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What do you bring the host and hostess?


BarbaraD
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Regarding the whole flowers thing -- and this is a rant I have about flowers and people's perfume/cologne in general -- I wish people would be more thoughtful to the aromas they bring along with them.

To me, there is no worse flower than Stargazers. They are quite beautiful, but by the second day can have a very insidious rank about them. It astonishes me that I frequent these high-end wine tastings and the pourers are trying to pretty-up there table with flowers that SMELL. Now who wants the aroma of a wine to be interfered with a flower or, worse yet, someone's perfume?

Okay, I'm done now. :hmmm:

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The best hostess gift I ever got was an assortment of cheeses and meats. The guests were down for the weekend from Philly. On their way down they stopped at the Italian Market and went nuts. All weekend long we had something to snack on and I was in Italian meat heaven for the next week.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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I have loved receiving flowers in vases, home grown herbs, candles, chocolates and wines, especially dessert wines!

I also hate having to stop and fix up flowers in a vase. Yes the gesture is great but I'm busy. I actually think sending flowers (I like orchids) is really nice. That way they arrive the day before, or that day or even the day after as a thank you.

Another great idea for cooks and grillers are spice rubs. I especially love the Tom Douglass Rub with Love ones.

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See, it's so personal. I love getting kitchen towels, and don't really care what's on them, as long as they're pretty. And evoo, etc. And flowers (I'm of the 'dump 'em in a bucket' school of thought if I'm busy, or I show the giver where the vases are and ask them to fix them up for me if I'm still working "Oh, I'm at a critical point here, would you mind plopping them into a vase for me?"

And I agree with the point about the too-fragrant flowers. Yeeuucchh. Lilies. My neighbor gets them the next day.

I like to give something that the hostess can use at another time, depending on what she likes. I've brought gardening baskets with seeds and tools, wines, and chocolates and books (together, for a rainy Seattle afternoon). I always emphasize that it's for them, for later, so they don't feel compelled to serve that wine or chocolate that night.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Regarding the whole flowers thing -- and this is a rant I have about flowers and people's perfume/cologne in general -- I wish people would be more thoughtful to the aromas they bring along with them.

To me, there is no worse flower than Stargazers. They are quite beautiful, but by the second day can have a very insidious rank about them. It astonishes me that I frequent these high-end wine tastings and the pourers are trying to pretty-up there table with flowers that SMELL. Now who wants the aroma of a wine to be interfered with a flower or, worse yet, someone's perfume?

Okay, I'm done now. :hmmm:

I never take flowers anywhere. I have some allergies to certain ones and I know a lot of people who also have problems. When I invite people to dinner or for some event I always give them a heads up and ask that they not bring or send flowers.

The same goes for potpourri and scented candles. I don't give or get anything that might have an effect on the enjoyment of food.

Several years ago soon after getting the kitchen of my dreams, I gave a dinner party for which I had prepared a beautiful starter with fois gras. Unfortunately, one of my guests brought a date who was so marinated in perfume that no one could taste the delicate fois gras and I was furious because of the monumental waste of a serious amount of money.

Rather than ruin the entire dinner I moved everything outside to the deck where, even though it was not terrible warm, at least there was a chance that the outside air could carry the scent away. However that was not the end of it.

I then caught this idiot in my bathroom, smoking a cigarette, and that was the last straw. I have a severe allergy to tobacco and everyone I know knows about it. The fact that this woman had asked earlier if she could smoke and was told no, and the reason why, didn't seem to make an impression, nor did the fact that I could become seriously ill because of it.

In my opinion, most people do not always consider the effect that scented things can have on the tasting of food, or of wines for those that drink, and of course for many years smoking was a normal thing to do. I never smoked but have been told by many people who have and stopped, that foods tasted so much better to them after they got it all out of their systems.

Many more subtle flavors were noted. Often they finally "got" why other people raved about certain foods.

One long-time friend never could see why I would get so excited about truffles when the season began and couldn't understand at all why I would spend so much on a little black lump that seemed so innocuous.

Then she quit smoking and a year or so later happened to be visiting when I received a shipment of truffles by overnight delivery.

As soon as I opened the package she wanted to know what it was. I prepared the classic scrambled eggs with truffle for dinner and she was hooked. She had eaten them before but had never experienced the effect.

My rant is now ended too....

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Vanilla beans ain't cheap these days (damn those Madagascar cyclones!), so I rarely use it in my dessert-making. A friend recently came to my house for dinner bearing six plump vanilla beans. That was the most awesome, thoughtful hostess gift I ever received.

(Edited for speling...)

Edited by cherrypi (log)
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Vanilla beans ain't cheap these days (damn those Madagascar cyclones!), so I rarely use it in my dessert-making. A friend recently came to my house for dinner bearing six plump vanilla beans. That was the most awesome, thoughtful hostess gift I ever received.

(Edited for speling...)

That is a lovely gift. I wouldn't turn them down. It really helps when you know the habits of the recipient. The following isn't exactly a hostess gift but was fun.

One of my friends had to put her life on hold and turn her bakery over to her employees for several months while she relocated to her daughter's place and helped her through the aftermath of a tornado in which her husband was killed when their home was destroyed.

She called me and a couple of other friends to let us know the day she was due back asked if one of us would pick her up at the airport and suggested we get together at her place for dinner.

My other friends and I got together and bought a couple of crates full of the perishable staples one needs to stock up on after a long time away from home. Butter, eggs, bacon, milk, cheeses, fresh vegetables, salad fixings.

I had a key to her place and we went there early that morning and did a little cleaning and freshening, stocked the fridge and made sure everything was shipshape.

We then went to LAX to pick her up and drove her home. We hung around the van waiting for her to get into the house and find our surprise. She was speechless.

Instead of going out to dinner, we ordered pizza so she could relax and rest that evening.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have a couple of good friends who don't really cook, so they love coming to our house for dinner or snacks or whatever. A few years ago, they began bringing me a cookbook as their hostess gift. As a serious cookbook junkie, I thought this was a very good thing. So now, the deal is, if you bring me a cookbook (or give me one as a gift for some other occasion) you get invited for a special meal which will feature some recipes from that book.

This arrangement seems to make everyone happy. :biggrin:

As a side note for any who may think the art of hostess-gift-giving is going by the wayside, last winter my husband and I hosted his annual Thank You party for the many volunteers who give their time to his organization. Several of his high school students were invited -- all brought us a hostess gift. I was very impressed.

Laurie

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