Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Help me out here...

I need some advice. The winter holidays are approaching and I want to thank Ian's teachers with something more than just a card with my heartfelt appreciation for everything they do for my challenging boy (they'll get the card, too.). The school district has a policy that teachers can't receive gifts that are more than "tokens", that is to say, gift-cards are out. If I'd been a little more on the ball, maybe I could have knit something for these hard working teachers, but now I'm left with a gift of some sort of food.

Thankfully, I think that I have the kitchen skills to make something pretty tasty. But I'm left with a few ideas and issues to tangle through. Give me your advice:

1. A tin of cookies. Good ones, not crappy ones. I'm thinking of Chocolate peppermint bars, Lavender shortbread and molasses cookies with raspberry jam (my recipe). If I go this route, do I stick with one kind of cookie, or do I go for a mixed tin? I think the former looks nicer, but the latter is more flexible when it comes to individual tastes (for those lavender, peppermint or molasses haters out there). Also one of Ian's teachers has a weight issue. Is it totally insensitive to give her cookies?

2. Homemade maple apricot granola. Here I'm trying to be sensitive to all of the teachers's health and the fact that they may get bombarded with cookies and appreciate something that isn't going to cause a heart attack. But are they going to open it up and think "yuck"?

3. Something savory (ideas welcome)?? I was born with a salt tooth rather than a sweet tooth and would (personally) prefer a savory gift over a sweet one. But I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here.

Sigh. I'm leaning towards the cookies, just because I like to spoil people with something a little luxurious.


Anonymous said...

How about fudge?

Tricia said...

I go through a similar mental 'anguish' every year! As far as official policy, "token" means "under $10" so you could get a little gift card (buy scrip for Borders, for example :^).

As far as savory - you could do spiced nuts. Not savory but 'different': I found a recipe a few years ago for candied cranberries, so for 2 years in a row I made those and packaged them (with something else, I'm forgetting what) along with a recipe card giving suggestions for how to use the cranberries. Along those lines, I think the granola might be appreciated for the reasons you mention - especially if he has teachers who lean toward the healthy end of eating.

But hey, I also agree in the spoil with luxury mindset. (Not much help, huh?)

Anonymous said...

The cookies sound incredible, but I understand the reservation about giving people sweets this time of year, when everyone is inundated with them. Of course, I have no problem eating cookies when they're in front of me, either, so you really can't go wrong with those.

Tuesday I brought in lunch to Iris's pre-school teachers. Like you, I wanted to thank them for being so great with my kid, and I wouldn't have known what kind of a gift to give them. (I'm a terrible gift-giver; ask Lou.) I brought in a crock pot of black bean soup, cornbread, and broccoli/sunflower seed/raisin salad. It just so happened another mom brought cookies that day, so dessert was provided! And I knew they had their own plates and silverware there, so I didn't need to worry about that. They were incredibly appreciative. From my own days of full-time work, I always regarded lunch as a glorious break to look forward to, so I figured anyone would welcome a mid-day treat. Anyway, I have no idea if such a production (it actually wasn't much of a production at all) would work for Ian's teachers, but if so I'm sure you could come up with something great.

Basically, Kate, I would eat anything that came out of your kitchen -- sweet, savory, bitter, whatever. So don't fret too much.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that's me up there, as I'm sure you figured out.

Anonymous said...

The NY Times the other day instructed how to show your lukewarm feelings toward your child's teacher with a gift, with at least one example at $98! I don't know why you'd want to give a gift if you had lukewarm feelings, or how spending $98 could be construed as lukewarm.

Now, we ADORE our first-grade teacher, but $98? ... not going to happen. Our approach the last few years has been a jar of home-made applesauce. Everyone can eat it, and if you're not ready for it, you can put it in the freezer until it's time for a potato pancake greasefest. Eaten alone, it's quite virtuous, but tasty, I think.

But, as others have said, more is more, and I can't imagine anyone turning down your cookies. My vote is for the lavender shorbread, both because they sound delicious and would probably freeze well.

If you decide to go with savory, you could follow mary jean's excellent idea and provide lunch, or even just a salad. I did that for preschool teacher's Appreciation Day lunch - everyone was thrilled that someone else washed the lettuce and cut up vegetables. And I put some soft chevre on top, which someone raised the salad to a higher, more luxe level.