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Coming from friends and family, food warms the soul. By Judi Gallagher      When I was pregnant with our son, I made it a point to make dinners for other friends who were expecting. I had just sold my first restaurant and had plenty of time to make stuffed veal roast and hazelnut cheesecakes. When […]

January 12, 2010


Coming from friends and family, food warms the soul.

By Judi Gallagher
 
   When I was pregnant with our son, I made it a point to make dinners for other friends who were expecting. I had just sold my first restaurant and had plenty of time to make stuffed veal roast and hazelnut cheesecakes. When it was my turn to have a baby, I remember a few friends bringing casseroles— very wary of making a chef dinner. Truth be told, they could have brought PB&Js and I would have been ecstatic. I was sleep-deprived and sore, and cooking after sterilizing endless bottles was the last thing on my mind.
 
Recently I underwent major disc surgery in my neck. I planned ahead, even scheduling things between Thanksgiving and Christmas, knowing I had plenty of leftover turkey to thaw. Of course, I was a little clueless that it would be over three weeks before I could make myself a turkey sandwich. I did not need any of my own cooking, however; a team of friends came to the rescue.
 

 The first weekend, a dear friend arrived with her electric fry pan, bacon, eggs and English muffins. Although I was on a liquid-only diet, the meal was prepared for my husband—the ultimate grand caregiver—and, boy, did that inspire him. Next came a personal delivery from a restaurant friend of butter- poached lobster and racks of lamb—again for the caregiver. (Great move; it kept him inspired for the household chores and endless loading and unloading of the dishwasher.) There were messages to look by the front door when I awoke from a nap, and there sat containers of matzo ball soup, pasta, tuna sandwiches (my favorite on rye with lettuce and tomato), chocolate chip cookies, pies, cupcakes, casseroles, ginger lobster—yes, Vietnamese ginger lobster—soups galore, Tuscan chicken cakes that I still dream of and homemade chocolates. One chef came over with all of the components of my favorite spinach salad, enough for three full meals. A dear friend made grilled pork tenderloin with all the sides, came over and served us and insisted on doing the cleanup.

 Me with the best caregiver and grilled cheese maker I know.

Family from far away sent New England clam chowder, steaks and muffins to ease the stress of hubby having to run to the grocery store after work.

Rack of lamb, home delivered.

Now, as I begin to slowly grocery shop, cook and get back to testing recipes, I am beyond grateful to everyone who helped get us through with such wonderful nourishment. I encourage everyone to use the great foods around us to share with friends that are under the weather. You don’t have to make something homemade—the calls from people asking me what was my favorite dish from Pho Cali or what topping I liked on a Greek salad from El Greco were as wonderful as anything and just what I had been craving.

 Send a chef as a "get well soon"–it worked for me.

As for my husband, who cooked a perfect medium rare prime rib on Christmas night while I directed from a pile of ice packs—you so earned a lifetime of raspberry bars and steak Diane. Thank you all for keeping my soul warm with such wonderful food and thoughtfulness.

 








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