Pros and Cons to Consider in Giving Food Gifts
Food for Thought
There used to be a time when giving food as a gift seemed like a sweet and simple gesture. However, just like everything else it is no longer as simple as it seems.
Whether it be for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and holidays giving someone a homemade meal or treat is a nice way to show you care. But just like any other kind of gift there are some things you need to think about before going forward.
This hub aims to examine the positives and negatives in preparing food for that special someone in your life.
Pro #1: Everyone Eats
Unlike books or DVDs, cooking a meal never goes unappreciated. Everyone eats. While not everyone enjoys food in the same manner, a nice cake will not collect dust like that self-help book you saw on sale at Barnes and Noble.
Food is a basic necessity to all and a pleasure to many. When someone cooks for you, it is always a sign of appreciation and affection.
Americans have made eating a sport (i.e. competitive eating). But nonetheless, most holidays and special occasions are surrounded by food: for instance, birthday cake.
Con #1: Picky Eaters
Not to be funny, but there are people who progress from childhood to adulthood who are picky eaters. In fact it is so extreme for some people, that it is an actual disorder.
Selective Eating Disorder (or Adult Picky Eaters) are people who for some reason cannot eat all food groups with great ease and comfort like most adults. Their behavior is usually triggered by a dramatic episode that happened in their childhood involving food. Adult picky eaters are capable of living full and healthy lives.
Now, this is a rare disorder that affects select adults but there are alot more people who have particular objections to certain types of food.
For example, some people will do anything to avoid eating anything with a specific texture like seafood or okra. While it's obvious you won't make a gift of okra for everyone, the point is you have to consider who you are cooking for and if you are capable of satisfying their tastebuds.
Budget Recipe Websites
- Budget Recipes | MyRecipes.com
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- Budget Meal Planning Guide - AllYou.com
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- Budget Bytes
A site where you can budget your meals so both your wallet and stomach can remain full.
Pro #2: It's (Relatively) Cheap
Not to sound tacky but let's be real- everyone thinks about where there money is going these days. And while it is nice to have the funds to buy your loved one that Pashmina scarf they've been lusting for, you have to be practical.
While there are some extravagant recipes, you can always tailor your gift to the palette of friends, family, or coworkers.
Also, there are several sites you can go and spend a certain amount of money per serving to get the most bang for your buck. All it takes is creativity and a calculator.
Con #2: Food Allergies
More and more people are being diagnosed with food allergies every year. And it's not just young children, there are adult onset allergies as well. I did not find out about my nut allergies until I was in college. While I am glad I found out, the way I found out was not good.
The only safe way to find out about food allergies is in your allergists' office with a test. Do not get me wrong, that test was torturous but at least it confirmed what I need to avoid.
According to food labels which are required to list common allergens on ingredient labels there are eight common offenders.The eight most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. That being said, it is best to know what your intended recipient can eat.
Pro #3: Great Food Creates Great Memories
There are some meals in my life I will never forget. For instance, I remember exactly where I was when I first tried cow tongue tacos (it sounds tastier in Spanish) and I also know what I thought the first time I tried food on Amtrak (I am not going to go there).
That being said as a cook, you can impress a great and lasting experience of eating and sharing on the recipient. However, it also puts pressure on the food to taste good. No matter how you slice it, the food becomes more than a meal for some.
But that does not mean you have to feel like this is an episode of Iron Chef. If you enjoy cooking and sharing food with others this will come naturally to you. And if you have not done it, you get a great sense of pride getting to do something like this for others.
Con #3: It Can Be Considered Impersonal
I am not saying everyone is an automatic Debby Downer but sometimes people consider your intentions to the extent that they do not always accept your trademark cookies with open arms.
While I am not saying making cookies and giving them to family members should automatically be met with haste, you also have to think as the other person. In this instance it would certainly mean that the thought does count just as much if not more than the gift.
So if your plan does involve making food gifts, you might want to consider personalizing it to the tastes and desires of the intended. If you do no think that will work, consider doing something else if possible.
Pro #4: You Can Help Someone Who Needs It
The holidays bring about many desires and needs for everyone. With Hurricane Sandy, many families across the Northeast now have to worry about how they are going to rebuild. While there are great efforts to help get families back on their feet- you can also consider making them a meal.
And if you are not near to those who dealt with Hurricane Sandy, chances are you know someone who could use a good meal. If you attend a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious center chances are they have a running list of the elderly and sick. Or if you are not religious, you may belong to a social or community group who may have groups they like to help.
As much as everyone wants the latest iPad and Kindle for Christmas, nothing compares to the love and warmth you get from a hot meal made from the heart.
Most Popular Types of Food Gifts
Type of Gift
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Con #4: Your Food May Not Be Eaten
This should not come as a shocker, food is wasted. As many of us know, it is for completely inane reasons. But this is something to think about especially if you are cooking for someone who grew up in a different area. For instance, I have lived in the same state my entire life but we are constantly getting transplants from different areas- mainly the north. So what they are used to eating and what we eat are two different things.
That's not to say you cannot cook for someone from a different region or country but it is something to consider. Another thing to think about are people with specific diets like vegans. Unless you are a vegan or are well-educated on vegan cooking it might be risky.
And finally to be completely honest, people may not like your food but do not want to hurt your feelings. I have seen this play out alot and it is not bound to change unless both parties want to be completely honest. Even if you are cooking for your sibling, their tastes and your tastes are not the same.
Pro #5: You Improve Your Cooking Skills
The more you cook, the more likely you are to get better at it. And that comes from the trial and error of doing it. And if you really want to take it a step further, you can try cooking a specific cuisine for someone else.
One thing I have personally found handy are cookbooks at the public library. While I know many established cooks like to have their own cookbooks to mess up and edit, there are benefits from checking out a cookbook. If you want to try a certain style or are someone with specific issues like reflux, it is a great assess what you can make.
And in terms of benefiting others, it's like a test drive. You can give them some Italian home cooking and see if they like it. That way you can ask them to buy you a cookbook so you can make more of it! Come see, come sa.
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