Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cooking for Sick or Grieving People

Dear Lauren,

It's a fact of life. We're going to lose people we love. And we're going to have friends and family who suffer illness. We're all in the same boat. So we take care of each other. And one way we do that is to make meals for people we love, friends, and neighbors.

Last weekend, that's what Dad and I did.

Rolling out dough for sweet potato biscuits.
Biscuits are comfort food. I love these biscuits. I got this recipe from a new cookbook that I'm in love with! 

Biscuits can be made and frozen just like this right on the pan for about 2 hours and then placed in a ziploc for future use. You only have to add a couple minutes to the baking time. It's so convenient. So I decided to bake a few for our neighbors and bag the rest so they can pop one out of the freezer any time they want.

This recipe for French Bistro Green Beans also came from the Cowgirl Chef cookbook.

And so did these Green Chile-Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes. Everyone needs this cookbook. The author is Ellise Pearce. She went to college with my friend, Willie Harrell. And Willie was kind enough to send me a copy of this book the second it was released. I'm so grateful she did! Ellise Pearce and I are cooking soulmates. Except for her disdain for white pepper. But we don't talk about that.

Back to the subject at hand. I did the same thing with the Neiman Marcus Cookies that I did with the biscuits. I baked a few and gave them the rest frozen so they could eat cookies warm out of the oven when they feel like it.

Did you notice my Silpat in the corner of that last photo? Here it is. I hang it there to get it to dry completely before I put it away. The doors on the cabinets hold in place just like a clothes line!

Here's some Luby's Macaroni and Cheese. Pure comfort food.

This Easy Roast Chicken turns out perfectly every time. Cowgirl Chef. My hero.

I thought it might help to add a little something to make our neighbors smile. Toilet Paper Origami usually works.

Just ziploc them and they will stay folded just fine.

I asked my friends what kind of food they make for people who are grieving or ill. Everyone agreed that comfort food is the gold standard. Things like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, roast beef and mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, chicken pot pie, soups and even chopped brisket and sandwich buns. Inquire about food allergies and likes and dislikes. Try to take the food in disposable containers. If you live close-by, you can bring all the food over in a big tub and ask that they just put the dirty dishes on the front porch, no rinsing necessary. We did this because we had no disposable plates on hand and we asked our neighbors to send us a text when they were ready for us to pick up the dishes. It worked out just fine!

I have a really hard time coming up with a menu for a complete dinner. For situations like this one, it really does help if you keep a list of dinners you know how to make well and that appeal to a wide variety of people. Is that what I did? NO! haha! The green beans were a dish I'd never made before. I was lucky they turned out well! Just do as I say, not as I do!



  1. Cooking for friends, especially when they're grieving, is something that I grew up with, too...isn't that what we all do in the South? Comfort food is so-called because it does just that...and I'm so glad that you found comfort in my recipes, too. So glad we "met" via Willie (ours)...soulmates, indeed. I'd already forgotten about the white pepper. ;) xx

  2. Pepper forgotten! Love you, Ellise!