love thy neighbor… back

In ALL, FOOD LOVE by Stephanie Klein24 Comments

I need to find a way to out-nice my neighbor–all my neighbors, actually. For one, I’m still receiving holiday cookies. Ever since we raved about her chocolate chip cookies, they seem to arrive monthly, to celebrate the postal service, nurses, or national scrapbooking day. I’m by no means complaining, mind you, but I have no time to return the love. Phil suggests we give her a $100 bill and say, “Take that!” How is one to love thy neighbor back with no free time or proclivity to bake? A card would be ever so lame. A bottle of wine with a note suggesting we open it together soon? But there’d be no follow through. Oooh, I know the perfect gift. I’ll buy a stack of amazing cookbooks and tie them with a silk a ribbon, tucking in a card that reads: We think you’re running out of ideas.

Is it wrong that I want all my coffee table books to be cookbooks?

Comments

  1. I don't think your thank-you necessarily needs to be handmade or homemade. What's most important is that it is thoughtful. What about a beautiful pot of annuals? I have no time to cook for my new neighbors so I just left a big planter filled with an assortment of flowering plants on their doorstep with a card welcoming them to the neighborhood.

  2. you could also give her a penzys (the spice people) gift box or make up your own basket of fabulous ingredients (fancy chocolate, nuts, vanilla beans, candied flowers, irish butter, extracts, etc.)

    i'm sure she likes to bake (otherwise she'd be neighborly in a different way) and as you know with cooking, it's such fun to cook with truly fine ingredients

  3. you could also give her a penzys (the spice people) gift box or make up your own basket of fabulous ingredients (fancy chocolate, nuts, vanilla beans, candied flowers, irish butter, extracts, etc.)

    i'm sure she likes to bake (otherwise she'd be neighborly in a different way) and as you know with cooking, it's such fun to cook with truly fine ingredients

  4. I know you love Anthropologie. What about one of their retro-cool aprons? I had to buy a couple and I don't even cook much.

  5. Definitely the flowers – or a wine of the month that would be delivered and you wouldn't have to partake (sent quarterly so it wouldn't be too expensive?) – or your lovely chocolate people, Miles, is it?

    I imagine, however, that she understands that you are busy, busy – and if she didn't like giving you treats, I bet she'd stop. It is probably a joy to her to give to people who appreciate it – not a way to get presents given back to her.

  6. While I love the cookbooks in silk ribbon idea, but the note should be different, because it comes off a tad snarky and presumptive, even if it is not meant to be. Clearly, this neighbor knows what she is doing when it comes to cooking, or at the very least baking. Anyone can buy a cookbook, but not everyone can cook.

  7. My sister lives in Austin as well and I KNOW she's NOT your neighbor because she too is from NY and we don't do that version of nice. Our version of nice is letting you put your subway token in first or not stealing your cab.

    I would feel guilty about it too, Jewish guilt thing maybe. A subscription to Cook's would be good (love that mag), or I also like the coffee table cookbook idea. There are such pretty ones. You could also do fruit of the month (is it Harry's?), the fruit is delish. BTW, I read the MOOSE review in Newsweek Mag – way to go! I'm reading Straight Up and Dirty right now and loving it.

  8. What nice neighbors! You might reciprocate by purchasing a monthly subscription to a cooking magazine, like Gourmet or Real Food, or even Taste of Home, something like that. It's a "multiple" gift (like the multiple gifts of cookies they've given you) that doesn't require a lot of time.

    I also like the idea of annuals.

  9. You need to find a gift that will occupy her time so cannot make any more cookies. I would suggest an Alpaca. :-)

  10. "My sister lives in Austin as well and I KNOW she's NOT your neighbor because she too is from NY and we don't do that version of nice. Our version of nice is letting you put your subway token in first or not stealing your cab."
    HAHAHAHAHA

  11. I really love MerlotMom's idea of a magazine subscription. Getting a little gift in the mail every month or so? With things to cook?? Oooooh! Fabulous.

    Cook's Illustrated is a good one, but a little too austere for me. I like Cucina Italiana, Saveur and oh! Donna Hay – omg, I LOVE that one!

  12. Is it wrong that my most prized coffee table book is about Chevy Camaros?

  13. I'm for the magazine subscription as well.. definitely the gift that keeps on giving!

    And what a lovely neighbour – good neighbours are definitely a blessing. My neighbours – who I have grown up with I can basically say I consider closer than family. It is an amazing connection.

  14. I like the magazine idea but..maybe then indeed they'd feel obligated to bring over something new each month?

    However, I think I agree with 3 teens' mum..she probably does it knowing that you are too busy to bake yourself so she's trying to just be herself..the nice neighbour that she is.

  15. I just started reading moose over the weekend, got a copy of the book of the internet and it is amazing! you really do capture what it feels like to be an overweight child/teen. it makes you feel so alone in the world. i'm not too far into the book yet because i havent had much time but i cant wait to get farther into it! good job on the book!

  16. I'll also vouch for Penzey's. They have the most amazing and freshest spices out there. I tried them once and I'm hooked for life.

    I sent a Baker's Pack to a friend that likes to bake and she LOVED it! I think a spice pack and a cookbook is wonderful…plus it will give her more ideas!

  17. I think Rafael's on to something here. Who hasn't heard the immortal lines "Make $$ with alpaca farming!" at some point in their lives? Plus, unlike llamas, alpacas aren't spitters.

  18. It is lovely what she is doing but I know for me, I don't have time to reciprocate either and being Jewish the guilt of not giving back would be eating away at me. My question is, do you want her to continue doing these monthly deliveries b/c if you do give her something, to me, that would be a signal that says, I love what you do, keep it up. If you prefer she not do it, then you need to figure out how to nicely let her know.

    That being said, I do know some people who love to bake but don't want all that good stuff sitting around their house for them to graze so they prefer to share the wealth, so to speak and I really don't think expect anything in return. My daughter and I bake every now and then and we always wrap up whatever we made into packages and deliver it to the neighbors. Not often, maybe once every 4 months or so but I can't keep all that good stuff around b/c I will eat it, every last bite of it. In fact, on Mother's Day, we baked cookies and then wrapped a whole bunch and delivered them to the other moms on the block. It was great. Everyone loved it.

  19. Hilarious. I love this.

    She may be making cookies to make herself feel better, moreso than to make you guys happy. I used to churn out cookies, and all sorts of other baked goods, just to pass the time. I'd give them away to everyone I knew. Not on a monthly/whateverholidayison basis, though.

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