The gift of food

I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks (I’m never sick!) and both the kids are feverish snot covered whirlwinds. So yeah, not cooking much.

Thank God for my friends Nigel and Willa. Nigel turned up early yesterday morning bearing his mother’s heirloom casserole dish full of a beautiful tomato and silverbeet soup (with cinnamon) made by Willa.

Some cous cous to improve the child spoonability factor, and lots of pepper and a squeeze of one neighbour Billy’s Meyer lemons for the grown ups. Wonderful.

Giving food is a beautiful gift, particularly for new parents or single parents. Don’t be shy, just make up a big tray of something delicious and take it around. This is the one situation where I think disposable foil cooking trays can be a Good Thing, because the new parents feel no obligation to clean and return other people’s cooking equipment. (I prefer the beautiful dish this came in and will enjoy returning it, but I don’t have a newborn. Which is also a Good Thing.)

When my dear friend Jude had her second child, her neighbour arranged seven households into a roster, and for one night a week for six weeks, we cooked for the enlarged family. It was such a wonderful thing to turn up, drop off the food and see the relieved faces. Sometimes I would stay for a glass of wine, but usually I would just scoot off after no more than ten minutes or so. And how I loved cooking for them! I would turn up with things like a big bowl of washed and picked over leaves, a little bag of really good vinaigrette and a container of marinated and grilled chicken, baked sweet potato and very fresh nuts. And always a dessert. Breastfeeding women need sweets.

There’s a simpler way we can give food too, by just clicking at the hunger site.

18 comments ↓

#1 kate on 20.06.08 at 9:57 pm

For a while after the lad was born my friends had a habit of turning up for dinner. They’d bring ingredients and cook them on the premises or they’d bring takeaways. They still turn up for dinner, but generally we’re back to me feeding them.

I had thought that having a summer baby would result in avoiding bad casserole* in the newborn period. But unfortunately it didn’t. We did eat a lot of Christmas leftovers first though.

* As opposed to good casserole, made with good meat, which is fabulous IN WINTER.

#2 Zoe on 20.06.08 at 10:10 pm

For more than a month &Duck turned up every week with a box of groceries and a bottle of wine and made us dinner and washed up. She also rocked baby, soothed brows and said sane-making things. Very, very lucky.

#3 Pavlov's Cat on 21.06.08 at 12:47 am

Those lemons with one lime in the yellow bowl are a work of art.

#4 Naomi (Dr Sista Outlaw) on 22.06.08 at 4:07 pm

He, my ex used to make me dinner then make me wash up … you’ll note the use of the word ‘ex’

#5 FDB on 23.06.08 at 2:31 pm

2 questions:

How good are Meyer lemons? [rhetorical]

Where can you get them in Melbourne? [existentially crucial]

#6 Dr Sista Outlaw on 24.06.08 at 10:17 am

to buy or grow?

#7 Megxx on 24.06.08 at 12:14 pm

Hey Zoe

that soup of Wills looks good (the mention of cinnamon does it for me…) – did she drop in the recipe?

#8 FDB on 24.06.08 at 1:47 pm

Doctor doctor,
gimme the news…

Umm… eating’s a start. I recently came across them for the first time in San Francisco. I wouldn’t normally buy lemons – they’re too easy to scrounge – but the taste and juiciness of meyers is a thing to behold. Squeeze them out and you’re left with a thin skin and that’s all.

I made a round of ten whisky sours in SF and didn’t need to empty pith ‘n’ pips from the juicer till I was done* – ten lemons! In a standard 1-cup hand-operated thingy!

*At which point I did so without delay, as I am a good boy.

#9 The Devil Drink on 24.06.08 at 5:13 pm

And I hope you emptied the sours into yourself, FDB. Out of curiosity were they bourbon- or scotch-based sours? The North American spirit does make for a sweeter, more decadent concoction.

#10 Zoe on 24.06.08 at 7:15 pm

Well these Meyers are a bit irritatingly seedy, as it happens. I hope their thin-skinnedness can withstand the preserving jar, because that’s where half of the stash has gone. Owen Did Not Approve, he just wanted to keep using the juice.

And Megxx, I’ll ask her for it.

#11 FDB on 25.06.08 at 10:19 am

Scotch-based, my Lord and Master.

Although the sour is one of the better formats for bourbon, I agree.

Zoe – bummer… I’ve still only encountered meyers sinsemilla as it were. Some friends of mine just moved into a place in North Fitzroy with a kinda hedgerow of funny little lemon shrubs, and they’re covered in quite pithy small tasty fruit. I’m going to go preserving crazy.

#12 The Devil Drink on 25.06.08 at 12:18 pm

Don’t neglect a bit of DIY limoncello, FDB.

#13 Helen on 25.06.08 at 1:45 pm

Breastfeeding women need sweets.
Be careful of chocolate! It used to turn Boychild into a raving homicidal lunatic without fail, in breastmilk then in solids, until he was about five or so and then he got over it. That’s a relief – imagine Easter if it still had that effect on him.

#14 Zoe on 25.06.08 at 2:03 pm

FDB, do be careful if there are small people about (read to the end, it’s worth it).

And Helen – how did he like vodka?

#15 FDB on 26.06.08 at 10:40 am

Link’s broken Zoe.

#16 Zoe on 26.06.08 at 11:22 am

Thanks for that, should be good to go now.

#17 The Devil Drink on 26.06.08 at 11:51 am

Awesome.

#18 FDB on 26.06.08 at 12:01 pm

Heh.

No small children yet, so mayhap I’ll whip up a batch of limoncello this weekend. I love to drink, as my mother might say (of me).

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