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What to bring for friends in crisis?


LoriZig
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I take platters of sandwiches, coldcuts with accompanying salads and dressings, pastry savouries able to be frozen (I am a caterer and have them on hand always) and thawed/heated as required.  Also consider a big bowl of ready to eat salads with protein like Thai Beef, Cobb Salad, Asian Chicken and Noodle salad etc.

Have to say that my sandwiches/rolls have always been very well recieved in that they can be refrigerated, trays well wrapped, and are fine for at least 24 hours of people dropping by. Sweet things are welcomed for sure..that goes without saying. :)

See, sandwiches are total comfort food for me, child of the New York metro area. If there's some way to figure out/ask what would be the bereaved folks' comfort food of choice, fulfilling that would be really beautiful.

I also think nomatter what the food gift is, the gesture itself can be comforting to people. (Though of course you'd also like the gift to be useful and pleasing ...)

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Ham.

Cold, hot, sandwich or just sliced off and stuffed into the face. A whole ham is versatile and can go many different ways. Freezes well.

When Dad passed, there were some who could not eat (me), and other's who ate compulsively for comfort (my brother.)

No telling.

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Two days after the funeral she showed up clad in the tiniest Lacoste shirtdress with all those old WASPy diamonds on her fingers. She handed me a four litre basket of strawberries she'd picked herself earlier in the day. Deep red to the core, sweet, fragrant. They were like a blessing.

What a wonderful story. One of the things I've remembered from family and friends' funeral and tragedy sadness is the lack of anything fresh. The most precious gifts came in the form of fresh stuff; the perishables we didn't have the time nor energy to shop for.

Don't forget the veg and fruit.

As I have been laid low by an injury and surgery followed by what seems a never ending recovery I can say that of the food gifts I have received those most cherished have been the fresh produce. Other than two lonely tomato plants I have no garden this year. The bounty of freshness from friends gardens has brought me joy. I agree that those fresh items may be the best gifts for those not up to snuff.

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When my dad was deathly ill, my mother and I pounced on any and all food that was presented to us--from fresh sandwich trays to frozen couscous and artichoke soup. We relished opportunities to go out to dinner and drinks after long days at the hospital. Upon questioning ourselves, we realized that food was all we had to look forward to during our long, difficult days. All of the above recommendations sound wonderful to me, however, as a vegetarian, I can't stress enough the suggestion that you ask about food allergies or preferences.

Maggie, we had an experience similar to yours. My parents are friendly with a french woman who was a founding baker/partner of one of the best bakeries in Philadelphia. Upon hearing of my father's illness, she brought us delicious bread and sandwiches from the store. However, it was the delivery the brought smiles to our faces. She had an eye appointment at a nearby hospital. After the appointment (eyes ablurry) the 70-year old woman biked over to my parents' house in heels, tight jeans, bracelets up and down her arms, and a fully made-up face. The bounty was transported in her bike's basket. While the food was good, the experience was priceless.

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Will try to be brief, but speaking from experience... these are the things that I appreciated in the months immediately after my DH died...

Fresh fruit that can be kept for a week or so

Fresh vegetables, or already washed salad green, but not too much

Inexpensive, no-return packaging

Small servings are easier to deal with than a whole pan of something. Sometimes looking at a whole cake was just overwhelming, because then I would have to figure out a way to wrap it up again.

Individual servings of a main dish: pre-sliced meatloaf, individual pieces of chicken, small pan of casserole, etc.

my favorite snack food (potato chips)

It was a very long time ago, but I do remember how thoughtful people were. But some were more appreciated than others :-)

Karen Dar Woon

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how about a beautiful fresh fruit salad?

I always make a turkey breast --you can make a dinner from it or just hack off pieces whenever anyone is hungry.

sesame noodles are good--and tabbouleh, as someone mentioned.

devilled eggs.

and i love Maggie's neighbor's gift--a bowl of berries or ripe tomatoes or corn all ready to cook would be lovely.

a container of pesto sauce and a bag of pasta.

I, unfortunately, never lose my appetite, and agree that food offers great solace--and alcohol isn't too shabby either--some nice wine or champagne would be comforting--I always say that there's no sorrow too great to be eased by champagne.

Zoe

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Nothing specific to recommend but I'd say:

- Generally stick to things that hold well. They have enough stress, and maybe too much food right now. They don't need the worry of figuring out what's going/gone bad on them. While nice fresh produce in the summer is great it does have the downside of going south quickly, particulalrly in some applications

- Include a recipe! Or offer it. Two of my favorite recipes are from a couple years ago when my grandfather died. I called up the givers a few weeks later to thank them and ask for their recipes. While it isn't the dishes are not reveleations I find them to be extra comforting and enjoyable because of the association I have with them. It's amazing your brain forms these connections.

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I take platters of sandwiches, coldcuts with accompanying salads and dressings, pastry savouries able to be frozen (I am a caterer and have them on hand always) and thawed/heated as required.  Also consider a big bowl of ready to eat salads with protein like Thai Beef, Cobb Salad, Asian Chicken and Noodle salad etc.

Have to say that my sandwiches/rolls have always been very well recieved in that they can be refrigerated, trays well wrapped, and are fine for at least 24 hours of people dropping by. Sweet things are welcomed for sure..that goes without saying. :)

See, sandwiches are total comfort food for me, child of the New York metro area. If there's some way to figure out/ask what would be the bereaved folks' comfort food of choice, fulfilling that would be really beautiful.

I also think nomatter what the food gift is, the gesture itself can be comforting to people. (Though of course you'd also like the gift to be useful and pleasing ...)

:cool:

Mizducky, your post just kicked loose a slightly zany memory of one of the best Italian subs I ever had -- salami and provolone plus mild giardiniera peppers, onions and O & V -- on a 'mile-long' Italian loaf. It fed a dozen of us easily, including the bereaved partner, after a funeral we'd sung for free for a colleague who'd died of HIV. That, and the jug of Chianti, was as much a comfort as anything the clergy said at the service, I think. It certainly wasn't high-ticket, but at that specific moment it was just what everyone there needed.

:cool:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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:wub: Again, I'd like to thank you all so much! :wub:

I went over yesterday with lasagne, a roast chicken, homemade bread, salad, green beans, an assortment of fresh fruit and a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies. My friend acted like he'd won the lottery, and I felt so good knowing that he'd have some home-cooking for awhile.

I inadvertently came up with a tip for my own thread! Instead of making one big pan of lasagne that he may or may not be able to finish, we baked up 3 square, "cake pan" lasagnes so that he could freeze two and leave one in the fridge. I laughed because, after looking at/smelling the lasagnes, my friend said the heck with putting 2 in the freezer- he wanted to keep 2 in the fridge! :smile:

I'm going to make a second go of it in about 2 weeks, this time with gazpacho and some pulled pork and fresh rolls.

Thank you all for your help, and I look forward to seeing more tips and suggestions and referring back to this thread a lot!

You say I am mysterious. Let me explain myself. In a land of oranges, I am faithful to apples. ~ Elsa Gidlow

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Hey, baroness..

That brings up an interesting point... instead of, or with, food offerings... what about a "room clean" - bring your bucket, cleaning products - don't say no for an answer, and clean the kitchen, the bath, the living/family room where they receive guests?

You'd have to know the recipients well, and do it with loving tact, but would that be awesome?

Edited by Jamie Lee (log)

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Or.. another thought...

Take them to lunch while your pre-arranged and pre-approved (by them) Merry Maids take care of it all.. imagine, clean dishes, floors, linens, bathrooms - not number one on your list in your grief, but soothing all the same.

J.

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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