We seem to be brain-washed from the Betty Crocker days of ‘chocolate chip cookies or ice cream means I love you’. Those were the glory days of creative baking using all the newly created industrial or processed foods. Those days should be a thing of the past.
A revamped version is ‘I love you so I’ll bring you something nice to eat.’ How about yummy ripe fruit in season like juicy cherries, blueberries or raspberries, grapes or melon? Or a tasty quick-grab wholesome meal like a casserole or soup. Some in-season corn on the cob. Or a special nut blend – how many of us regularly buy pecans, hazel nuts, brazil nuts and cashews, even though we love them? A natural jerky, a selection of olives or anti-pasto. Special favorite teas. A lovely basket with a mix of these.
Break out of the just apples, bananas and oranges mold and you will find a lot of fun delectable treats. Unsweetened dried mangos, fresh ripe mangos, kiwis, melons. Pick fruit in season and ripe. If they are not ripe, allow them a couple days to ripen and bring out flavor. Think of the difference between a juicy ripe peach and a hard unripe one.
For children, treats can be especially fun. Presentation can turn ordinary into delightful. My kids as preschoolers or grade-schoolers got very excited over a plate of cutely cut and specially arranged veggies and other treats – olives, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, radish, celery, nuts, fruit wedges, jicama, dried fruit, home popped popcorn or crackers. Just the fact of a choice of so many little delectables made them excited.
Cut items to bring out fun – slice apple and kiwis sideways to show the star in the center. Put grapes or olives on a stick. Oranges cut in wedges. Make melon balls of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew for a delightful variety in color and taste. Serve with toothpicks for fun eating. Adults love them too.
The choices are endless. Change begins first in our heads. Associate “treats” with “yummy”, not just “sugary sweets”. Or give your loved ones you – go for a hike or a walk, offer a foot rub, help them in their garden, discuss books.
Give them the treat that makes them feel good afterwards. Be creative and have fun spreading goodwill!