Guest Post by Marlene M. Kristoff
Style at a Certain Age Saturday guest editor Marlene M. Kristoff shares luxury retail, home, and design ideas.
Gifting Gourmet this Holiday!!
December is here…with new memories to create for Holiday 2021!!
Each holiday comes with its own charm, taking us back to simpler times…
As we reminisce, it is always fun to pick and choose the traditions we would like to continue – or at least remember! It also cherishes those who are no longer physically with us…yet we love and remember.
What are your own special holiday memories of family treats and traditions? Holiday baking comes to mind for me. This week is a good time to consider which beloved recipes and memories you will honor this wild year, 2021! Especially, if you are mailing…
Since I was a little girl, baking has been a joy. Desserts are so much more fun to create than meat and potatoes! Christmas has always been a time to share favorites…especially from the kitchen!
Baking Christmas cookies was a special reward for me after school was finally out for the holidays! Pressing shapes, decorating, making Jam Squares like Aunt Julie taught us with lattice crossings…such creative, sweet joy!
I remember seeing my Czech Aunt Ann, rolling away on one of my very favorites – her famous, paper-thin, multi-layered Fluden with raspberry nut filling! She slaved over poppy seed and nut rolls, fudge, and divinity, with candy thermometer in hand! But, OMG the Fluden!! She continued to send it to me throughout my life, no matter where I lived…Boston, New York, or California! What a loving, memory!
My dear Mickey has mailed beautiful, homemade, assorted cookies to me…each Christmas till her 96 the year! What love!! Her special gift of individually wrapped, shortbread butter cookies always included the memorable, rich dark chocolate-covered peanut butter Buckeyes… an ode to our Ohio family history. However, it was her white powdered Wedding Cookies that were always devoured first! Yum!! Her joy of baking was always inspiration for my gifts to her throughout the year…gold and silver candy cups (for the buckeyes, of course,) striped waxed tissue, and other fun accessories she enjoyed to send her love!!
Family heritage, former cities, and homes are fun themes, as well. Being Italian, I think of Pizzelles, Biscotti and Panettone. All are wonderful with your favorite tea or coffee, morning, noon, or night! My Sicilian friend bakes biscotti from scratch for me at Christmas! The Christmas cake of ITALY, of course, is Panettone, a classic for sure. It contains candied orange, citron, lemon zest, and dry raisins. If you hurry, you might be lucky enough to find some!!
German Stollen takes me back to my first New York apartment in German Yorkville, East 86th Street, with memories and fabulous view of Manhattan from the 35th floor!
Biscotti Sampler | Dresden Stoller Bread
Charming, traditional Yoku Moku and Moravian cookies and their tins also hold special meaning. They are delightful, elegant treats from friends in my past lives that give little smiles!! You must try!
Gingerbread boys always remind me of my two nephews…and their very special arrivals. My parents were only blessed with 4 girls! My Italian father prayed for a boy…sadly, he did not live to see his grandsons! Obviously, I decorate their packages with Gingerbread boys!! I cherish family recipes that made me happy as a child…and those, I actually love to eat and share! My sister’s peppermint candy canes are incredible and she has just sent me the special recipe!! xoxo
As an adult, I collect many things…copper cookie cutters have become one of them (without handles.) They are fairly rare, and dear. I was thrilled to find a prized Eiffel Tower and Fleur de Lys on an antiquing outing. Now, year-round, they sit amongst my collection of English Blue and White Cornishware,
reminding me of France, dear friends, and travels.
Initials and Monograms have always been passions of mine. It’s fun to use these cookie-cutter versions to attach to gift packages, especially the colored coated ones! Each family member N, W, M, P, R can identify their own gifts, in the box that Auntie-Santa sent! These little initials can also hang as ornaments on a tree – all this and make cookies too! I just discovered initial cookie stamps in a photo, so am on the hunt! What fun!! After all, don’t we all love our initials??
Wouldn’t it be fun to have monogrammed plates for a fabulous cocktail or dessert party? Pickard porcelain Dessert- Salad or Bread-Butter Plates are perfect!! Lovely for engagement, wedding, or special everyday gifts too. Of course, all sizes for place settings are available. The custom Picard Signature Monogram collection at William-Sonoma is classic charm with 24k-gold or platinum in block or script letters to mix and match!! Remember, last initial is centered (unless the monogram is all the same size-as MMK).
To close this yummy post…I must share…a little chocolate memory. My Auntie June from Chicago would send towers of Frango Chocolates from Marshall Field – Coffee, Mint, and Chocolate! My sisters and I continue to share this little smile of a gift to one another…just, not in towers! Macy’s happily continues the beloved tradition of Frango, in many sizes and even gift wrapped for many occasions.
Until next Saturday, happy baking and shopping…with special remembrances of your own. Be prepared, enjoy the wonderful smells and ceremony of it all! Beloved memories and recipes from relatives and dear friends are priceless!
Certainly, you’ll put smiles on the faces of those you love and cherish this Holiday 2021…in person or over the miles! Isn’t that the best gift of all?!
Enjoy!! xoxo MMK
Guest Post by Marlene M. Kristoff