One of the best and most practical ways to show someone love is through food. They say the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but I don't think this age-old adage only holds true for fifty percent of the population. I know I've become fast friends with anyone who offers to bring me a meal in time of need! What woman doesn't appreciate a night off from the kitchen and a delicious meal she didn't have to prepare?
Over my years of receiving and bringing meals, I have some tips I'd like to share (in no particular order). Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section!
1. Recently my church has started to use a website called Take Them a Meal to coordinate meal-bringing to families in need. It is a really great resource and I highly recommend it, especially for families who will need meals for a period of time (surgery, new baby, etc.).
2. When bringing food, consider bringing it in a container(s) that you don't mind the family keeping. Aluminum pans work great here and are usually only a couple dollars for a multipack at your local grocery store. It's just so nice to relieve the family of the duty of remembering what dishes are returned to whom, etc.
3. If your financial and time budgets allow, throw in a few other grocery items as well. We've received meals before along with a pound or so of grapes, steamable veggie bags, some bread and deli meat, or muffins for breakfast the next morning. I found those few extra things really helpful, especially because after Micah was born I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how to get to the grocery store! So I appreciated those little things that stretched my need for an outing a bit further.
4. Consider the leftoverability of the dish you bring. Ok, that word might not be real, but the concept is. If you bring more than the family can eat in one night, just make sure it reheats or keeps well. Soggy blobs are not good eats.
5. Consider food allergies and preferences. Just ask. Everyone appreciates the thoughtfulness involved in asking.
6. If you're bringing food to a nursing mom, consider the ingredients in your dish. Foods that are overly spicy, overly garlicky, or heavy on the dairy don't always translate well into breast milk.
7. Heavy on the protein. Especially for someone who just had surgery or a baby and maybe experienced significant blood loss. I'm not saying bring steaks (although, that's a good way to make a friend ;), but a vegetarian meal might not be the best choice for these individuals. Might. Again, just ask.
8. Here is just a list of some yummy recipes that friends might appreciate (please forgive me if over half of them are from P-Dub. I'm totally into her stuff right now): sour cream noodle bake, creamy chicken spaghetti casserole, chicken and dumplings, chicken cordon bleu casserole, sausage, apple, and red potato skillet, chicken and wild rice casserole.
That's my list for showing love through food. Please feel free to share your best tips and recipes for bringing meals to friends!