A few weeks ago, after a heart-stopping dinner at a restaurant in Atlanta, my husband and I were on our way out when the maître d’ handed each of us a small, glass jar. This is your gift from the chef, he said. Have a great breakfast. Already floating on wine and the silkiest foie gras I’ve ever had, I put the jar in my purse. But at work on Monday, I reached for it.
There it was: a little helping of homemade granola, golden and buttery and just for me. Intending to just try a bite, I popped off the canning seal and grabbed a spoon. With salt colliding with sugar, cranberries lending their satisfying chew and the oats toasted like they should be, I realized the only thing to do was to eat the whole thing and be grateful. And so I was. How couldn’t I be? Here was a chef who thought so much of his dinner guests, he decided to make them breakfast.
The gift is one I won’t soon forget. Gifts from the kitchen are like that. There are few things in life whose message is so beautifully simple: I thought of you and I took time for you and I hope you enjoy. What kindness.
These gifts also speak of the personality and history of the giver. When my father was sick, my mom’s friend Carol dropped off cheese and onion rolls, still warm and wrapped in a picnic basket, that were as comforting and thoughtful as she is. When my best friend Kristin and her husband David made from-scratch perogies for everyone on their Christmas list, they spoke of David’s heritage, their combined work ethic and their willingness to try new things, no matter the challenge.
The following recipes, you may be relieved to know, aren’t nearly as complex as perogies or homemade bread. But they nevertheless make a memorable impression. Like all good gifts, they speak of comfort, thoughtfulness and of the invaluable extension of friendship.