When my beloved uncle died last week I was heartened to see that one lovely tradition is still quite strong. People brought food to my aunt and cousins. The day after it happened, my aunt’s daughter-in-law came over armed with bread, chicken, cheese and ham and made dozens of sandwiches for the seemingly endless stream of relatives and friends dropping in with sympathy. Then another uncle came over with two lasagnes. My cousins’ neighbours brought casseroles. Because you’ve got to keep eating, and who can be bothered cooking when something horrible happens? This is also a great thing to do for people with a new baby, by the way. When I had my first baby friends brought soups and casseroles which was the best gift they could have given me. Here are some ideas for cooking for people who need a bit of extra help:

  1. Chicken Schnitzel – If there are fussy children who need to be fed, a family will welcome pre-cooked schnitzel. They can heat it up and serve with bread and frozen vegies (or just bread!) And it works for lunch or dinner. A lovely option.
  2. Lasagne/Casserole – these favourites, brought in a disposable container, or foil tray, can be put in the freezer for those nights in the not-too-distant future when the other food runs out. Or they can be refrigerated and heated up for dinner very soon.
  3. A tray of sandwiches – this is perfect for people with visitors dropping in all the time, like a grieving family or even a family with a new baby. Also, sandwiches are a great supper option for families who don’t have much appetite.
  4. Slices/cookies – another great idea for people who have a lot of visitors descending upon them. I’ve found that a freshly baked loaf of banana bread is always been gratefully received.
  5. Cheese – A selection of cheese and crackers can be saved up for a light dinner or served to visitors. It’s a great option if you want to offer practical help but you’re not much of a cook.
  6. Soup – if you know a family struck down with flu they’ll be grateful for your soup. This is another option that can be re-heated or devoured immediately.
  7. Groceries – sometimes it’s hard to get to the shops for the basics like bread, milk, cheese or fruit. A bag or two of groceries is a lovely, thoughtful option for people going through tough times.