Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Dec 1, 2012 08:06 AM

Is it OK to give purchased rather than home made food as a gift?

I have elderly neighbors with whom I exchange small Christmas gifts. They were guests at my house for Thanksgiving when I learned that they love fruitcake and look for discounted fruitcake after Christmas. They are on a limited budget and I am also at this time. I don't normally buy baked goods, I just make them myself and often make extra to give them. I thought fruitcake would be a nice gift for them this year, and since I don't like it, have never made it. It's just gross to me. I checked out some recipes and it seems expensive to make. Then I was reviewing my sale flyer for BJ's Wholesale Club and they have one for $14.99. I also have never made something that I wouldn't eat myself so I don't think I would know a good recipe if I saw it. I have given many food gifts but they were all homemade. Is it tacky to buy them a fruitcake or should I try to make one or try to think of another gift?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Of course it is acceptable! In fact, it is sweet that you want to give them something they like! Fruitcake is very expensive since fruit is expensive. In fact, I doubt that you could make a fruitcake for $15.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      That's what I thought cause the recipes were calling for cointreau, which is expensive, and various types of raisins where I would never use the remainder of the package.

    2. A home made fruitcake is very easy to make and can likely brought in within that price range. I also have a steamed pudding recipe that anyone who likes fruitcake would probably enjoy. If they like the kind you'd be purchasing, I don't think it's tacky. Holler if you want either the fruitcake recipe I use or the steamed pudding. BTW, if you have a bottle of Sherry or Port, a tbsp. or so every month or to over the course of a year can really turn an ok fruitcake into something divine, IMHO.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine

        My Mom made fruitcake and treated it with liquor, I don't know what kind, over a long period of time. But, I only have 3 weeks. I'd love your recipe so I can start it in February for next year.

      2. some people appreciate store bought goodies MORE: case in point, my mother treated HERSELF every year to a special fruitcake made by some order of monks - it's what they make to support their monastery. It was always such fun for her to eat that first slice.. she really waited for it every year. She would never have considered making a fruitcake herself! Nor did she particularly like fruitcake as far as i could tell - she really just wanted this one recipe. I think people like the packaging and the name brand they recognize knowing it's quality. it's a different thought than homemade, but i don't think it's a wrong thought. just giving the gift is the point. Maybe just putting it in a special box would be nice - something you have taken the time to decorate yourself.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rmarisco

          Those monks make a seriously tasty fruitcake -- it's not the "junky fruited brick" that other storebought fruitcakes tend to be -- it's genuinely enjoyable.

        2. Pudding: grate I shaggy pieces a large potato and a large carrot. Soak a package of chopped dates and a cup of candied mixed fruit in a little hot water and whisky. I like Irish. Drain. Sift a cup of flour and a teaspoon of soda. Toss the fruit and a half cup of nuts (Walnuts are my fave) in about half of the flour and soda. Cream a quarter cup of shortening and a cup of brown sugar.. Add a half teaspoon of grated cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat in two eggs. Add the remaining flour and soda, the fruit and nuts, and the grated potato and carrot. Mix it. Place in three dishes about the size of souffle dishes. Cover each with oil. Stack them on a rack in a large pot over water and steam for about three hours. Best served with hard sauce.


          2 pint tubs of candied mixed fruit, 2 cups raisins. 2 cups walnut pieces. 1 cup orange juice. 1/2 cup molasses. 1/4 cup Sherry or other fortified wine or liquor of your choice. 3/4 cup butter or margarine. 3 eggs. 3 cups flour. 1 tbsp. baking powder. 1 tsp. salt. 1 tsp. allspice. 1 tsp. cinnamon. 1 tsp. grated nutmeg. 1/2 tsp. mace.

          Assemblage follows same pattern as the pudding. Put in two greased loaf pans. Bake at 300 for an hour and a half to two hours. Spend a year ladling a little Sherry over it each month. Mother used tins and wrapped the cakes in cheesecloth. I use big freezer bags instead of tins.

          BTW, hard sauce is a stick of unsalted butter creamed with a cup of powder sugar and a dash of brandy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tim irvine

            Thats what my mom did and she started the year before and made as gifts. I don't remember how she stored them. For a year. Do you just leave out somewhere, freeze, etc.?

            1. re: Floridagirl

              I wrap it in whatever is handy...everything from plastic wrap to wax paper to cheesecloth and store the wrapped item in a tin. A year ago I ran out of tins (gifting) and am now using one gallon freezer far, so good.

          2. It's always ok to give - to give anything. It seems rather sad that this is even a topic. Give what you can, what you think the recipeints might like, what you can afford.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Terrie H.

              I don't agree with you. In my case, any time people come to my house they know that all of the food will be home made. Except cheese but, when I was young I had a goat farm and the cheese was home made too. So, I pride myself on home made food and goodies and people expect it and I hope look forward to it. I think it's important, when giving, to put thought into it which is why I have a prob with making fruit cake cause I don't like it.

              1. re: Floridagirl

                Then give them something homemade. Why would you even ask on a large online forum whether "it's ok" and then disagree with someone who says it might be?? Fix them something, then. jeez