Lending a Helping Hand

February 24, 20126 Comments

No matter what is going on in our lives, we need to eat. This fact remains even in the face of circumstances which make it difficult to shop for, prepare or enjoy a meal. If you’ve ever been the lucky recipient of a meal in a time of need, you know the impact of this simple act of kindness. A pot of soup, a pan of lasagna, a salad or a plate of cookies become the best you’ve ever tasted simply because they were prepared by someone who cared enough to help you out.

Shortly after the birth of a dear friends’ third child, we had the family to our house for dinner. As my friend held and nursed the new baby, I cut her chicken into pieces and poured her a glass of wine. Tears streamed down her face. The baffled husbands exchanged a glance. You could see the thought process in their furrowed brows – “Chicks. Who gets them anyway?” They didn’t understand. I recalled the rush of relief and heartfelt gratitude (not to mention postpartum hormones) at having been showered with meals generously made by friends and neighbors when my own children were born. Even my friends who claim not to cook delivered baskets of warm rolls, pots of chili, bottles of wine and freshly baked cookies. Providing food for another person is as basic as it gets, yet deeply profound.

I was reminded of the importance of community and helpful friends last weekend while visiting my parents. My father is (slowly, steadily) recovering from a knee replacement. My mother is unable to care for them both. Neither can drive, let alone sustain the energy to do basic household tasks. They’ve relied on the kindness of neighbors and friends for meals, errands, groceries and medications.  They have literally been carried through this trying time by the good graces of others. I had the good fortune of running into a friend of theirs at the grocery store while there to pick up a few items for them. Before he could figure out who was saying hello and I-can’t-begin-to-thank-you-enough, I’d thrown my arms around him. Where would they be without the generosity of people like that?

This week, I’m providing you with a list of my favorite recipes that can be easily shared. Double the recipe and provide a meal for a family that’s new to the neighborhood. Or the friend who’s had the flu. Or someone who could use a bit of kindness. Many of these dishes can be easily frozen. Most are ideal for a crowd. A few more groceries and a little extra effort can make a meaningful difference to someone in your life.

Make it, Share it…

And a little something sweet…

Yes, there is a lot of chicken here. There are also a number of vegetarian options. I tend to stay away from fish and beef when making a meal to share. Remember to ask about preferences, allergies or special diets, especially important for someone who is ill. Back next week…lots of love.

6 responses to “Lending a Helping Hand”

  1. Shelley says:

    Alicia, we now have two organs in common. My stomach is always grateful for the feast of delectables you offer, and apparently, you are a girl after my own heart.
    Charlotte Bronte said, ‘Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.’ It is clear you bring much “taste” to our community! Many thanks.

  2. Mairin says:

    having been both the recipient and giver of such meals, I know first hand the power of love that is wrapped up in each meal. I have cried with joy and gratitude for being brought a meal. And the utter joy I feel when sharing a meal for someone in need is amazing. I feel so fortunate to live in an extremely helpful and generous neighborhood that always has a care calendar going for someone, for whatever reason. I always try thinking of what nutrients the recipients may need. I love to throw in some iron rich beets hidden in a salad (so that even some of the most discriminating may partake!) for those just giving birth or going thru chemo. Baked potato soup goes over so well during the midwest cold, asparagus watercress soup in the spring. sometimes it is fun to do breakfast items. It is simple to do some yummy muffins full of protein, fiber and vitamins that they may enjoy for several hectic mornings. I look forward to trying some of these! thanks so much for the new ideas 🙂

  3. Dan Morrison says:

    This is awesome. We just had baby Skye and afterward, were a little overwhelmed with 2 older boys in the house. The families from our 5 year old’s preschool all sent over 1 meal for 2 weeks. It was amazing! Thanks Alicia, I will share this with them.

  4. Telma leitao says:

    Alicia, dear cousin
    I loved your page and the wonderful ideas to enjoy asking always for more… Lots of love XXX

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