Thank you note and pen next to a cup of coffee
Thank you note and pen next to a cup of coffee

Writing a note of thanks after receiving food from a family member, friend or acquaintance conveys your appreciation for the gesture. Because there are no specific etiquette rules about saying thanks for food, whether you choose to say thanks with a handwritten note or a thoughtfully worded email is up to you. Generally, however, the former approach is better. Whatever your choice, do so within a couple days, focus on your appreciation and give details to emphasize your message.

Thanks and Details

It's conventional to begin a note of thanks with "Dear," followed by the name of the person who gave you the food. Using an appreciative, sincere tone, express your thanks right away with a sentiment such as, "Please know how much I appreciate the food" or "Thanks so much for dropping off the lovely meal last night." Use precise details to explain your appreciation. For example, write that cooking has been difficult since you broke your ankle or that receiving the food in the wake of a death in the family has been helpful.

Future Contact and Closing

Once you've expressed your thanks and explained why you appreciate the food, devote a sentence or two to discussing your next contact with the person. For example, write that you'd like to have the person over for tea in the near future or that you're looking forward to seeing the person when you return to work. Avoid discussing other matters, as they can dilute your content. Wrap up the note with a sentence that restates your appreciation, and close with a term such as "With warm thanks," before signing your name.