Homemade Christmas Food Gifts

by admin on December 7, 2011

Being a poor university student, I often struggle with buying affordable and useful Christmas presents. This year, as I am a fairly good cook, I made hand dipped chocolate truffles in three different flavours. While materials-wise these presents were inexpensive, I put a great deal of time and effort into them, resulting in very professional looking truffles. About a week before Christmas I gave some to my boyfriend of a year to share with his family (mother, who I get on well with, and a teen-aged brother), with the message that they do not have to be kept until Christmas, and as they have cream in them there is an expiry date. This is in addition to presents that I have gone out and bought for them all.

After Christmas, I’m at my boyfriend’s place (he still lives at home) and see that my box of truffles has been wedged into a corner of the fridge and is untouched. I was rather put out about this – to have put time and effort into something only to have it ignored (and it’s not as if anyone in the house is dieting or has food allergies, and the truffles my family received were appreciated, so it couldn’t have been the taste – not that anyone had any). In the end I had to throw them away (due to the cream). I know she didn’t do it intentionally, and she is otherwise a nice lady, but it made me feel that my efforts were unappreciated. And I never did receive a thank you.  0101-10

I love making and giving food gifts at Christmas.  Over the years I’ve made gourmet marshmallows cut into snowflake shapes that I combined with hot chocolate mix, chocolate pizzas, white chocolate dipped Ritz cracker/peanut butter sandwiches, jams, etc.  all lovingly wrapped in attractive packaging.  This year I’m giving jars of Strawberry Margarita Jam, Carrot Cake Jam and I found these awesome cookie molds for making beautiful chocolate covered Oreos.

The etiquette rule in regards to giving gifts, any gifts, is that once it leaves your hands and becomes the possession of the receiver, you no longer have any control over what becomes of that gift.  I’ve learned over the years not to give certain food gifts to particular people because they never enjoy them.   A dear friend of mine gave me a jar of homemade apple butter a few years ago and while I appreciate the effort and thanked her for it, it is still unopened three years later.   I don’t have the heart to throw it out unused.

 

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Jojo December 7, 2011 at 6:10 am

By the look on my boyfriend’s sister’s face when I mentioned the figgy pudding I gave her last year, I’m going to guess no one in their, rather large, family touched it. I’m not offended, just sad that they didn’t regift ( it’ll last a good year if stored well).
My b/f and I never managed to get a taste of any of the ones we gave last year but according to my mum hers was delicious and she’d like one again this year. My ex-husband also perked up at the mention of another one too. I think 2 out of 3 for a food gift is actually quite good odds.
I usually make Christmas gifts that keep for at least six months if stored correctly when giving to direct family, as I know they’ll take time to get round to it. For more distant people I make ginger biscuits and fudge – they keep for a couple of weeks if not consumed on Christmas day and will go down quickly.
As Admin points out, we cannot control what others do with the gifts we give them but we can enjoy the making and the giving.
Last year I had to make an entire tin of peanut butter fudge for my brother just to keep him from eating the ones I’d made as gifts. Even then, he ate the two bags I’d stored in the fridge to give to a friend I wasn’t going to see until the new year – his defense was that they were still there after Christmas so could no longer be considered a gift…..brat!
Keep on baking OP – there are people out there who appreciate it!

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Bint December 7, 2011 at 7:40 am

My sister never gets around to opening anything. I’ve been in her house several times and found presents I’ve given her untouched in the middle of piles. Some people are just like this. It’s not intentional. I really wouldn’t be upset about it, or look for reasons. It’s far more likely they meant to eat them.

As an aside, why are you throwing them out of someone else’s fridge? I hope this is a typo because you shouldn’t be doing that in her house.

Just don’t give them any next time. As Miss Jeanne says, some people don’t appreciate them but far more people are too disorganised to do so.

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Raven December 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

It’s possible they’re just not dessert people – truffles can be really rich, and I for one don’t really like them, even though I LOVE chocoloate. It may also be the case that they got shuffled to the back (I have lost so many things in my fridge over the years, and it makes me sad to think of the waste), especially during the holiday season where everything is in larger quantities, or you have a lot of things in the fridge you don’t have the rest of the year.

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catwoman2965 December 7, 2011 at 9:53 am

I agree; once you give a gift, it’s the recipients and they can do waht they want with it. that being said, I’ve cut back on gift giving for my one cousin, as I’ve seen the stuff I’ve given her shoved into a basement closet, and so on. So my rule of thumb is I don’t put much effort into her gifts anymore.

I give homemade gifts to my co-workers every now and then, I have no idea if they like them, or simply chuck them, but I figure its better not knowing :)

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ferretrick December 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

Some people don’t care for fancy, rich chocolates with cream, or anything overly sugary, myself included. It’s not personal. Either accept that your gift may not be to the recipient’s taste and may not get eaten, or put a little more effort in to finding out what foods the person likes before spending time and effort making something.

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S December 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

I had a similar incident. For some co-workers I purchased some pretty holiday tins and then filled them with several kinds of cookies, candy and caramel corn. Everyone seemed to enjoy the gift. One co-worker gushed a great deal about how beautiful the package was, how delicious it all looked. How her family would enjoy it. I was pleased that she appreciated the gift so much.

A week went by and the tin never left her desk. The holidays came and went and it never left her desk. I peeked inside and all the treats were still intact. We rolled into February and the tin was still there, contents untouched, shuffled to a shelf behind the desk obviously forgotten.

I wasn’t super offended because I realize that food gifts are not something everyone enjoys. Also, this was only a casual co-worker. Still, it hurt my feelings a little and the event changed my opinion of her. It felt great when she expressed her appreciation of the gift. But after seeing my “wonderful” gift grow stale and moldy it occurred to me that she might be a bit of a fake.

If she was being genuine she would have enjoyed the gift like she (enthusiastically) said she would. If she was a gracious person she would have thanked me warmly (rather than gushing) and either used or disposed of the gift how she wished.

I suppose I wouldn’t have been so offended if she hadn’t gone overboard thanking me for the tin in the first place. In the end she wasn’t even polite enough to sneak it into the trash so I didn’t have to see (daily) how much she really didn’t like the gift.

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Alkira6 December 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

I’m sorry that you feel hurt that your gift was not used, but that is the nature of the beast. Every time that you give a gift, whether homemade or purchased, once it leaves your hands it is no longer under your control. I’ve had the same experience with some liquers and cordials that I made. My BIL took them to his then fiance’s family in Italy. They actually sent a short video of them making a toast with it and very eagery drank the extra bottles that I sent for them. OTOH, my MIL still had not opened hers 5 years later and had actually arranged the bottles very artistically for display.

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Xtina December 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

This one is fairly straightforward, OP–as our e-Hell Dame points out, once the gift leaves your hands, that’s the last bit of control you have over it. Sadly, some people will either forget, not find time, or just plain not like what you give them, waste as it may be. Doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t appreciate the gesture of you giving them a gift, which is what counts the most.

But now you know–maybe food gifts (unless it’s something you know they consume like crazy) are not a good idea for your boyfriend’s family. Don’t feel as if there was something wrong with the truffles.

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SHOEGAL December 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

I wouldn’t take this personally – truly – sometimes people have the best of intentions but there wasn’t an opportunity to scarf them down.

Some examples: my sister gives Christmas cookies every year – I love the cookies truly -but I’m never going to eat dozens and dozens of them. Ultimately, I throw some out and I feel terribly guilty.

My husband makes Chex Mix – gives that out. He gives some to everybody – but my brothers and their families weren’t eating any of it. We stopped giving and honestly – they don’t miss it. It is not their cup of tea – perfectly fine – he was not offended.

One last example – my other sister gave my mother and her mother in law a flat of pansies for a Mothers Day gift. My mother planted all in flower boxes around her porch and they flourished and grew and were absolutley gorgeous. Every time my sister came to my mother’s house she was so pleased that my Mom was enjoying them. On the other hand, her mother in law had left them in the yard, never planted any of them and they all eventually died. My sister saw this too when she visited – and was upset about it. Her mother in law is a rather nice lady – just not a gardener. So I know you can’t help but feel hurt that they didn’t eat the truffles – but try not to take it personally. I still have gift cards I haven’t used!!!!! Sometimes you just don’t get around to it.

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Just Laura December 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

The OP is welcome to send me some of those truffles. They will be consumed within a week.

I’ll even send a thank-you note.

Bint, I think the OP tossed them because s/he knew the cream would be unsafe at that point, since they didn’t come with a “Eat by Date” label. I would excuse her in this instance.

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Reason December 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

One does not have to have food allergies or be on a diet in order to avoid chocolate truffles. One could be diabetic or one could avoid excess sugar out of general health concerns.

Once a present was offered, refusing it would have been rude thus she had to accept but was under no obligation to eat the truffles.

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Cami December 7, 2011 at 10:27 am

One of the lessons one learns as life goes on is that many people do not appreciate homemade gifts. There are also considerable numbers of people who will not eat anything that comes from someone else’s kitchen (especially if they have cats). Over time, you will learn through the school of life who will appreciate such gifts and who won’t. Don’t fret about it. It’s not worth it.

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Wink-n-Smile December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

She threw them out because of the expired cream. She didn’ t want them to get sick, if they decided to finally eat them.

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LovleAnjel December 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

Perhaps the chocolates ended up wedged in the back corner as Christmas dishes and leftovers got shoved in and around the fridge. This wouldn’t be much of a stretch – just this summer I found some Xmas chocolates wedged in a back corner for that reason (I still ate them – they were a lovely surprise). Or perhaps someone in the household hid them from others and then forgot where they were (my siblings & I did that a lot).

My advice, if you are the recipient of a food gift you are unlikely to consume for whatever reason, cover your tracks. If someone else in the family likes the item better, give it to them (you can “accidentally” leave it at their house or put it in the wrong bag). If not, taste it, then toss it. It’s better it gets thrown away without their knowledge than gets found untouched months later. (I make cookies & bread as gifts every year, and I prefer they be discretely disposed of than left out where I might find them unused.)

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Shalamar December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am

A few years ago, my husband and I arrived at his parents’ place on Christmas Day, and I presented my mother-in-law with a tin of homemade candy. Her response was, and I quote: “Ugh, take it away. We’ve got too much sweet stuff already.”

Her daughter, bless her heart, overheard what she’d said (and no doubt saw the stunned look on my face) and said quickly “If YOU don’t want it, Mum, I’ll eat it! I love (Shalamar’s) homemade candy!”.

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Rebecca December 7, 2011 at 10:53 am

It may not be a matter of appreciation. They may have received a few food gifts over Christmas, are saving “the best for last” and forgot that you mentioned they’d expire. And no matter how delicious and universally-loved a food is, you’re always going to run into people who just aren’t that keen on it. I’m convinced there are fruitcakes out there that are still circulating from 1992 because people can’t stand them and regift them, but some people are crazy about them! Just about the only thoughtless thing they did was leaving the truffles where you might see them.

People are forever buying me smelly candles, lotions and soaps because most women love them. They give me a headache. I graciously accept, and then quietly tuck them away, regift them or dispose of them. Although I would be mortified if the original gifter ever saw them unopened, there would at least be the dubious blessing of letting them know to try something different next year.

All you can do is keep trying different food or gift ideas until you hit a winner.

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Jenna December 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

Bint, I took it that she threw them out because she was worried that someone might come along, eat the truffles and get sick since the cream could go bad. I think the OP meant well with this.

I love to bake but this is why I won’t give baked goods as gifts. I know too many people who will not eat food made by others. It could be allergy concerns, special diets or concern that they don’t know how well I keep house or how often I wash my hands.

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Serenity S. December 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

This year I have a really tight budget as well. I made gifts of homemade spice rubs for steak or bbq meat. I hope that the people I give them to won’t act similarly. I think your gift sounds lovely OP, and I would have tried it if I received one. Also, I am probably going to make homemade salt dough ornaments with my children, and maybe homemade hot chocolate mix. Admin’s homemade gifts sound really nice as well, but I don’t know if I could make anything that fancy as I don’t have a lot kitchen utensils for canning or candy making. :)

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Lily G December 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

I made pounds of fruitcake from a 1700’s recipe I’m giving at Christmas. Fortunately I know who loves it and who hates it-mine won’t get thrown away.

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many bells down December 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Strawberry Margarita Jam? I want that recipe! Sounds divine.

And I love apple butter, give me your friend’s number :P

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Stacey Frith-Smith December 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I have to admit that my private sympathies are with the gourmet foodies of the world who take the time to bake, dip, can and do the wonderful things that make magic of the mundane. Publicly, however, once given, the gift has “passed beyond the veil” in terms of the giver. I know that food preferences can be as individualized as fragrance, makeup and clothing. In that regard, perhaps it takes a combination of wisdom, tolerance and patience to decide whom, when and what in terms of this type of gift. I also cannot help but wonder whether people have become so accustomed to boxes, cans and plastic wrapped foods that some are no longer comfortable with anything not prepared in a commercial kitchen or originating with an identifiable manufacturer. It’s entirely too bad, because the real artisans of the world are not the mass producers but those who work in their medium (be it food, clay or paint) from a perspective that big producers cannot. You can see this phenomenon with “big agriculture” and organics, and almost anything where a change of scale dictates a change in production. It is a sad world where we don’t treasure the unique gifts of those around us unless we can source it from a commercial vendor.

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Hemi Halliwell December 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

It really did not seem to be an intentional slight. Holidays are crazy, busy times and maybe they simply forgot they had them.
I love food gifts. You can send me chocolate truffles all year and I will be glad to eat them. :)

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Cashie December 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Carrot cake jam? Oh yum that sounds delicious. Miss Jeanne. Is there any way we can compel you to post that recipe? Pleease? (ps. My phone wont let me type commas. Please forgive my punctuation.)

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AS December 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Unfortunately, I should admit that I have been guilty of having to throw away food items others prepared for me. The worst thing is that I have often kept it longer so that I can find the “right time” to savor them (I sometimes eat a part of them, and leave some pieces / quantity) – and that “right time” never came around before the food items went bad. Also, being grad students, my fiancé and I hardly stay at home, and that results in some stuff just sitting in the fridge forever. It breaks my heart to throw them away, but we don’t have an alternative when things start to go mouldy. I am learning to realize that “now” is often the “right time”, but I can only hope that I’ll change my ways completely.

My point here is that once you give something to someone, don’t expect too much. Most of the time, they might just be disorganized (or dysfunctional like me), and not because they meant to hurt you in any (even unintentional) way.

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AS December 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

PS… as Bint pointed out, I hope you didn’t volunteer to throw away something from your boyfriend’s parent’s fridge.

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DGS December 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I can understand and empathize with the frustration of putting great effort into making something beautiful and delicious that went untouched, but I wouldn’t take it personally. Some people get an abundance of holiday sweet treats and do not get around to sampling all of them, while others may have been too disorganized to get to trying them. Also some people may not care for truffles but may have been reluctant to share that with the giver for fear of offending her – they may have accepted them graciously and put them in the fridge with the purpose of regifting them or sharing them with someone who does like truffles.

I always give food baskets for Hanukkah to my Father and Stepmother, as they always enjoy various treats and comment on what they liked best (Chocolate babka from Dean & Deluca was a huge winner one year, while another year, they loved my homemade dark chocolate, hazelnut and cranberry bark), but I never purchase or gift edible treats to my Mother and Stepfather, as if I did, it would be sitting dusty and untouched in the pantry a year later or rotting in the back of the fridge. I can appreciate wanting to give a present on a budget, so maybe, next year a framed photograph of the boyfriend’s family or another inexpensive yet thoughtful gift may be a more enjoyable selection?

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Niamh84 December 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm

“As an aside, why are you throwing them out of someone else’s fridge? I hope this is a typo because you shouldn’t be doing that in her house.”

@Bint

I would presume she threw them out as she was worried someone would eat them and end up sick. She wouldn’t have been able to ask the persons permission to throw them out as that would most likely have been seen as her taking a dig at the fact her present wasn’t eaten. I think better to commit the small faux pas of throwing these out than to run the risk of people getting sick!

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Hannawhodanna December 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I love to make homemade gifts too, and over the years I’ve noticed when they’ve gone unused or left in closets, or whatever. I will not stop making gifts and giving them because for me it means I’ve put my heart into it and I won’t stop. But, I do know that all homemade gifts are subjective presents and some people simply aren’t going to like them for whatever reasons, just like they are’t going to always like the boughten department store gifts.

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Ashley December 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Not all of us are unappreciative of food gifts. I have a friend who is a fabulous baker and honestly, I would rather have her bake me something than buy me something. Last year she did want to buy us something but she was a bit short on cash so she went nuts and baked about 8 different kinds of cookies, and packaged them all neatly in a tin for each of the friends she was gifting them to. On the very top of the cookies in the tin she had made a gingerbread man in the likeness of each of our respective favorite incarnations of Doctor Who. It was awesome!

I do have to agree with admin though, once the gift leaves your hands, it’s not yours to worry about anymore.

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aka Cat December 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

It’s quite possible that the truffles were being saved for a special occasion, despite the warning about the expiration date. It’s also quite possible that no occasion would be deemed special enough for them. (Because then they would be gone! Forever!)

If you are dealing with someone who thinks this way, probably the only way they’ll ever get a chance to enjoy the goodies you make is if you serve some when they’re invited over.

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The Elf December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Keep on baking and making truffles (and send some to me!) I’m also a holiday food gift-giver and a happy food receiver. A couple of years I’ve bought food to give out, but most of the time I make it. I enjoy the hobby, trying out new recipes, etc. Plus it is a good way for me to have a cookie or truffle without keeping a whole batch. Portion control is awesome!

You can’t control if they like it or not. So just let it go. If you want to console yourself, just consider that they may have been overlooked as a mistake – shoved to the back to make room for Christmas dinner dishes. I’ve done that before!

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Hellbound Alleee December 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I still feel bad to this day that I never used that tape of Carl Kassel’s answering machine message I won from “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” They will never know. But I just never had an answering machine, and this was before he recorded voicemail.

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ellesee December 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I have a question: if they verbally thanked OP and showed appreciation (hugs, smiles, etc whatever visual/physical form), are they due to write OP a thank-you note as well?

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Kitty Lizard December 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

My husband had an office manager in his law firm who was a fine Kentucky lady who made bourbon
balls for Christmas. NO ONE made finer bourbon balls. Everyone waited for Christmas for Miss
Margaret’s bourbon balls. (She made them in June, so they had time to mellow.) Everyone in the
firm got a Mason jar full of bourbon balls. They were truly fine. My husband and I had an extremely
nasty argument one Christmas when he ate the entire jar on the way home from work, and didn’t
leave me one single bourbon ball. He finally had to confess his piggy, shameful behavior to Miss
Margaret herself, and she sent me a Mason jar of bourbon balls for myself. Miss Margaret’s
bourbon balls were truly valued.
Kitty

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kingshearte December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I can understand why you’d feel a little hurt about this, but as others have pointed out, once a gift leaves your hands, what happens to it is out of your control. C’est la vie.

But I guess the rest of us can all take something away from this: if we receive a food gift we’re not interested in eating ourselves, we should arrange for it to be eaten by someone who will appreciate it – if nothing else, we all end up at at least one holiday party at some point, right?

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Mabel December 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Aww. But you know, they might have put them in the fridge to keep them nice so they could eat them later, and they got pushed to the corner where they disappeared for a while. My fridge is like that. I’m forever throwing food away because it gets pushed WAY back and I forget it’s in there. Drives me crazy.

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Pixie December 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Nothing to say about the story itself, but those Jams sound so yummy!

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kudeebee December 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I agree with other posters who said that many people don’t appreciate homemade gifts. While many appreciate the time, effort and thought that go into these gifts, others view them as a cheap, easy gift; many won’t eat food from other’s kitchens; many are picky eaters. I think giving any type of handmade gift is a “know your audience” type of gift.

Ask your boyfriend what his family thinks about homemade gifts; observe the type of sweets that they eat–if they eat any; ask questions about what they like/dislike. It could be that they don’t like sweets that much and just tossed the box in the fridge and forgot about it.

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Bint December 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I understand the OP would have chucked the truffles out with good intentions but it’s still not something she should do without asking in someone else’s house. She should have spoken to her boyfriend discreetly to point out they’d have gone off.

Would posters here really appreciate a guest going into their fridge and throwing something out without asking because she noticed it was out of date? That’s overstepping a boundary in respecting someone else’s home, regardless of motive, and no, people shouldn’t do this. Tell the boyfriend. Let him deal with his family’s stuff.

The chances are that had she left them there, the mother would have seen them and exclaimed, “Oh, no! I meant to eat those! I can’t believe I forgot them!” then apologized. Instead she’ll have forgotten completely. And imagine if the MIL found them in the rubbish and realized the OP had chucked them!

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Louise December 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I sympathize, OP. It’s not fun to see your hard work go to waste even though your boyfriend’s family was within their etiquette rights not to eat the truffles.

You could strike them off the homemade goods list, or ask your boyfriend if there’s a particular treat his family really likes and make them that.

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Allie December 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

They may just have forgotten all about them, which can happen even if they loved the gift. Or, who knows what your boyfriend told them. He may have just gone over, thrown them in the fridge and forgotten to mention them. Next time, I would give them in person and tell them “I made these by hand; I hope you enjoy them.” That way, you’ll know the gift was properly delivered, you’ll get your thank you right then and there, and at that point, put it out of your mind as it’s out of your hands. BTW, couldn’t the chocolates be frozen, or would that cause them to “sweat” cocoa and not look as pretty?

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Just Laura December 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Would posters here really appreciate a guest going into their fridge and throwing something out without asking because she noticed it was out of date?

Bint:
Normally, I would agree with your wholeheartedly. However, the truffles were sans labels, and the OP was in a unique position to know if they were still good. This isn’t the same as if I came to your flat, noticed your yogurt was 3 days past expiration, and proceeded to toss them (in which case I would be rude… and a bit odd).

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admin December 8, 2011 at 8:25 am

On the matter of whether the OP should have thrown away the truffles, it is irrelevant whether she knew the expiration date or not. They are NOT her truffles, it is NOT her refrigerator and she had no business taking back a gift and throwing it away. What she should have done was informed her MIL that the uneaten truffles were now probably bad due to not having been eaten in a timely manner. And the OP should put an expiration date and instructions on how to store the truffles on future packages. Imagine the backstory to this one if it were reported from the boyfriend and his mother’s perspective.

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Spike December 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I wonder if your MIL is anything like my Mom, who does odd things like saving pieces of her wedding cake in her freezer for decades, putting fancy shampoos someone gave her in, like, the 80s on display, leaving the plastic on lampshades, or any number of other strange ideas. It’s possible that she just thought they were “too nice to eat” and were better for looking at, or to be kept for nostalgic purposes (“look at the thing our DIL did for us one time!”). Then again, only she knows the answer to that question. Most likely it was either forgotten about or they just didn’t like really sugary stuff, which as others have mentioned, some people just don’t have a sweet tooth.
Nevertheless, not thanking you for the truffles was pretty weak. However, I don’t think she should be condemned for not regifting them right away. The holiday season is busy, and a few wasted truffles aren’t the end of the world.

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Rhonda December 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

OK, I have a chocolate truffles story. I swear up and down this is the truth.

I dislike mushrooms, always have. I also know about truffles that are found in the woods by specially trained truffle hounds and pigs. Because they sound as appetizing as mushrooms (to me), I have always avoided them.

At some point, years ago, someone offered me “chocolate truffles”. I honestly, truly believed they were the same things as found in the woods by truffle hounds. In other words, chocolate-covered mushrooms. Yech! Ewww! Barf! Gag!

I said, politely, “No thank you” and have done so ever since. The idea of eating chocolate-covered mushroom-like truffles is disgusting, but it seems everyone else likes them. Oh, well, no accounting for taste.

Last Valentine’s Day, my loving husband bought me a fancy box of chocolate. The next morning, I samples a few delicious pieces and noticed that some were “truffles”. Yech.

He woke up, came in to make his coffee and said:

“I see you’ve sampled some of the candy.”

“Yes, thank you very much, it was lovely. By the way, you can have the truffles chocolates.”

“Why? What’s wrong with them?”

“You know I don’t like mushrooms.”

“What!!??!!”

The look on his face was priceless. He then explained to me that chocolate “truffles” have NOTHING to do with real truffles. I. Never. Knew. That.

I have since tried chocolate truffles and yes, they are tasty, but I still have to get over the “truffle” name psychologically.

Every word of this is true, I swear. I did not have a clue until Feb 15, 2011, that chocolate truffles did not have mushroom-like centers.

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Cat whisperer December 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Oh my. I feel for the OP, I really do; but I think the only etiquette felony that we can actually charge the boyfriend’s family with is failure to properly thank the OP for the gift. That is inexcusable. If a gift is given in the proper spirit of generosity, thanks are mandatory, even if the item is something for which you have no use.

I think you have to cut the boyfriend’s family some slack with a gift of homemade candy. While OP can’t imagine a reason they never even tasted the candy, there are some possibilities that do not reflect badly on the gift: maybe the family has received other hospitality that involved food or beverages they couldn’t avoid, and just never got hungry enough to eat the truffles before their expiratory date. Maybe the truffles were put in the refrigerator during a time when the family was really busy and they just plain got pushed to the back and forgotten. Maybe, strange as it may sound, the family really doesn’t like truffle candies– some people don’t, they find them too rich. Those aren’t felonies.

There’s another prospect that I hesitate to put out there, but I think it has to be explored: if the boyfriend’s family is really neat-freak and the girlfriend is more relaxed about her housekeeping, the family may be reluctant to eat food she’s prepared.

This is an attitude I’ve encountered. I have a multiple-cat household and all my cats are indoor cats. While I am meticulous in my housekeeping and I do not allow cats into the food-preparation areas, there are some people in my life who just cannot get over the fact that I have cats and they live 24/7 in my house.

These people are extremely fastidious, they do not have animals, and they just find the idea of food prepared by someone who allows animals in her house unappetizing. Not coincidentally, these people prefer not to come over to my house for events or activities, and when they do come, it’s apparent they aren’t really enjoying themselves.

I could choose to feel that these people are insulting me and my household hygiene, but I don’t choose to take that view. They are who they are, I am who I am, and when we meet on neutral territory or at their homes, we enjoy each other’s company. We get along, in other words.

But I would never present any of them with a home-made food item, even though at Christmas I bake lots of cookies and get more requests for cookies than I can handle and have never had any complaints. These certain specific people would not enjoy a gift of homemade treats from me. They would thank me politely and in due course discard the item.

JMO, but homemade food items are kind of a minefield in the gift department, unless you know for a fact that the recipient would definitely enjoy the item you give them. That’s just the way it is.

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Ebbie December 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I have to chime in and note that there are many people — me among them — who simply won’t eat “treats” prepared in kitchens we haven’t personally vetted for cleanliness, etc. — I’ve known too many people who are normal or even fastidious on the outside and germy, lazy, slovenly housekeepers at home. Ugh. Not to mention contamination from pets, school-age children, etc. — there is no way that we would possibly be interested in consuming food items from the homes of most family members, friends or acquaintances.

I think the OP, if she intends to continue giving handmade gifts, needs to thicken her skin and realize that her tastes and standards may differ from others in her circle, and detach emotionally from the fate of the gifts. Enjoy making them, enjoy the process and don’t presume to judge about the fate once they leave your hands.

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Akili December 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Sometimes when my family gets food for gifts we place them into the freezer and pull them out into the fridge once we’ve decided to eat them. For all the OP knows she was throwing away good food!

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Me December 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

There are also two vary innocent reasons for not eating them.

A lot of people don’t realize that home-made truffles have such a short shelf life, if they are used to packaged chocolates that last for months. So it’s easy to set them aside for eating after Christmas.

The second is that when you combine a short shelf life with the masses of snacks and candies and desserts and food that people have over Christmas, they simply may not have gotten around to them before it was too late.

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NicoleK December 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

I love sweets. But I don’t think they make a good gift. The reason I don’t think so is around holiday time one ends up with waaaaaaaay too many sweets. I understand the “Ugh we have too much sweet stuff”. Myself, I’m a compulsive overeater and I HATE having extra temptations around. So many people are trying to watch their weight/take care of their health. It’s one thing to have one box of truffles, but when its a box of truffles, several batches of cookies, pies, etc….

I think the jeky rub is a better idea.

Having said that, making truffles is fun. I made a big box for a vegan friend once, more for the challenge than anything else.

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Edhla December 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

My father is a very good but reluctant artist. I bought him some art supplies a few Christmases ago in the hopes of encouraging what I honestly think is a remarkable gift in him. 18 months later I discovered they had not been opened.

Oh well.

I didn’t mention anything and so far as I’m aware they’re probably still unopened in a drawer of the spare bedroom. I just chalked that up to experience: Note To Self For Future Christmases- Dad Doesn’t Want Art Supplies.

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