high holiday hostess gift
I'm attending my first orthodox service and luncheon tomorrow (I was raised in the tradition of the lapsed reform Jew), and want to make sure I don't make any faux pas in my gift to the hostess. I'm thinking I need to steer away from bringing something I made, like baked goods, as my kitchen is not kosher. I'm told a good honey would make a nice Rosh Hashana gift, but don't know if all honey is kosher. Or should I stay away from food and just go with flowers?
I always enjoy recieving a cookbook as a hostess gift. Like the other posters, I've recieved flowers and have had to leave them in a vase without water. Honey, kosher dried fruit, or wine is always nice, but it sometimes puts the hostess in an awkward position because she may feel the obligation to serve it. It's hectic and not always so easy to find a platter or the wine may not go with the food. In this case though, honey works.
If you know your hostess well, try to get a book that you know reflects her style of cooking or one written by a chef she likes. If you're not sure, a dessert cookbook with beautiful pictures is always a winner.
I buy cookbooks a bunch at a time off of amazon, and keep them stored to bring with me when i go to new people's dinners, bc kosher cookbooks are way cheaper off of amazon or bn.com, than they are int he store, the difference can often by close to 50%
a note, almost everyone has the fishbein cookbooks, so i don't give those, the jeff nathan one's or the levana kirshenbaum one's are great and pretty popular, and most people don't have them bc they're so pricey at bookstores
The problem with flowers is that if you are arriving once the holiday starts, Orthodox Jews would not be able to put the flowers in water. If presented with flowers once the holiday started, from someone who didn't know the rule, I myself would put it in a vase and hope the guest doesn't ask why I wasn't putting water in it, or use it as a teaching opportunity (depends on how sensitive the guest is), but I have seen hosts who just leave the flowers--in the wrap--on the counter or somewhere, essentially ignoring the gift. I don't think that's the best way to handle it, but I maybe that's just me.
Shana Tovah Marzapane
Hopefully the service and lunch you went to won't be your last. I'd suggest getting a few bottles of kosher wine to keep on stock.
A safe safe safe bet is Moscato D'Asti. Golan 2007 cab sav., IMHO is also tasty.
I have to agree with Queenscook post about the flowers, I've had to leave many a beautiful bouquet on the counter.