Soup for Friend


If you are a human being with human friends, chances are you frequently find yourself in the kitchen, scratching your head saying things like “I wish there was something I could do.” When we’re lucky, this can mean a new baby — What can I do to help you get some rest? But when we’re not so lucky, it means How can I help you feel better? What can I do to take away a little of the pain? Whatever the situation may be, I usually come around to food. This should not come as breaking news. Once, when I dropped off a tortilla pie at a friend’s house — she was a mother of three and recovering from back surgery — I remember peeking past her in the doorway and seeing a dining room table packed with foil-topped pyrex dishes. I know my delivery was still appreciated, but it got me thinking about other ways to package comfort. I came around to what you’re looking at above: Soup. Usually two kinds — one kid-friendly like the Chicken Orzo from my first book, and one wildcard, like the lentil soup from my upcoming book — marked in zip-top bags with instructions and specific serving size. That way, whoever is on the receiving end can deposit the bags in the freezer, should he or she not be able to appreciate the delivery that very day. I know it’s a small thing, but at least it’s something.


I once delivered my individually packed soups in a shoebox. I felt bad for the kids, who probably thought they were getting a new pair of Nike Free Runs.

A few soups you might want to try out: Minestrone, Tomato White Bean, Chicken Orzo (page 290 in Dinner: A Love Story).

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22 Comments

Awads

Great idea! I would add a loaf of good crusty bread, too. And maybe a bag of salad, and some brownies. I have been meaning to make a meal for a good friend with a seriously ill child. This is just the encouragement i need! thanks.

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Jessica

I once had a friend sheepishly admit that she was SO grateful that I had shown up with something other than lasagna (of any sort). I’ve always tried to keep that in mind but I’ve never considered taking soup until now.

I also like bringing frozen cookie dough. People are often overwhelmed by all the sweets, so this let’s them enjoy them at their own pace (and who doesn’t like warm cookies!).

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Liquiz

A friend brought be fruit salad after I had my first baby, and it was very appreciated….so many sweets and buying and prepping fruit for salad is definitely outside the “bare essentials” we were focused on at the time. So fruit salad is now my go-to :)

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Nicole @ thejameskitchen

I think giving soup is one of the most comforting things – and rather easy for the receiver to prepare. Chicken soup when you have the flu, a hearty minestrone when all you need is a comforting vegetable fix and something creamy to soothe the soul. Red or yellow lentils are a great with curry flavours, I think I’ll tweak my red lentil-coconut-carrot soup to get some of this soothing warmth tonight.
Nicole

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Charlie Cook

Isn’t it funny that trying to be helpful can sometimes come off as burdensome? While I’m sure it is helpful to new parents or someone recovering from surgery/sickness, sometimes they may be overloaded with too much food. I’ve heard of planned meal-trains but I’ve yet to find new parents that tell me what day is best to bring them food! If I knew I could bring them fresh veggies or fish or something healthier… It is a great idea to provide soup, since it is often healthier than the typical casserole. Thanks for sharing! – Charlie, http://www.lemonbutterlove.com

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Meghan

I love your chicken orzo soup! I usually have multiple bags of it in the freezer – so perfect for those sick, can barely get out of bed days!

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CJ

When I was in chemotherapy with 3 children under 4 in the house, my friends and neighbors brought over food 3 days a week…for 4 months! I was (and am) truly grateful for the support and love from the community. However, I was also grateful when someone dropped of something besides a pasta or chicken dish.

When I pay it forward to others, I always look for something that is just outside of the ordinary. Soup that can be frozen for later is a terrific idea. I am going to add it to my rotation! Another easy to freeze meal is chili. (I just dropped off a freezer bag of DALS 2nd place loser chili last night!)

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a

Several years ago, a friend was expecting her much-younger third child – unexpectedly and with some ambivalence (for reasons too complicated to be explained here – and rest-assured he became the apple of the whole family’s eye upon arrival). I hosted a Fill-the-Freezer Shower for her and have eto say it was the most-appreciated thing I’ve ever done. Ever. We asked everyone to bring something frozen or ready-to-be-frozen for her freezer. Most brought casseroles, but there were also breakfast muffins, individual chicken pot pies, and yes, soup! No reason you could not do this for a first child, but definitely for a younger sibling it was a great fit. And I am now using some of those recipes (I have no shame about asking for them) to fill my mother-in-law’s freezer with small portions now that she is dining solo many nights.

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Donna

I bring soup to everyone. I often freeze it in bags like you suggest, or in mason jars with plastic lids. (leave room for freezing expansion). It’s a true comfort food and perfect for hectic days. Great post…could not agree more!

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Claire E Miller

I did this once for my boyfriend! It was our first Valentines Day, and I would’ve felt silly giving him flowers. We’ll celebrate our 4th year together this December. Soup is great for everything. Even love!

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Jan @ Family Bites

I always drop off a bag of frozen cookie dough balls. They can be baked when needed – or wanted – and are usually different than the usual casserole. The soup is brilliant!

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Sharon | Cheesy Pennies

Soup truly is the ultimate comfort food, and I love this idea of sending an assortment that can be pulled out on a rainy day…whatever happens to actually be raining on you that day. So perfect.

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Andrea

The individual serving bags is a wonderful idea. I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me sooner, but I’ll be using that for “dinner drops” from now on.

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Mahée Ferlini

Oh yeah! This is a great idea. Soup is definitely a comfort food and fit for any occasion. Soup also gets better a day or two after it is originally made. For all of these reasons, I know I would enjoy a shoe box full of ready to prepare soups. Thank you for sharing!

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