Finding Maggie Battista's online
is the internet version of stumbling into the most charming shop on a lovely side lane in Paris. It's full of beautiful gifts, inspiring recipes, and many other enticing things, all rooted in the idea that sharing food is sharing life. On October 13th, her first book,
Food Gift Love
, featuring more than 100 recipes to make, wrap, and share, comes out. She gave Inside Chic a great idea for easy, pretty, fall gifts for any occasion that arises.
My first cookbook,
, came to life thanks to many but, in particular, due to the example set by a very specific inspiration, my mother. Food Gift Love
My mother is the person who sets the tone for everything in my family. If my mother’s ready to host a party, then a party emerges as if out of thin air in minutes. If she has something to do, we all tag along and do it with her. She remembers every birthday, never forgets to give even the tiniest gift, and writes thank you notes profusely. My mother taught me to prioritize all of these little moments and to share the best of them with everyone around me.
Traditionally, food gifts are thought of as something that’s preserved in a jar, which may take several hours to come together. By following my mother’s example, I learned that a great gift can be as simple as giving someone fresh eggs from the local farm or a fresh cutting of herbs from the backyard, tied with a bow in a piece of twine, with a handwritten note. In fact, now is the time to cut down fall’s herb harvest so they’re one of my signature fall food gifts, especially mint and sage.
Sometimes I give fresh herb cuttings away in bouquets; and other times, I hang them in my kitchen until crisp, pick them off the stem, and deliver them in jars. I also mix dried herbs into salt to make an infused sea salt, which is really simple and makes just about every dish better. It’s the gesture of giving, even something small and seemingly everyday in nature, that means the most.
Take the thank you note. My mother hates that I sometimes write email thank you’s. In fact, she still has a box filled with everything to write daily thank you notes, and frequently encourages me to do so. Instead of zipping off a quick email, I walk to my desk, pull out a beautiful piece of paper and a specific pen, and purposefully write:
Thank you so much. xox, Maggie. Those five minutes away from everything to create a note for someone are also a gift to me. It encourages me to keep paper and pen around. (You’re also sharing something really personal — your handwriting — which people are very sensitive about. I still love handwriting.) And, really, maybe that was my mother’s intention all along.
Herby Sea Salt
makes 1 Cup
Time to prepare: 10 Minutes
1 tablespoon of your favorite dried herb, freshly dried (if possible)
1 cup coarse sea salt
Special equipment: mortar and pestle
With a sharp kitchen knife, chop the dried herb into tiny bits no more than 1/8th-inch long, though there's no need to be too precise.
In a mortar, add the chopped dried herbs and the sea salt. Using the pestle, grind the herbs into the sea salt until the salt takes on the perfume from your favorite herb.
Store in airtight container for up to 6 months.
Follow Maggie’s homemade food gift adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and pre-order Food Gift Love now.