From about the first of December to about the 15th of January my dad gets at least one gift basket per day, from clients, secretaries, other minor functionaries / sycophants, and unimaginative relatives. Since I have been home (19 hours) we have received the following:
Box of Grapefruits He has one client that sends him a box of grapefruits for christmas every year (and also a smoked turkey for thanksgiving.) I do not understand this behavior, especially because my dad is on lipitor and therefore can't eat grapefruit (although the client might not know that, although the client is a Dr. so it would be even weirder if he did know). What makes someone think "well, this dude made me mad $$ this year so I think I will send him 12 sour fruits (which I may or may not know he can't eat?)" Bizarre.
M family christmas tray My dad's ex-accountant retired at the age of 40 to ride around on a horse cutting what I'm sure he imagines is a dashing figure in the frozen tundra of Montana, while his wife works odd jobs (e.g., security at the carrie underwood concert) to support them. In between her night shift at the kwik e mart and her weekend gig as a roadie for Tom Jones (or whatever), she bakes a metric shitload of cookies and distributes them to all of her husband's ex clients slash friends. Her christmas tray is typically a highlight of the goodie basket parade. She uses some kind of ingredient in her baking, I don't know what it is, but I really need to figure it out because she uses it in all the cookies and they are delicious. It's kind of molassesy and brown sugarey. I was hoping that this year my palette would be good enough to finally identify the mystery ingredient, but it looks like I need at least one more year of experimental baking. Perhaps this could be the second in the Laz Gastronomique Junior Mystery series (the first was The Mystery of The Exploding Pyrex): The Mystery of the Christmas Ingredient?
Bakery Sampler Box My crazy uncle must have managed to come down from his LSD flashbacks for long enough to hop on the internets and order up some xmas presents, such as the Harry and David Bakery Sampler Box ($59.95, retail) we got delivered to us today. This is a marked improvement over his past efforts such as the Box of Frozen Pears (why send a box of soft skinned fruit to Montana in the dead of winter?) or the Four Copies of The Earth Is Flat (one for each member of the family!) The Bakery Sampler Box includes a Low-Fat Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake (Testimonial from Moi: "Low Fat Chocolate--Low Fat, Boo!"), a largish square of Baklava, 4 Cookies (3 Peanut Butter, 1 Chocolate Chocolate Chip), a Chocolate Bundt Cake, a Cinnamon Swirl Loaf, and 8 Raspberry Gallettes. The Gallettes are amazing (I think they are actually authentic all butter cookies, very rare for a large scale commercial bakery), but I still think he got ripped off. I could make about 30 times that many baked goods for $59.95!
Wild Bunch Honey One of the many habitual pastimes that my crazy uncle engages in which earn him the epithet "crazy" is producing custom labels in what I think can best be described as "The Anne Geddes Style" for the rock hard organic honey produced on our ranch. This year, we got one jar of the basalt-consistency bee-nectar labeled with a black and white photo of our cousins wearing john wayne era cowboy outfits and the words "Wild Bunch Honey" formed with a sort of rope-textured lasso font. The various reasons that his practice of producing and disseminating this honey irritates my mother include (but are not limited to) the following: 1) it is very creepy 2) the honey is inedible because it is so hard it needs to be heated before eating but it is also too hard to be removed from its container for heating, and its container is not microwave safe 3) he seems to expect kudos every year for working out the clever arrangement with the beekeepers where the beekeepers get to use our land for free and we get like 2 jars of inedible honey in return 4) I have assured her that, if one is able to get into the borderine pedophiliac frame of mind that it takes to produce these honey labels, it only would take about 30 seconds of photoshop time to accomplish them, yet for some reason he and my equally insane grandmother seem to find it one-small-step-for-mankind amazing.
This spunky girl reporter will keep her nose to the ground and diligently report the arrival and contents of future gift baskets, as they arrive.