Food for Thought: The Gift of Sustenance

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Meal time is a special time in my house, and with just a little work, you can make it a special time for other families too! Everyone has to eat, so with a little thoughtfulness and planning, taking a warm, comforting meal to a friend or elderly neighbor is an easy and helpful thing to do.

I’m fortunate in that I live in a neighborhood where folks look out for the boys and me and are family. We still gather on the street to celebrate holidays like Trick or Treat or the Fourth of July. And we tend to look after each other when someone is sick or facing some other challenge that makes daily life difficult. 

Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to perform random acts of kindness this year. If so, one that really sticks out to me is something that is so simple – taking your friend/neighbor a meal. This kind gesture is something that is easily overlooked and something that not everyone gets to enjoy all the time, but yet it’s such an easy thing to do. It could be as simple as doubling the recipe you’re making for dinner or picking up some pre-made tomato bisque from the deli, a bag of salad, and a loaf of crusty bread. You don’t even have to do the cooking to bring this particular blessing home.

When a friend came home from the hospital recently with her third beautiful baby, you can bet several of us were making sure that she and her growing family would have some easy meals on hand, giving her and her husband just one less thing to worry about while settling in with a new little one. Or when my elderly neighbor returned home after a stint in a rehab hospital while recovering from a fall, a pot of hearty, hot soup was just the recipe for what ailed him. (What could be more comforting than a pot of potato soup? Bacon, Blue Cheese & Shallot Potato Soup | Wednesday Blog | Bellisari's?) He and his wife were so clearly grateful for a little favor that barely put me out at all. 

If you were to take someone a meal, just think of what it could do. It could free up some time so the new mom could take a shower, it could be the first home-cooked meal your elderly neighbor has eaten in a long time, or it could give the family across the road enough time to play a fun game together before dinner. The possibilities are endless.

Taking a meal to someone not only gives their bellies fuel, but their souls too! Knowing someone cared enough to make a meal and deliver it has unbelievable healing power.

When taking your neighbors/friends a meal, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What time of the day would they prefer?  Our goal here is to have this be the easiest meal for your neighbors/friend. It all depends on the family/friend/neighbor you take a meal to.

  • If you are bringing a precooked meal, make sure it’s all prepped and ready to be popped back into the oven or microwave. Remember, you are bringing them a meal, not a bunch of groceries for a meal! All your friends/neighbors should have to do is throw the meal in the oven or microwave for the specified amount of time.

  • Stick to the tried and true! You need to make sure you’re not over doing it and adding to your stress by trying to make a gourmet 5-course meal. Even if your friends are foodies, they will appreciate tried and true meals like casseroles, roasts, pot pies, soups and stews, meatloaf, etc.

  • Pre-made/frozen food is an option! You may have a store that sells delicious pre-made food. 

  • Make sure you plan the meal for the family/friend eating it. When planning to take a meal to friends, you need to know how many people will be eating it. You want to be sure to have enough that everyone will be able to have their fill.

  • You also need to know if anyone has any specific allergies like gluten or dairy. And, if you are bringing a meal to a family with kids, you need to account for that as well. 

  • Children are picky eaters. It may be a good idea to ask for some suggestions from mom when it comes to a family-friendly meal. 

  • Bring your meal in disposable containers if possible. What I mean by this, is to bring your meal in a disposable pan if possible. You can also bring your sides in disposable containers. This may not look as pretty, but it will not only reduce any dishes that have to be done, but also will eliminate the need for you to keep track of pots and pans that need to come back to you.

All in all, when you take a meal to a friend/neighbor it doesn't have to be a daunting task. Just make sure you take a little time to plan it so it turns out just right! You want your friends/family to have to do as little as possible so they truly benefit. Our website is loaded with easy and delicious recipes. Check out our recipe tab to find the perfect dish to share and make someone’s life easier. Happy sharing from all of us at Bellisari’s!

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