Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Making a simple meal and presenting it to another person or family is one of the biggest day brighteners for anyone to receive. There are many situations where you can help alleviate someone else’s stress.
- Someone who just had a baby
- A family where dad is working long hours and mom is home with children by herself much of the time
- An elderly friend
- Family going through a sickness
- A single mom, working trying to make ends meet
As you go through life interacting with others, if you hear of someone going through a struggle, be attentive, seeking the Lord, and asking Him what it is you can do for that person. Sometimes, it may be something like making a meal or helping with the children for a few hours while mom gets a break.
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Even if you don’t have the finances to help make an extravagant meal, it doesn’t cost much to make a simple casserole dish or to make an extra loaf of bread for someone. Think in terms of basic foods. Things that people probably don’t get around to making because they don’t have the time to. Especially if that family is going through a loss and is not at home, they probably are eating out at fast food restaurants. They would probably appreciate something homemade, as most everyone does.
Some tips for making a comfort meal:
- easy to transport
- easy to eat
- hold well
- freeze well
By hold well, I mean they can sit a day or two in the refrigerator without getting soggy, drying out, or turning into something nasty. They should require little to no assembly, shouldn’t be overly complicated to eat (think, one-handed breastfeeding mama), and at the very least, need to survive the trip over.
Some planning needs to go into your “comfort meal.” You need to think about the following things when choosing which meal you want to make:
- avoid common or serious allergens (never peanuts, for example)
- foods people have strong opinions about (such as olives, fish)
- pack it in containers that don’t need to be returned, and be sure to note “I don’t need them back”
- make large servings of at least one thing that freezes well, in case they already have more than enough and want to save something for later
- include a detailed menu that lists ingredients (again, a nod to dietary issues) and explains how to reheat and how to store extras, if necessary. I like to write right on the tinfoil with permanent marker.
- include enough that would satisfy a somewhat fussy child so the family hopefully won’t need to prepare something else for little ones
- focus on fresh, healthy food with a modest sweet for dessert.
- Include paper products to eat with making the entire meal a huge blessing
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Start thinking about a comfort meal that you can make for someone. Some examples include:
- lasagna, salad with dressing packet, loaf of bread, pan of brownies
- taco or nacho meal–provide all that they would need for this in individual containers, homemade cookies
- macaroni and cheese, salad with dressing, and fresh fruit for dessert
- homemade garlic chicken noodle soup, fresh bread, muffins—for a sick family
These are just examples of things we have done or received in the past. Pay attention to meals that are easy to make in your family, or ones that you know the family you are making it for enjoys. Keep it simple, not overly complicated. It isn’t a blessing, if it is stressful for you to get it done and to them.
Repetition is good. If you can make one meal really well, stick to it. Use this as your goto meal when preparing it for someone else. If all else fails and you don’t feel like you can make a “satisfactory meal,” then buy some simple groceries. Buy things like:
- fresh fruit
- fresh already cut veggies
- prepackage salads
- loaf of bakery bread or pita bread
- cheese cubes
- lunchmeat or canned chicken
- hummus and crackers
- Rotisserie chicken
Think of things that the person cannot get to the store and purchase—fresh, perishable things.
It is about bearing one another’s burdens and helping someone out. It can be simple or extravagant. It is about the intent and the heart. Be a blessing to someone.