A friend of mine recently experienced a tragedy. In talking with her about it, she surprised me by saying, “I forgot how much food we Christians give each other when something like this happens.” It was such a beautifully perfect statement and one that she was uniquely qualified to make. In the last week she had been given roughly 37 different casseroles of hope. What’s that?
A casserole of hope is a food dish that a Christian gives you after a tragedy. It usually involves pasta and cheese in some format, but sometimes, if they really love you, they’ll make something in a crock pot. But there’s the challenge, it’s hard to know what to give someone. Do you make something big and hearty or light and fruity? Is it one meal or a series of meals? Is a dessert too frivolous? Does a serious situation require a serious meal, like some sort of melodramatic stew? That’s why I’ve come out with an easy list of what type of dishes certain tragedies require. Print it out and put it on your fridge. It will serve you well in a time of need and casserole.
Tragedies and the food they require:
1. Car wreck
This depends of course on the severity of the crash, but the key here is to give them food that is not portable. Chances are the crash might have occurred from trying to eat a 27 layer burrito while driving. Don’t tempt them with any food that is in a tube form or easy to eat in the car. I recommend you give them soup with a packet of forks. It’s really hard to eat soup with a fork in a moving car.
Nothing baked. Nothing spicy. Nothing seared. Nothing grilled. The important thing is to not giving them any food that will remind them of the fire. The last thing you want to give them is your famous “four alarm chicken wings.” Give them food carved of ice. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure you can get it at Whole Foods or another upscale grocery store.
3. Hole in bedroom ceiling made while chasing a squirrel.
This is actually a good situation for beef jerky. For starters, the person who’s ceiling was wrecked by a friend possibly named Jeff that was texting a girl instead of staying focused on not wrecking the ceiling can pretend the jerky is the squirrel. Also, jerky is easy to clean up in case this hypothetical person named Jon Acuff is required to sleep on the couch because he messed up his bedroom which his wife completely didn’t see the humor in. And lastly, the squirrel is still loose and he’ll need a meal he can eat on the run or on the rafters of his attic as it were.
4. Loss of employment
I don’t know what to get someone but I do know what not to get someone, Easy Mac. This is small packets of mac and cheese you can microwave. When a company I worked for went out of business I took what I called “the summer of Jon.” Or as my in-laws called it, “That guy got unemployed mere weeks after marrying our daughter and taking her from Georgia to Boston.” I like my name better. My wife’s one boundary was that I had to get up when she got up for work. That meant that at 6:30 every morning I was showered and dressed with nowhere to go. I decided to kill time by eating Easy Mac for breakfast and lunch and snacks. I gained like 10 pounds. Give an unemployed person a salad.
5. Loss of pet
Don’t worry too much about nutrition when someone is going through a difficult time. If the family dog ran away or the house caught on fire the last thing people are concerned about is exercising their “core” and getting enough lycopene. Yeah, that’s right, I said lycopene. If the pet they lost was an exotic one like a tiger or a crocodile, don’t make this family any food. Seriously, you don’t want to be part of any sort of “Lost my Cobra” search committee. On a side note, I love those stories where someone gets bit by their pet lion and says, “We raised that lion like a member of the family. It’s just so weird that it bit us.” No, no it’s not. It’s a lion. It’s weird that it used to lay on your living room rug and watch “Extreme Home Makeover” with you.
Hopefully, the next time you or someone you know faces a tragedy, you’ll remember these helpful rules.
(Thanks to Robyn for sharing a funny, honest idea during the midst of a difficult time.)