Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's Time For Parties: Here's Your Hostess Gift Guide

I know we often blog about writing, but lately, the holiday season has invaded my writing time and I've been willing to surrender to its glittering lure. The cards have started arriving in my mailbox and so have some party invitations. I always give people books. Along with the gifts of Midnight Ink books I plan to give several friends, here are some suggestions for biblio-themed host/hostess gifts.

It’s holiday party time again. You’re dressed to the nines, your shoes are shined, hair in place, and have told the kids not to wait up. On your way out the door, you realize that you’ve forgotten to buy a hostess gift! Digging through your pantry, you decide that the $5 bottle of red wine you bought for cooking purposes only or the box of chocolates from the drug store are not going to cut it as a gift. Now, you’re going to have to stop and buy flowers or a plant or something expected like that. Instead, here’s a list of books you can give as hostess gifts.

For Hosts With Young Kids – Wrap up The Sneaky Chef by Melissa Lapine. I’m not up on the scandal, but the rumor mills claims that her book and Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious have similar recipes. In that case, I’d opt for Lapine’s as she’s a nutritionist.

For The Couples Party– How about combining the movie Love, Actually with Dinner Dates: A Cookbook for Couples Cooking Together by Martha Cotton

For The Hostess Who Loves to Bake – Wrap up Bubby’s Homemade Pies by Ronald M. Silver, Jen Bervin, and Elizabeth Zechel. Recipes from Bubby’s in NYC along with Crate and Barrel’s Pie Spice Trio (comes with Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie Spice and Finishing Sugar in cute glass jars for $10.95)

For The Macho Host – The Sopranos is on DVD, but the killer cast could be on the hit list of your friend’s stovetop with Entertaining with the Sopranos by Carmela Soprano, Allen Rucker, Michele Scicolone, and David Chase. Give them this book with a bottle of Italian red and you might be invited to a future mafia dinner – yo!

For the Hosts With Little Time – This one’s easy. These folks need Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again by Ina Garten or Giada’s Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis. Wrap these with some pasta tongs or a vintage pair of salad servers and you’re good to go!

For The Grill Master – Let them dream of summer with a jar of BBQ sauce or some meat rub from Williams Sonoma. Pair one of these goodies with Weber’s Real Grilling (Weber’s) by Jamie Purviance and Tim Turner or How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen. They’re both great!

Presentation – I love to give away cookbooks wrapped in a beautifully patterned dishtowel. (See photo from Real Simple in which they use this technique for wine) I then get a wired ribbon and attach a wooden spoon, red rubber spatula, or holiday-hued measuring spoons to the gift. A handwritten note written on the back of a recipe card makes the perfect finishing touch.


Nina Wright said...

Coincidentally I browsed for cookbook gifts at my local B&N last night and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options.

Thanks, J.B., for sorting them out. I didn't even see the Sopranos cookbook. Dangerous yet delightful. A potentially good gift choice from a writer of murder mysteries. I think I'll take six.

Unless, that is, you can suggest a better choice for someone who writes humorous cozies. Is there a cookbook that alludes to either diva dogs (NOT cooking them, thank you!) or quaint coastal resort towns? Or maybe what I need is a collection of simple recipes for good noshes to be consumed near the fireplace while engrossed in a Midnight Ink mystery....

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Great post for the season, JB, and informative.

This year I bought a bunch of the Carol and Crimes, Gifts and Grifters anthology that I'm in and which benefits Toys for Tots. Those are being used as hostess and grab bag gifts.

Bill Cameron said...

I have to tell you, the Sopranos one would totally work for me. Every time I watch an episode, I get hungry. The Sopranos know how to eat.

G.M. Malliet said...

What a terrific blog topic!

I also wrap wine in pretty dishtowels (I bought about two dozen from Provence to use as gifts)...Wrapping anything in cloth helps save the planet from all the giftwrap trash.

Felicia Donovan said...

Great post, J.B. It got me thinking that we could do a "Midnight Inkers' Recipe for Murder Cookbook" for next year (with proceeds towards charity, perhaps?) Whaddaya say, Gang? My contribution would be "Death By Chocolate," naturally... What would everyone else's contribution be?

jbstanley said...

Death by Carbs - absolutely!

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I just don't see the world "blog" as a verb.

Paul Lamb

Nina Wright said...

Hey, thanks for the helpful hint, J.B. You've both enhanced and simplified my shopping experience.

Happy holidays!