For You, With Love
Words by Georgia Frances King Photograph by Jim Golden Stylist Beverly James Neel
Use our short guide to prepping some holiday goodie parcels to be delivered via postman, not Santa.
Some of my dearest memories of growing up in Australia involve sitting at my grandmother’s flour-covered kitchen table, sipping sweet English Breakfast tea and making Anzac biscuits. Named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, these morsels of rolled oats, desiccated coconut and Golden Syrup—an English honey alternative similar to treacle—were the baking mainstays that mothers and wives sent their sons and husbands during WWI. The sugar-dense recipe mixed with a lack of perishables (such as eggs, which were rationed at the time) meant they could be sent to far-flung places such as Egypt and Turkey still tasting fresh out of an oven 8,000 miles away. Or if you were 12-year-old me, they were just as tasty straight from the baking tray, still warm and chewy.
Now, like back then, we normally send these bundles of edible love to troops overseas or homesick college students, sometimes packed in with a poorly knitted sweater or two. But who’s to say that someone closer to home isn’t just as deserving?
Tips and tricks
– The higher the sugar density, the longer your food will last, so be liberal with sweeteners.
– If you’re baking high-moisture goodies, they’ll spoil a lot more quickly. Try placing a piece of bread in the package to help regulate the moisture levels.
– Vacuum seal/ziplock everything to keep it as fresh as possible and separate different-smelling items (unless you want paprika-scented fudge).
– Stuff your box snugly. Shake it like you would on Christmas morning—if it rattles, repack it.
– You can legally send a lot more than you think via regular mail: As long as your goods aren’t for commercial sale and contain no banned products, you should be peachy.
– However, if you’re sending a package overseas or receiving one, your goodies will be subject to customs, so check ahead and always declare anything you’re unsure about. Some things to avoid sending include fresh fruits and veggies (especially any citrus products, fresh or candied), seeds, plants, nuts and most meat.
Homemade goods While receiving letters in the mail is nice enough, receiving edible yumminess clearly wins out. Dense, crisp or dry goods turn up better on the other end than brownies and angel cake because of their sturdiness and lack of moisture. And while a rosette-frosted cupcake may seem like a lovely idea, it may show up looking like a botched surgery attempt.
Spices / Teas For the yuletide season, try mixing up different spice concoctions to be added to your recipient’s banquet: a marjoram, rosemary and oregano rub for their turkey, a cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg blend for desserts or eggnog, or if you’re feeling fancy, try making your own za’atar or pumpkin spice.
Other Spend a week taking snaps around town with a disposable camera and toss it in for your friend to develop, bag a tiny packet of local seeds for them to plant or dry some leaves and flowers from your backyard. Just don’t send any plant or seed material overseas—customs dogs love that stuff almost as much as kittens love catnip.