in lieu of flowers: gifts worth sending

Mother’s Day is within view. Friends are growing wiser. And I’m trying to be more creative in the gift giving department. In lieu of flowers, I’m in search of new thoughtful gifts for those I love. Make this an idea-dump, please. What gift have you received that’s wow’d you? You know, aside from the ring from the one. Something the equivalent in price to sending flowers. I could use the ideas.

There’s always the homemade gift, which takes planning, and time. But when neither are possible, what’s a friend to send? So far, here’s what I’ve got (shockingly, it’s all food-related):


The Lady M. Mille Crepes cake from New York. Homemade crepes layered with ethereally light cream and custard. It’s downright bawdy. Ship it across the country, or pay a delivery fee to get it to your New York gal pals. Sign the note with love, and instructions on how to properly drink a spot of tea while devouring at least one slice of this treasure. The rest may be eaten at will, standing, straight from the fridge.

Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie

Sour Cream Apple Walnut Ridiculousness
If you want to go the more fa la la la la route, my personal favorite, no fail, holy raves if I even let you taste it, is the Sour Cream Apple Walnut pie from The Little Pie Company. Mercy. Just look at it. The apples are crisp, yet thin, a bit of tart, a lick of sweet, crunch, butter, walnut farm holy good God goodness.

Sweet Lady Jane Berry Cake

Pretty Please With Berries On Top
By way of LA, I say Sweet Lady Jane’s Triple Berry Cake. Hell to the yes. It just makes strawberry shortcake look bad, plain simple.

Homemade Cookies, Without Your Homemade Mess
In Austin and Dallas, you can never ever go wrong sending along Tiff’s Treats, cookies baked warm, made from scratch as soon as you place your order.

Go on, I’ve done it before. Send a meat sundae. Moist brisket, creamed corn, green chile mac n’ cheese. This Rudy’s meat is a good man gift. Beats the silk out of a tie.

Years ago, I sent a Nonnie Waller’s cake, with flowers, complete with decorative fabric box to my mama. I’ve never tasted the cake, so cannot swear by it, but my mother still talks about it. And it sure looks purdy.


vinoclub 01

I love love love this idea and can’t believe these types of gifts don’t exist across the board. How is there not a site with similar types of pairings? Buy a cheese cookbook that comes with a fondue pot and artisanal cheese club membership. Pasanella & Sons offers a cookbook of the month club, where you receive a new cookbook, with two bottles of wine each month. Score. That’s awesome. Just think of all you have to look forward to each month! I absolutely love this.



  1. Love your taste for tasteful things. I emailed you once asking this very thing, and you suggested the crepes cake. It went over so so well!

  2. It’s another foodie gift, but Mary Louise Butters Brownies are delish.

    She has decadent brownies with crazy good flavors. You can buy a bunch at local stores around Austin, and Farm to Market Grocery on S. Congress even sold gift bags for them last time I was there. If you go to the website you can buy a gift basket with different brownies or make your own. They’re good enough that I’ve had some shipped to me in Savannah!

  3. My go-to favorite non-Flower gift I send for new babies, ballet recitals, get-well wishes, thanks you’s and general congratulations is Cookies by Designs (also known as cookie bouquet in parts of the country). I first discovered cookies by design while visiting University of Texas in Austin and have been “hooked” ever since. Not only do the cookies look great but they taste even better!

  4. Given that you’ve got a nice eye with the camera (and assuming you’ve got a shot or two worth using), send all those momma friends gallery-wrapped canvases of their little ones.

  5. This year for my momma. I’m doing a video collage. Kinda like what you do with photos of the beans every Christmas but I’m using old home videos from when the whole family was younger. As a college student its an easier way to save money but boy does it ever take a lot of time

  6. In NYC, Vosges truffles are always decadent and amazing. They aren’t your regular truffles (they have flavors like curry, wasabi and lavender with the most amazing chocolate) and if delivered in NYC, they come packed in dry ice to preserve the truffles in the heat or cold. I got them as a gift a few times when I lived in NY and they are a really impressive gift!

  7. While not a big fan of the gift certificate, who always puts themself at the bottom of the budget? MOMS so to music lovers – Itunes gift certificate, book lovers – kindle or GC. Really thoughtful and luxurious spa basket, their favorite brands and new things i think they would like.

    My mom’s favorite gift from me (she’s a fair redhead)- a basket of Clarins self tanning for both body and face. My sister’s favorite gift: a puppet – 3 feet tall with movable parts, decoupaged with pix of the kids and family. It took a long time to make the present, collecting the pix, getting help sawing and assembling the pieces, but it will last a lifetime or maybe 2.

  8. last year i bought my mom a kit to crow three little pots of her own herbs to put on the window sill in the kitchen, which is in the flower family, but a bit different, lasts longer, and is good for those who cook (or just eat…).

  9. Love your mother’s day posts about gifts. Sending to my husband now… I’m a new mom married to a man who doesn’t know about “push” presents, so he’d better do Mother’s Day right. Love your site!

  10. You are truly a life saver! My mother is the hardest person in the world to shop for and the wine & cookbook club has saved Mothers Day from another drab gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  11. One year instead of flowers I called a local plant nursery my mom likes, and they delivered a live flowering shrub to plant in her yard. She still talks about that gift, and the shrub is still flourishing in her front yard.

    This is a good gift for avid gardeners, and as I recall was cheaper than a floral delivery.

  12. Homemade limoncello takes a bit of planning and a lot of time, but you can toss all the ingredients together and forget about it for two months! Then a pretty bottle and a personalized label is all you need!

  13. Okay, but if you had to send something non-food related, and not flowers or herbs, what would you send, on the quick?

  14. Just want to second the vote for the cookbook wine pairing idea! That’s so great. I’m doing it too. One for me, one for mum.

  15. I want that pie company pie right this minute. This is plain evil. And I love it. My ass doesn’t, but I do.

  16. Shame Payard Patisserie closed. That was my “power move” as you’d say. These look like awesome new alternatives. Thank you! I’ve always trusted your taste, too.

  17. Thanks for posting these ideas – so helpful! I’m always looking for fun / easy to send gifts since my family is so spread out!

  18. check out for some very fun and innovative ideas. my new favorite site (next to your blog).

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