From Our Kitchen to Yours

Photography by WILL JACKS

 Wracking your brain to find the perfect gift for the person on your list who has everything? Why not give a homemade gift of food this year? More personal and heartfelt by the giver, and always appreciated by the recipient, homemade food gifts are sure to be truly enjoyed, and much less likely to be stuck on a closet shelf, forgotten, long after Christmas. Try one of these simple and thoughtful ideas to delight your friends and family this holiday.

Milk Punch
Save and re-use your empty liquor bottles…this is a special treat for the adults.
Scent of Christmas
An unexpected and beautiful gift that can be used over and over during the holidays.
Pumpkin Bread
Always a favorite… we’ve come up with three delicious ways to enjoy this holiday favorite.
Fried Walnuts
Delicious… and these truly stay crunchy for at least a week.
Homemade Granola
Anything that can be kept on hand for guests is always helpful, especially for breakfast.
Kum-Bak Dressing
A wonderful condiment to have in the fridge throughout the season.


8 cups water

4 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
cooking oil

     Bring water to a boil, drop in walnuts, and boil for one minute. Drain the nuts in a colander. Rinse with very hot running water, or a kettle of boiling water. Drain the nuts well again, immediately place them in a bowl, and coat with sugar. Have the oil hot, and place the walnuts in the oil about one cup at a time, depending on the size of the pan. Fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and place on wax paper in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt. Cool and store. These can be frozen in an air-tight container. Left at room temperature, they remain tasty for a week. – Recipe from Being Dead Is No Excuse, by Gayden Metcalfe


1 gallon milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 fifth Bourbon or Brandy

     Pour milk into another container. In empty gallon milk jug, add sugar, vanilla and liquor of choice. Shake until sugar has dissolved. Add enough milk back into the jug to fill. Chill and serve over ice. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.


     This is a Coopwood family favorite—via my late grandmother Travis Callahan of Starkville. We love it on our Christmas Eve shrimp and on Po-boys made with leftover Christmas ham during the rest of the holidays.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves pressed garlic
1/4 medium onion grated or to taste
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar

     Mix well, chill and serve.


1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped (walnuts may be substituted for almonds)
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

     Preheat oven to 325. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
     Mix maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil. Then gently stir in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
     Pour oat mixture onto baking sheet and spread into a thin layer, about 3/8 inch thick. With a spatula, compress mixture until very compact. Bake 40-45 minutes until lightly browned. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack for an hour. Crumble granola or break cooled granola into pieces of desired size, then stir in dried fruit.
     Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. – Recipe by Mrs. Barthell Joseph of Grenville


2 tablespoons whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
1/2 orange, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced

     Put all ingredients in a quart sized jar. Add enough water to fill. Close securely, add gift tag.
     When ready to use, simmer contents in a small pan, adding extra water as it cooks out.
     May be used several times, adding water when necessary before each use.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *