August 21st, 2013
When a major event happens, we bring food. Have a baby? Here’s a casserole. Had surgery? Here’s some meatloaf. Death? There’s a quiche.
Often, people bring over something that’s well meaning, but may not be the best for the recipient. So in today’s post, we’ll provide some guidelines and helpful tips.
Don’t feel you have to make everything from scratch. Most supermarkets have wonderful bread and rotisserie chicken as well as full service delis that have meatloaf, fried chicken, salads, and sides. Also if you know the recipient’s favorite restaurant, look into takeout if it makes sense. Italian and Chinese tend to reheat better than sushi.
Now, bottom line is you don’t ask if they want a meal. You let them, or a close family member, know that you are bringing food. Don’t give them the opportunity to say “Oh, no, that’s OK.” They will appreciate it.
The best meals are:
Always try to find out if there are allergies or sensitivities. If there’s no possible way to ask, write out the recipe and tack it on. That way, they’ll know if they can eat it or send it on home with someone else. Don’t feel badly if your meal isn’t eaten. You did your part in making and providing it, much like any other gift.
You can ask around mutual friends or family members if you need some ideas as to what to avoid. Also, if the mother is breastfeeding, keep in mind what foods might need to be avoided.
Many people bring cakes and pies and cookies to the point where it’s overwhelming. What the family needs are main dishes that can be reheated without much thought.
If there aren’t that many people eating, don’t make a casserole for twelve. If you’re delivering it to someone newly widowed, the amount of food may be upsetting. Look into portioning out the food into smaller containers. It may not be green but it will be easier for them to freeze some food for the next few months when the goodwill has died down, but they still need some easy food to access.
Also, if you use smaller containers, the recipient won’t have to feel obligated to return the plate or pan that it was in.
Crockpot/Slowcooker meals: Spaghetti sauce, Pulled pork(accompanied with slaw, and buns), chicken cacciatore, chicken curry.
Savory Pies: Quebec meat pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Quiche, Steak Pie, Seitan pie, Mushroom pie
Sauced Meals: Chicken Parmesan, Meatballs & Sauce, Ribs, Meatloaf.
Consider tossing in some sides as well to round out the meal. The family can even eat it piecemeal as snacks thus providing them with a lot more options.
For example, if you brought a rotisserie chicken, bagged lettuce, loaf of French bread and strawberries, they could make a salad when they got slightly hungry, nibble on some bread later on, and save the chicken for later when the new baby is sleeping.
Consider bringing vegetarian options or fruit and vegetable sides to help balance the heartiness of the main dish.
What time should you bring over the meal? It depends upon the person and their situation but mid to late afternoon is usually a safe time as everyone’s had a chance to shower.
And remember, a special meal is a message from the heart. You may not know what to say, but stopping by with a meal can say it pretty well. And don’t feel the need to limit it to births and deaths. Sometimes, you know of a college student who could use some extra love, or someone who just moved into a new house and haven’t unpacked yet. Or sometimes you know of someone going through a rough patch, and a simple meal would help them without embarrassing them.
Have you received or given meals? What was your favorite?