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My mother recently had a triple bypass. She is doing well, thank you, no doubt in part by the kindness, love, prayers, and condsideration shown to her by her friends and family. In my part of the world (The American Deep South) people generally bring food for all out of the ordinary events (sickness, death, birth, wedding parties, out of town visitors, etc) and this does not mean a pound cake from Wal Mart (that would be extremely bad form and would become fodder for Circle Meetings and Bridge Club-"Did you see that cake that Essie brought when Brooksie was in the bed? She bought that thing at the STORE! I guess that she is too busy to cook now that she has taken up with that new music minister at the church" :laugh: ).

My mother, at my request, just sent me a list of all of the stuff that she has recieved in the last two weeks. It is a pretty amazing list. We should all eat so well!

I have left the first names on there as many of them are truly Southerncentric and I just like the way that they read.

Evelyn Manicotti, Muffins, Crawfish Fetucinni, Plant

Glady Bell Chicken and Asparagus casserole, Salad, Rolls

Nancy Chicken Noodle soup, Rolls

Jewel Green salad and homemade dressing and lady peas

Doris Chicken and dumplings

Margaret Chocolate Pie

Jan Angel Food cake

Jo Daisies, Blueberries,Banana Pudding (twice)

Clara Bread

Claudia Tomatoes and Mayonnaise

Susan Bread

Ruth Chefs salad, Lemon torte, book

Pat Fresh fruit basket

Inv. Club Chicken, potatoes,spinach,green beans

carrot souffle, rolls

Diane Matzo ball soup, Potato bread

Mary Lee Crabmeat Imperial

Nell Chicken Spaghetti, Cake

Donna Bread

Ann Orchid, sandwich,Meal of Trout, Garganzola mashed potatoes,

Salad, French bread and Lemon Sorbet

Pat Flowers and frozen Crawfish pies

Dee Dee Peaches and Pound cake

Terry Kay Chicken Tetrazinni and rolls

Karen Chicken Parmesan, Green beans, corn on the cob, yellow rice

Sallie Stuffed Mirlitons, stuffed squash,tomatoes, cake

Lola King Ranch casserole, salad, French bread and Chocolate pie

Nell Crawfish Fetucinni, Lemon icebox pie

Sandy Tomato pie

Carol Flowers

Mary Lou Flowers

Suzanne Flowers

Betsy Plant

Florence Tuscan soup, fresh vegetables, Sunday lunch featuring a "little

roast"

Robin (my wife)Lots ot T.L.C. plus fresh Salmon, Salads, Chocolate pies

Incidentally, if you had to pick a winner, apparently the crabmeat imperial was out of this world. I had some of the Chicken Tettrazini and the Motzo Ball Soup and they were both pretty fine, as well.

Now. I am interested in the traditions in your part of the world when it is appropriate to take food, as a gift of love or concern, to other people's homes.

What do you bring and why do you bring it?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Although it is fabulous that so many people are bringing your mom food, it seems that many of them are not taking her conditiion into account. Isn't crab imperial, King Ranch casserole, tetrazzini, chicken parm, etc., full of fat, cream, cheese, etc.? For someone who just had a triple bypass, I'd try to bring heart healthy items, like all the women who brought salad, veggies, tuscan soup, etc.

Send her our best wishes.

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Although it is fabulous that so many people are bringing your mom food, it seems that many of them are not taking her conditiion into account. Isn't crab imperial, King Ranch casserole, tetrazzini, chicken parm, etc., full of fat, cream, cheese, etc.? For someone who just had a triple bypass, I'd try to bring heart healthy items, like all the women who brought salad, veggies, tuscan soup, etc.

Send her our best wishes.

Rachel,

I guess I should have been more clear-The family has to eat. She can't, you are correct, eat most of that stuff-and certainly not right after surgery.

But there were family members hanging around visiting/nursing and so forth and they needed to be fed with a minimum of trouble. Plus, my Dad does not cook (except for big outdoor projects and his yearly headcheese operation with his buddies) and would have starved to death without the help. He is a mna who is very comfortable in being served. :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Oddly enough.... between a widely dispersed family (geographically), good health and longevity (my family members generally seem to outlive most of their peers and none have had major surgery or other issues that had them laid up for any length of time)) I don't recall ever dealing with this issue. When I was taken ill and not up to cooking or getting out for awhile back when I lived in NJ, my GF at the time brought me soup from a Colombian restaurant and it was perfect.

The only time my mom was out of commission for more than a day or so was when I was an infant. Apparently our friends, neighbors and relatives made sure that my dad, my brother and I were fed. The entertaining fact about that incident is that my father had insisted, up until that time, that we didn't need a dishwasher because his mother had never had one. After two days of washing dishes (my mom was seriously ill and expected to be in the hospital for several weeks) he immediately had a dishwasher installed and they have never been without one since.

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Brooks,

Having grown up in the South myself (North Carolina in my case) I am very familiar with the dynamic you speak of.

My mom took sick last year, and I rushed home to look after her and my dad. When I arrived the kitchen table was positively groaning with delicious homemade food brought by the neighbors. We barely had fridge space for the stuff that had to be kept cold.

In my case, when I am bringing food to a sick friend/sick friend's family, I try to make something simple, tasty and nutritious that will keep a while and can be reheated with a minimum of fuss. That usually winds up being a pot of chicken soup (remarkable in its curative properties), a pan of lasagna, or something similar. If the sick person is feeling up to eating something substantial, I often call ahead and ask "what do you feel like eating" and make that. (When my aunt was going through chemo, she was jonesing for peanut butter cookies for some reason. She felt like she could eat those? Great. I made a ton of them.)

One of my neighbors back in North Carolina was famous for bringing delicious *beverages* when someone was ill. Her reasoning was, everybody else was bringing food, and they're all going to need something to drink... she would show up with a couple of gallons of homemade lemonade, iced tea, etc. I always thought that was pretty sharp, actually.

enrevanche <http://enrevanche.blogspot.com>

Greenwich Village, NYC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

- Mark Twain

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...his yearly headcheese operation with his buddies...

I'm sorry, but I read this and BURST out laughing--I'm assuming that a headcheese operation is nothing like a triple bypass... :laugh:

Seriously--I'm with Rachel; my first thought upon reading this list was "What are they doing--trying to kill her?!?" for the same reason--seemed like a rather rich list for someone who just had surgery! But it's a rich list anyway--a list of love and caring, and that's a beautiful thing. Glad she's doing well!

When I'm sick, I'm always happy to have some of my own chicken soup (with either matzo balls or wild rice and corn in it) out of the freezer. So when friends aren't feeling well, that's what I tend to make for them.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Hmm… a little Zocor with that meal? :biggrin:

In the times when I've played the supporting role, I have thought about what that person (or the family) might have wanted, to the point where I have prepared complete meals.

As for single items, I've made chawan mushi, a Taiwanese chicken soup (four ingredient: chicken, ginger, sesame oil, sake - popular for its mellowing effect), crab and corn soup, boeuf bourguignon, that seafood bread recipe that Jacques Pépin has demonstrated, poached pears, tuna tataki and frittatas. The soups are the most popular.

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God, I wish I lived in the south! People around here just don't do things like that. We're very reserved. A card and maybe some flowers is about all unless it's a really close friend or relative. It's a shame too because I love to get food. Last year after I had the baby my best friend brought over a delicious butternut squash lasagna (a caterer made it) and a big salad in the bag with some bottled dressing. I was very appreciative even if she didn't make it herself. There is nothing worse than coming home with a new baby to a house with hunger people and having to whip up a meal.

Melissa

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Not really part of my background, either. :sad: When I'm sick, it's all I can do to get HWOE to order me the CURRIED Chicken Udon!

But early in our relationship, he came down with mono. We were supposed to have gone out to dinner together, so I went over to his apartment and made him some beef stew. Does that count?

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If it's a medical crisis with someone alone in a house, and ill, I make huge amounts of soup: pasta e fagiole with extra garlic if it's cold-related, french onion soup if it's not. It lasts a long time, and tastes better as it marinates! If it's for a happy occasion, (like a new baby in the house), I make an enormous cheesecake or carrotcake..............because so many other people are going to bring entrees!

I really like the idea of showing up with gallons of beverages! How thoughtful!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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The minute I hear anyone is sick, my genetic destiny manifests itself: there's no way I will get a good night's sleep until I have made and delivered that pot of chicken soup.

After that I get a little more rational, but whatever I provide, even for the family and other nursing personnel, will tend to fall under the category of comfort food. Everyone can use a little comfort at a time like that. What it consists of depends on a lot of things - the season, for instance. In winter it'll be soups and stews. Maybe variations on a theme of pasta. I can't say I have a set repertoire - I just try to think of something appropriate to the people and the situation. I ask what the sick person might like and/or be permitted to eat. Try to some up with something soothing and original for picky appetites. For the people helping, hearty and sustaining stuff - preferably packed in easily-reheated individual portions if people are on a staggered schedule.

We don't have quite the deeply-established tradition around here that you do in the South, but I must say that during the past couple of years my parents' whole neighborhood really turned up trumps in this regard, during my mother's last illness, and then later when my father got sick. Actually, I pretty much moved in and took over the cooking on those occasions, so it wasn't strictly necessary (another point to take into account when you're trying to figure out what to bring; sometimes there is already someone there to do the cooking, but you can earn that person's undying gratitude by running errands, picking up a load of groceries, etc.) - but I gotta admit that during the first couple of days after she died it was a good thing we had a huge vat of chicken cacciatore from the nice lady across the way. It was hard enough even remembering to eat, let alone thinking of something to make; we basically lived on that chicken.

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...his yearly headcheese operation with his buddies...

I'm sorry, but I read this and BURST out laughing--I'm assuming that a headcheese operation is nothing like a triple bypass... :laugh:

No, but if you eat that stuff on a regular basis YOU TOO can end up with a big zipper in your chest (don't you find it ironic that often times they use parts of the pig to repair the damage that the pig has done in the first place?). Actually, I suppose that it's more like "Pigs don't kill people, people do". The pigs are innocent little pleasure providers. :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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No matter what I'm taking, I always take it in a dish that does not have to be returned. Those new 'disposable' containers are just great. I usually bring snack-type stuff - chips and boudin dip, homemade salsa, and usually some sandwiches. People can eat that stuff on the run, or the family can pack it in their lunch boxes if their working.

Stop Family Violence

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I read somewhere that the dish-to-be-returned is part of the social connection of sharing food: It gives the persons who were ill an opening to say thank you and to talk about other topics that hold our social webs together. This was especially so in the case of a death in the family. Persons who were mourning *had* to come out of their black hole, briefly, to talk to someone else.

Has anyone else heard this?

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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I read somewhere that the dish-to-be-returned is part of the social connection of sharing food: It gives the persons who were ill an opening to say thank you and to talk about other topics that hold our social webs together. This was especially so in the case of a death in the family. Persons who were mourning *had* to come out of their black hole, briefly, to talk to someone else.

I had never heard this before, Susan, but I have to say it makes good sense. Many folk practices seem to embody good, common-sense practical psychology when it comes to comforting people. I have always really appreciated the practice of the Irish wake... sort of like sitting shiva, but with whiskey.

I *was* taught very carefully, as a child, that one never returns somebody's dish empty. :smile: A few baked goodies or something similar on the plate being returned was a way of saying thank you. (This didn't apply to dishes brought during illness or mourning; that appeared to be an exception. It was a rule, though, for dishes brought by neighbors and friends under other circumstances.)

enrevanche <http://enrevanche.blogspot.com>

Greenwich Village, NYC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

- Mark Twain

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The caveat being that if you take a dish that must be returned, be sure to mark it with your name somehow. A family that receives multiple items from different friends and neighbors can have a hard time getting the right dishes back to their proper place...

Edited by pogophiles (log)

Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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That's exactly my point. I don't have that many serving dishes due to limited space, and most are sentimental. If I take one somewhere, I might not get it back for several weeks (and hopefully it would come back.) and that could be very inconvienent. -wow, that sounds shallow. Oh well. If I was really on the ball, I pick up a couple dishes at a garage sale and keep them in the garage for just that purpose. Maybe next time.....

Stop Family Violence

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If a loved one was sick I would have a real problem on my hands. I believe that a Chinese elixir of various herbs, usually in the form of a 'tea' or soup is hands down the best way to care for them. But..I KNOW my loved ones and this would be amongst the last items on their list of sick foods. They would probably think that Im a kook! What a shame...that Im RIGHT!

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Oddly enough.... between a widely dispersed family (geographically), good health and longevity (my family members generally seem to outlive most of their peers and none have had major surgery or other issues that had them laid up for any length of time)) I don't recall ever dealing with this issue. When I was taken ill and not up to cooking or getting out for awhile back when I lived in NJ, my GF at the time brought me soup from a Colombian restaurant and it was perfect.

The only time my mom was out of commission for more than a day or so was when I was an infant. Apparently our friends, neighbors and relatives made sure that my dad, my brother and I were fed. The entertaining fact about that incident is that my father had insisted, up until that time, that we didn't need a dishwasher because his mother had never had one. After two days of washing dishes (my mom was seriously ill and expected to be in the hospital for several weeks) he immediately had a dishwasher installed and they have never been without one since.

that's how I got my dishwasher too, after being in hospital having a baby for just four days. I got a dishwasher when I got home. I told him that I better not have to do any dishes of his when I got home. OR ELSE.

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The caveat being that if you take a dish that must be returned, be sure to mark it with your name somehow. A family that receives multiple items from different friends and neighbors can have a hard time getting the right dishes back to their proper place...

I just realized how many of my serving dishes have freezer tape and my name on the bottom. I usually deliver things on a decent plate (except for cakes - I take them in one of those cool tupperware lockdown cake-safe containers-they're very cheap and if they want to keep them, I am just as happy).

And generally I find that when the dishes are returned that there is something small on them. Cookies, fruit, etc.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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My arteries were clogging as I was reading that list! :biggrin: Bringing food is a big part of Southern communities. When my grandmother was dying of cancer in NC, we had people bringing us tons of food. It was so kind, because none of us wanted to leave to do any shopping. The dear lady that brought warm country ham biscuits one morning was especially appreciated. We often forgot about breakfast. We also really appreciated the veggies...of course, my grandfather died of diabetes and heart disease and my dad had had a heart attack. That is NOT a common Southern sentiment. We did get quite a few buckets of chicken, which were good for throwing at people who came and wouldn't leave. :hmmm:

I have moved up North, first to Michigan and then to Illinois. The illness food bringing sentiment is alive and well even in this part of the country. I had a stroke last year at the ripe age of 26. I got tons of flowers (pretty, but you can't eat them). I had one friend who came over and made polenta, meatballs and spaghetti from scratch. He is Southern. It was good to see a friend. I also had friends bring me lasagne, macaroni and cheese, salad, casseroles, etc. It was all very well received. I recently had surgery and some friends brought chicken casserole, green beans, banana bread, steak, and cream puffs. It was all very good but also very hard to digest.

I usually send a healthy but satisfying dish. Roast chicken, homemade chicken noodle soup, french onion soup, etc. If I can, I will call and ask if there are any requests.

I love disposable containers. Its a pain to try to remember who's pans belong to whom.

it just makes me want to sit down and eat a bag of sugar chased down by a bag of flour.

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Yeah, this "feed the family" thing is alive and well in New Zealand, too!

These days it seems to be casseroles (to be eaten or frozen) or pies (ditto). I think when I was younger, it would likely have been a Shepherd's Pie, also a good-tempered dish, but now people are probably too embarrassed to produce that for anybody but their own families. When my sister had twins, the community dinner network immediately swung into action, bringing dinners twice a week for quite a while. It seems to me that everybody has a "traveling freezer-to-table casserole dish" in their cupboard somewhere -- sturdy, but not so wonderful that you would cry if it weren't returned!

When my mother died, my sister and I flew back to NZ, and were greeted by mountains of baking. All my mother's friends knew that we would have lots of visitors in a house where nobody had cooked for several months, so they went to work - fruit cake, gems (cooked in a thing called a gem iron), ginger crunch squares, chocolate cake, Anzac biscuits, etc. New Zealanders are not huge on cookies (compared to Americans, at least!). Then, of course, those who had done the baking and left it anonymously on the doorstep called around at a polite hour to drink tea and eat their own baking!

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I need to know who I am feeding. If it's a family crisis or bereavement then bring simple food and lots of it - chicken pot pie ( not quite as magnificent as your's Brooks, but good), lasagna or meatloaf and in a disposable container. No one wants to do dishes.

If it is a sick person then it is definitely a low fat soup with meat and vegetables - easy to reheat, nutritious and easy to digest. Chicken noodle soup is the perfect food but beef barley is acceptable.

So what did your mother eat of the amazing list of love? Personally, I was pretty amused at their idea of "post - op" food. :wink: I am pretty sure her surgeon had a few suggestions for immediate care - low sodium, non gas producing foods and then some suggestions for long term diet regarding fat, calories and fiber.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm from Atlanta, and the list of things I have given and recieved in terms of food is almost EXACTLY what Mayhaw described.

Except not so much bread, more big dishes of main courses.

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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