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What Shall I Bring?

June 26, 2013
by

So your neighbor has come down with the flu and you want to take something over.

~What should you make?

Your friend’s mother is in the hospital and you want to ease her burden a bit.

~What is good to take over?

Your best friend just broke up with her boyfriend.  She needs a little cheering up.

~What can you whip up?

Your co-worker just got a great promotion!

~How can you celebrate?

Remember, we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  But there are so many scenarios!  And not a one-size fits all meal to take over!  So, here are some of our best ideas and go-to foods when an opportunity to share food presents itself!

For the family at the hospital:

Let’s face it.  Hospital food is terrible.  It’s like school cafeteria food, only worse.  Anyone staying at the hospital, be they patient or family member keeping a vigil, would appreciate a little home cooking!

  • Try to think of something that might not need to be reheated.  Tabouli, Fattoush, or chicken salad are great.  Take along some pita or lavash and you have a delightful meal they can enjoy when they are ready, without trying to figure out how to warm it up.

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  • Or think of things that are self-contained that might not need cutlery and/or plates.  Small calzones, stuffed bread, a cheese platter (cheese, fruit, and cracker or baguette,) a good ol’ fashioned deli sandwich with some homemade potato salad or cole slaw.   All wonderful meals that cover the bases, but can be eaten without a big set up.

For the broken-hearted:

Comfort food people!  No weird stuff that feeds the body but not the soul.  This might take knowing them fairly well.  Someone’s comfort food might be a roast beef sandwich and someone else’s might be a fruit smoothie.  So, it can be tough.  But there are a few universally acknowledged comfort foods.

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  • Cheese.  Be it homemade mac-n-cheese, a pizza with extra cheese, or quiche, nothing says, “There, there…” like some mozzarella smothering a ridiculous carb.  Seriously.
  • Sweets.  Particularly chocolate.  I don’t know anyone who would turn down homemade chocolate chip cookies, pudding or cupcakes.
  • Hot beverage.  I, Daja, was particularly distraught one day.  Kristina came over and pulled two things out of her bag: a box of Earl Grey and a tin of Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  She didn’t try to solve my dilemma (at least not right away).  She simply said, “Tea or chocolate?”  Hot drinks somehow say “sympathy.”

What Shall I Bring?

For the one celebrating:

Again, not necessarily time for your healthiest-purest food.  Unless your friend is celebrating something like weight loss or new job at the gym.  In which case you probably should not show up with an ice cream sundae.  Otherwise, go with something to drink and great snack.

  • Bottle of bubbly (champagne or non-alcoholic) and cheese.
  • A special dessert.

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  • Favorite coffee drink and pastry.
  • Box of their favorite tea and basket of muffins or scones.

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For those who are under-the-weather or recovering from illness:

Here’s a little mix.  You want to speak comfort, but also health.  In the language of food, that means soup, I think.  Avoid bringing junk food as well as being too pushy with your food ideals.  For one (rather shameful) example: years ago my Dad had a small heart attack.  He didn’t stay overnight in the hospital.  They sent him home with medication and strict instructions to rest.  Some well-meaning, though misguided ladies from our church came over bringing him Pepsi, Twinkies, cakes, Hawaiian BBQ, etc.  Oh dear.  Don’t do that.  Instead, do this:

  • Homemade chicken or bean soup and a crusty homemade herb bread.

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  • Delicious hearty-casserole full of spicy stuff: like enchiladas or stuffed bell peppers.

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  • Stew with rolls and plenty of butter.
  • Fruit salads or big green salads (complete with bacon, cheese, eggs, and homemade dressing)
  • Homemade jello made with fresh fruit, juice and grass-fed gelatin.  Here’s the brand we like.

For peacemaking:

I’m convinced stepping into the kitchen to prepare peacemaking food softens the hearts on both sides of the argument.  First for the one who is preparing the food, there is time to think, it’s like a big breath of peace, an opportunity to pour love and forgiveness out.  And for the one receiving the food an opportunity to tangibly see the the love put into the food and heal.  This is the time to take a moment and prepare something healing for the body and the soul.  Don’t cut corners, make something that takes a little extra time, and fill that food with love and prayers of forgiveness.

  • I, Kristina, remember being at Daja’s one day after she and her husband had experienced some “intense fellowship” if you will.  After we had eaten our lunch, Daja began to prepare another meal.  When I asked what she was doing Daja said she wanted to do something special for her hubby as way to make peace.  So right there in the middle of the day Daja made her hubby’s favorite Buuz.  No easy task by my definition but one that showed her love to him.
  • For my guy, well, homemade cinnamon rolls, pecan pie, French onion soup, or a big ol’ steak are ways to offer peace.

The important thing to remember is to bring something that is special to them.  And if you can’t think of anything, chocolate is the universal food that says, I’m sorry.

For the family with a new baby:

I, Daja, have been on the receiving end of meals many times.  It has always been a HUGE blessing!  And I’ve learned a thing or two that I’ve tried to implement when I prepare meals for others.

  • Ask the family if they have any allergies or dislikes.
  • If you’re not the first one to bring a meal, ask them what they have been receiving.  Ask so that you don’t give the family a repeat of a meal they have already received.  (Roast chicken is great until you’ve eaten it three times in one week!)
  •  The purpose of bringing a postpartum meal isn’t to save the family money, but to lighten the task load.  Be sure to only bring food that needs to be heated up, nothing that requires work to put together!
  • If possible bring the meal in a container that you don’t need returned.  (Ordering take out and having it delivered to the family is a great option!  Make sure you include the tip when you pay and be sure to call the family letting them know when the food will arrive.)
  • Remember that you are not just making enough food for the mommy, but for her whole family.  Make more than enough.  If possible, bring one meal for now and one for her freezer for later.  Trust me, she’ll be very grateful!
  • Call the family earlier in the day or the day before.  Let them know you’ll be bringing the meal and confirm what time they want to eat.
  • Don’t forget to include the lovely little meal extras that turn eating into dining!  You might include some little appetizers, dessert, or a bottle of wine.

Food is a universal way to share hospitality.  Do it with an eager and loving heart and your food, no matter how simple, will feed body and soul.

(Linked to Titus 2 TuesdayA Little R&R, Allergy Free Wednesday, Wise Woman Link-UpWildcrafting WednesdayMaking Your Home Sing, Titus 2 Tuesday, Sharendipity Place,  Natural Living Link-Up and You’re Gonna Love It!)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2013 11:28 am

    Very thoughtful and practical advice. Thanks for sharing at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  2. July 5, 2013 12:10 am

    very practical post! I enjoyed reading this. I have a dear friend who brought me a meal in the hospital when I had baby #2 – it meant sooooo much to me. Hospital food stinks! Thank you for linking up with A Little R & R Wednesdays! I hope you’ll be back to link up again.

  3. July 10, 2013 5:08 am

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope you can join us again today 🙂
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/07/wildcrafting-wednesday-27.html

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