Tag Archives: food gifts

Doing Things By Halves

I baked someone half an apple streusel recently. I didn’t deliberately set out to do it. Too many apples, a new baking tin, a prodigal pack of butter returned from the crisper and an internal bellowing for sweetness had me humming and puddling thick mix between my fingers and the springform’s edges before I realised it was a REALLY big tin, and there was no way I – uh, I mean, my boys and I – could eat the entire cake.

Then I remembered one of the Primary Presidency on Sunday joking to the kids that if they wanted to they could make her an apple pie. Cool, I thought, chewing on a stray blob of buttery lusciousness, I’ll give her half the cake.

For the next hour or so while it baked I gnawed my bottom lip. Is half a cake okay to give? I didn’t have enough to make another whole cake (or, frankly, the inclination) AND it was going to be a big half… What if she was on a diet, or allergic to apples? Should I just keep it all or send it all? I didn’t have anything pretty to wrap it in either… Finally the timer went *GGUURRrrrhhh*, the cake looked smugly gorgeous and maybe – I grabbed my biggest knife and problem solved by cutting straight through the middle, narrowly avoided drooling on both pieces, grabbed the improvised platter and slid one half across for transporting.

I was still doubting my idea. It was now half a heart cake, looking more like a wonky comma than, well, anything else you would recognise. It was on two paper plates randomly stapled together. Wrapped roughly in tin foil, tied with a piece of ribbon I scalped off a card someone sent me. I looked up the address, and took off in the car to deliver my wonky shonky unpretty delicious stupid interpretation of a once good idea.

Her husband answered the door, I handed over my still warm foiled disaster and opened my mouth – only to discover I’d left my brain at home. “It’s for Tara” I babbled. “Please tell her I’m sorry it’s not an apple pie but it’s a German apple streusel – well, uh, half of one – and I thought she’d like it.”

Back in my car, I considered going back to their house, asking for the cake back and returning later with Martha Stewart in apology. I felt like an idiot.


Obviously, I do. Turns out, Tara loved it. She’d had a rough week, was at work when I delivered it, and while half of it was already devoured by her girls and hubby by the time she got home, the rest was there waiting for her. More than the struesel’s inherent wonderfulness, it made Tara feel loved and remembered. Which – while it wasn’t my goal (I just thought she’d like it) – made for a pretty good result. Well, that, and eating cake.

No matter how badly it was wrapped.

What are some ‘unwritten rules’ you follow with giving people things? Do you surprise others with gifts or service? Would you be happy to give – or receive – half a cake? What thoughts stop you when it comes to reaching out to someone?

‘Tis the season to give each other goodies (but I really wish we wouldn’t)

I know that some of you out there enjoy giving and receiving neighbor gifts at Christmas time. In fact, right now you’re putting the finishing touches on your homemade, hand-dipped chocolates or your caramel macadamia nut popcorn balls before deftly wrapping them in cellophane and gold French ribbon and delivering them to snow-covered homes all over the block. If you’re one of those people, you may want to skip this post. But if you’re like me, and the thought of having to come up with a cutsey neighborhood gift every year makes you want to stab your eyes out with your scalloped-edged scissors, then by all means, read on. Continue reading ‘Tis the season to give each other goodies (but I really wish we wouldn’t)