffing dates with parmesan or pecorino; or toasted walnuts or almonds; or almond paste combined with grated orange zest and a few drops of orange liqueur.

I've tasted but not made Alice Medrich's Dried Fruit and Nut Cake from her Pure Desserts cookbook. I thought it was very good, a dense cake of dried fruit and nuts, that would ship well and keep well. Alice recommended it for hiking trips. A hiking trip would be a good excuse for me to bake and eat this cake.

This blog has an adaptation of Alice Medrich's Dried Fruit and Nut Cake recipe. Also a picture--not the first pic, but the second pic on the webpage.

http://www.tastypalettes.com/2008/01/dried-fruit-and-nut-cake.html

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One thing to remember is that college students who get care packages can trade heavily with the contents, so even if Diana doesn't have a big sweet tooth, she might like receiving sweets. Cookies are college currency.

If she likes spicy, these spicy walnuts are a good snack. They ship well and keep a long time too.

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Cheese straws/crackers are great for late-night munching. Homemade granola bars (or loose granola) is nice & can be relatively healthy (depending on your recipe). If she's on a campus meal plan, you might send her a bottle of hot sauce or her favorite condiment in a small size: campus food can be dreadfully bland. ETA: single-serving packets of Grey Poupon, Gulden's, etc. were like gold to us in dorm days.


Edited by HungryC (log)

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A bottle of good maple syrup that she can take to breakfast. Dried fruits and nuts - or those little freeze dried fruits you get a whole foods. Home made granola bars (oops - missed that suggestion already made). Coffees and teas. Fudge - for trading purposes of course. The really stable bubble solution for the difficult weekends so she can head outside and work on nothing more difficult than producing the biggest bubble she can. Homemade jams and preserves.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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agghhhhh.... diana's 19??!!!

my grandfather used to write me a letter every sunday night just as he had to my mom and uncle when they went to college and into the service(course my uncle had 3 years worth of letters when he got back from special assignment in korea to read). that was one of my favorite things...and he knew how to write local gossip real well.

on holidays(columbus day, thanksgiving, valentines day) mom would put together small packages with maybe some costume jewelry, some candy, some local treats i couldn't get in fredonia - her blondies, aunt belle's fudge, some of the spiced pumpkin seeds from picozzi's or one of her frozen bread loaves that, when it arrived was ready to be popped into the dorm's oven to finish baking and some of the wild grape jelly we used to make.

now of course there is email and cell phones so getting that letter isn't what it used to be which may be a bit of a loss for them.

ps - you went to st. olaf's? isn't that where betty white's character on Golden Girls was from? and aren't they known for their bread?


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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So long ago but I still remember the girl down the hall who's mother sent dry sausages, bread, and great mustard, in addition to the cheese and crackers mentioned above. Complete with wine made a great happy hour. Anything chocolate was also a biggie.

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For her birthday, I sent a disposable foil tin of Scotheroos (some sort of bar that features rice crispies, corn syrup, peanut butter and chocolate (in addition to our friend cash) and long with the chips for the frosting, along with a tubiee thing (don't think the tubiees in Miss Congeniality but rather the write on the cake thing) along with candles.

Other treats that have been popular have been the Trader Joe's Antioxidant fruit and nub mix.

Tomorrow's package features light bulbs (which apparently aren't available in Tacoma), microwave popcorn, a couple of Indian vacuum packed entrees, a bag of goldfish, some cranberry/pecan Lenox Biscotti (from Dorie's book), and some peanut butter cookies (from frozen nuggets that were from a school fund-raiser.

Thank heavens for a backdoor neighbor who is a postmaster. He brings me the flat rate boxes, and as long as I go on-line and print the postage, it is cheaper, and I bring them over to him, and he mails them!

Oh, the other inclusion. The new Purex 3 in 1 washer/dryer sheets. A very economical and packaging friendly way to do laundry.

The final bit of packaging to keep the cookies safe was a 2-week old edition of People which I my neighbor passed along.

Now that we're entering November weather (never mind that it's still mid-Oct. :blink: ), I'll contemplate bread and cheese, which she would love.

She loves mail, and especially packages, now that we've reached and era that is beyong the weekly letter, although we do that.

I remember well when someone our family knew when I was a frosh at St. Olaf was coming to the States from Thailand. My folks would set up a cassette recorder (remember those?) with a blank tape and record a dinner conversation between Mom, Dad and Sister. I lived on those.

Edited to add: Yes, she really is 19. Heidi si 15 (yikes) and Peter is almost 14 (double yikes as my baby is growing up!)


Edited by snowangel (log)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I remember well when someone our family knew when I was a frosh at St. Olaf was coming to the States from Thailand. My folks would set up a cassette recorder (remember those?) with a blank tape and record a dinner conversation between Mom, Dad and Sister. I lived on those.

This is how we communicated with my mom's parents in Argentina when I was growing up. Your comment brought back a lot of memories! I'm glad they saved these tapes, now that they live with my parents.

PS As a big advocate of care packages, I think the spiced nuts suggestion is great. :c)

Corinna


Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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One thing to remember is that college students who get care packages can trade heavily with the contents, so even if Diana doesn't have a big sweet tooth, she might like receiving sweets. Cookies are college currency.

If she likes spicy, these spicy walnuts are a good snack. They ship well and keep a long time too.

I think the spiced nuts will make it into the next package. Brilliant idea. I have several bags of nuts -- cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds. I think I'll do them mixed, and include a baggie of dried fruit.

I do know, from past experience, that the nuts can be a mix!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Tomorrow's package features light bulbs (which apparently aren't available in Tacoma)

LOL

It's not so much that they aren't available, as not "accessible"! Light bulbs are a pretty hot commodity at the college canteen, IIRC. Send more next time, to be used as trading currency.

My "baby" is now 20, and living at school, in shared housing. 4 women, 1 kitchen, 2 bathrooms; fun. Anyways, the most recent requests (aside from coins for laundry) have been ziplock bags, "good" plastic wrap and foil (i.e., better than the dollar store type), and toiletry items: q-tips, those little cotton pads for facial cleansing. Last year's wish list included small packets of spices and seasonings, olive oil, and rice. Heading into her senior year, and the last of on-campus housing, I predict there will be a request for her own small fridge. Coincidentally, I have found one which is about 2 cu ft., and might fit under her desk.


Karen Dar Woon

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Well, Diana has not needed coins for laundry, as her student card is one that can be used for the washer and dryer.

Last care package:

The light bulbs. OK, I'll give that they aren't that available (Tensor bulbs, which are now considered appliance bulbs, and trust me, she have to go a long way on multiple buses to get them).

Detergent (the new Purex 3-in-1 sheets; low packaging and easy to use).

Cookies (home-made).

Biscotti (home-made).

Artwork from Peter and Heidi.

An old Xmas photo of the five of us.

A few sample/hotel bottles of shampoo and conditioner I found (I just wonder how old they are).

Two of those shelf ready Indian entress that I got at the supermarket for a song because they are discontinuing them.

Those flat rate boxes from the post office are 'da bomb. You can get the boxes for free from the PO, and just print the postage (less than taking it to the PO!) on regular paper and tape them on, as long as you don't tape over the bar code and put them in your mail box. They are nice and sturdy.

To totally fill the box, and keep the cookies from getting crushed, I put as much air in the ziplocks as possible. The package arrived to her (Tacoma from Minneapolis) in two days, and not a single cookie was broken. Oh, I also filled the empty spaces of the box with mini Heath Bars.

But, what she most loved were the cookies and the pictures that Heidi and Peter had made. (another Oh, I also included a package of those gum-like things that you can use to put up photos and posters.)

Although Diana has been gone from home for the last three summers as a camp counselor, that is much different, as her camp is on the way to the cabin, so I can take her packages with perishable items.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Whoa, college care packages, that takes me back. Myself, I was always a fan of the savory stuff--cheese, dry sausage, crackers, smoked nuts, tins of smoked fish, etc. But I'd make an exception for really good intensely dark chocolate, or dried fruit.

In my college dorm, those tiny bottles of Tabasco sauce were a much-treasured commodity--they could rescue the most insipid dining hall fare, or perk up the inevitable student staple, cheap ramen.

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JAZ's spiced nuts are da bomb, and Diana will love them I think. What about fruitcake, with Christmas not all that far away? I have a recipe that takes six days to make rather than the 3 months of other ones, and it is awesome. That would ship well. I can't believe Diana is off to college, but I guess that will be Ryan next year!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Hot chocolate mix and spiced tea mix are both good. I loved getting preserved fruit I could eat with my toaster waffles, and Chex mix, and my mother's homemade popcorn balls (Halloween standby). I'll add my vote to the cheese and sausages, maybe with some well-wrapped cornichons and/or baby sweet gherkins.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Not homemade but this turned out to be a big hit my daughter's first year of college: dark chocolate covered espresso beans. A novel way to get caffeine, especially if you are living in the dorm, it's 11pm and you have a paper to write.

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Well, Diana has not needed coins for laundry, as her student card is one that can be used for the washer and dryer.

Not for laundry, but for vending machines. There's nothing worse than needing a bottle of water or a can of soda pop, and only having a dollar bill that is too screwed up to go through the dollar slot on the machine.


Cheryl

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I remember liking the following: cheese and crackers; instant hot chocolate; peanut butter; pretzels; powdered gatorade (I was an athlete); rice krispie treats; microwaveable rice/cous cous like Near East; nuts, $20 bills :) The best were the notes that my grandmom would include in my care packages. They always made me smile.

Although my dad didn't send care packages, he would send me random newspaper clippings and photos. I always enjoyed receiving them. I started college in 2003 when email and internet was just gaining popularity. I can only imagine how prevalent it is at colleges now--and how rare the written correspondence. Your daughter is quite lucky!

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What was her favorite snack as a child? Maybe she would appreciate a little something from those simpler years. Does she drink coffee or tea? It might help her through those late night study sessions. And it is almost halloween so a little trick or treat action maybe in order.

Dan

PS, don't forget the TP. colleges are not known for stocking soft stuff. Shoot me for saying this. I am not making any assumptions about your daughter or how you raised her. Maybe send her some protection, if you get my drift. If she is going to do it, might as well make sure she does it safely.


Edited by DanM (log)

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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So long ago but I still remember the girl down the hall who's mother sent dry sausages, bread, and great mustard, in addition to the cheese and crackers mentioned above. Complete with wine made a great happy hour. Anything chocolate was also a biggie.

yes, I was from Philly, but my roommate was from Lancaster Pa area--she got sent Lebanon Bologna--heavenly!

The thing that I have sent to many young friends & relatives is People Chow--it's sweet, but not too sweet

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,177,152170-231193,00.html

this looks like the recipe I use.

I always sent my daughter holiday decoratopns for every holiday for her room--from Odd Lots & the Dollar Store--I think they helped a little with homesickness.

Z

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Diana's Halloween package: A scarf I tie-died (gauzy, and keeping the ends, which are now fringe was a bitch). A few handfuls of candy (of the chocolate/caramet variety). A box (free) of some sort of oreo bars that come with a dip that is supposed to simulate the filling (like I said, it was free with a coupon), some of Maida Heatter's Pecan Passion Bars, a can of Progresso Clam Chowder (call it home shoppng and the right size to fill the box), a box of Triscuits (plain thin crisps) a hunk of Manchego and a hunk of brie. She's gone veggie on us (but will eat fish and egg stuff). Oh, I also stuck in a few Tootsie Pops. I filled out the box, to keep things nice and tight, with a ziplock of biscotie (the lenox ones from Baking From My Home to Your's, but not almond, instead lemon and dried blueberries).

The other college kids I know and love got candy, Pecan Passion Bars, and biscotti.

Oh, and they all got $5.00 I Tunes Cards (on sale at Costco).


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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