Monday, July 12, 2010

FROG Jam, TOE Jam and Southern Hospitality

Several components of hospitality are alive and well in the South despite having fallen by the wayside in other parts of the country. The ubiquitous hostess gift is one of them.

There are no established rules regarding hostess gifts; just some generalizations. The longer the stay the more expensive the gift. When invited to a dinner party a small hostess gift is in order assuming you did not prepare something for the meal. But it cannot be TOO extravagant or expensive.

Hostess gifts, much like stocking stuffers often say a lot about the giver. Many of them are clearly "re-gifts," some are totally useless, some are tacky, some are tasteful, but all of them are received graciously by the hostess. The hostess is gracious even when she may be asking herself, "What WERE these people thinking?"

Cocktail napkins, votives or other candles, tea towels, gourmet coffees, baked goods, jams and jellies, wine stoppers, or wine (if you are SURE they are not Southern Baptist or alcoholics) are frequently given as hostess gifts. Except for the flavored coffee, I actually enjoy hostess gifts.

I try to select hostess gifts based on the individuals we are visiting and I pick up little gifts all year long to have on hand. Sometimes we give a gift for purely selfish reasons. One of our neighbors serves cheap wine. Not just cheap wine...but OLD cheap wine that may have been opened months ago. The first time we visited there, the neighbor asked my husband to taste the wine to see if it was still good since she couldn't remember how long it had been opened. And it was not re-sealed with a vacuum stopper...she just popped the original cork back into the bottle. Since then we have always taken a bottle of wine which (to my husband's delight) they open and serve.

Last week, our guests brought us jam and preserves from Hillside Orchard Farms in GA. I've ordered their products before and they are delicious. Our friends had no idea we knew about the orchard, but were blown away by the name of two of the jams.

T.O.E. Jam is made from tangerines, oranges, and elderberries. It has a unique taste and is wonderful on your morning toast.

FROG Jam is made from figs, raspberries, oranges and a bit of fresh ginger. Also wonderful in a variety of ways.

By far, my favorite is the peach preserves. They add pecans and it's so wonderful...almost like eating peach pie for breakfast.
This is one hostess gift I will put to good use. I'll not share with anyone. OK, I'll share with my husband, but he is not as crazy about jams, preserves, and honey as I am. So he can have his bagels with cream cheese and I'll scoop out the jam for my toast.


George said...

Both of those jams sound absolutely delicious. The label looks very familiar to me. I think we have had some of their products before and they were excellent.

Anonymous said...

beI must order the TOE jam for my children, to remind them of the days they grossed us out with that phrase. TOO CUTE! Thanks for the heads up.

kks said...

love the names of the jams, and a very thoughtful and useful gift!!

Bird Girl said...

That was fun! Frog Jam and Toe jam (whodda thunk ;-) Very good hostess gift, indeed.
I can't believe anyone would give you a bottle of wine that had been opened!!! That is actually scary! I bet you threw it right in the can!

Barb said...

All those jams sound great to me, Carolyn - like you, I think I'd love the peach best. The names are really creative. I, too, keep a drawer of small hostess gifts - I buy things when I see them and keep them on hand. I'm not from the South, but a little token of appreciation is nice. (Or, maybe it's my age...)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thank You, Carolyn... I just ordered some for us... We love 'fancy' preserves and jams --and it's hard to find them... We love the Strawberry Rhubarb one and the Strawberrry Raspberry Preserves... Yum!!!!

Thanks so much... I know what you mean about tacky gifts... We've gotten our share all through the years.


Cicero Sings said...

Some do and some don't do hostess gifts in our area. Sometimes it depends on who and the occasion.

Love the names of the jam ... besides looking delish.

Rudee said...

They'd probably all be fabulous with cheese and crackers. I can just taste the peach and pecan on a thin cracker with an excellent chevre or triple cream. Yum.

I love the ewenique names ;-).

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a sweet gift. I know you will enjoy the sweet treats.
I always bring a gift when visiting anyone...I guess I really am southern!
I laughed at your friends with the old wine..yucky!

Jayne said...

Well, YUM! Those all sound really delicious!

Vicki Lane said...

These jams sound delicious -- I was wondering what in the world your title meant!

troutbirder said...

Yummy looking if not sounding.:)

animal lover, quilt lover said...

Hi mountain woman,
I came to meet you. I am about you age, I could tell by your choice of movies. I don't care for rap music either. I am a big Roy Orbison fan. Bless his heart, he has been dead since 89.
Come and meet me . Lets be friends.
Friend, Fern

YD, sometimes with ♥Samantha and ♥June said...

Those jams just sound so delicious! Good thing your hubby doesn't like jams, more for you! :)

TaraDharma said...

The jams look marvelous-- the fig one might be really really good with brie on crackers! Now I'm going to have to order me some....

I received a lovely jar of home-canned Loganberry preserves last week from a dinner guest. Perfect.

I like to cut flowers from my yard and present those to a host/ess -- seems to be appreciated.

Loulou La Poule said...

A nice review of etiquette! You're right; these days, so many of the civilities and niceties of human interaction are disappearing.

We Southern gals have an honorable heritage to uphold!

animal lover, quilt lover said...

Hi Mountain Woman,
Was so happy to see that you had come to visit. My husband was born in Asheville. But I am not blogging in NC. I am in Florida.
I have lived in Fla most all my life. Thats been a long life too!!!
I hope blogging in NC is not necessary for our friendship..
XO, Fern

Twisted Fencepost said...

What a great gift!
I love when I recieve things a little out of the ordinary.
T.O.E. and FROG....tee hee

Karin said...

I must have some southern in me - always bring a hostess gift and have a gift drawer just for that purpose. Those jams look delish and I just love those names! A dear sweet friend is totally into making jams every fall - I'll have to suggest some unique names to her!