Feeding Souls: My Challenge for You This Week

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Lentil Quinoa Salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

I was chatting with one of my girlfriends on the phone a few days ago. She’s expecting her first baby in a few months and is balancing that with a full-time career — two big tasks that I know from experience can exhaust even the most-energetic person. I had a sense of wanting to jump through the telephone line (and across the 2,500 miles that separate us) to bring her dinner. Yes, it would take a task off her plate, but more than that, preparing food for someone sends a message of love. Food nourishes both body and soul, which is why a shared meal comforts when we grieve, celebrates when we are joyful and is the catalyst for getting acquainted (think how many marriages began with a dinner date). Food connects us.

Why not connect with someone this week?

We’ve all heard the timesaving advice to “cook once, eat twice” before, which refers to making double dinner and freezing half for a future meal. But what if this week you cooked once, ate once and gave the other half to someone whose day could use a little lift? Maybe you happen to know of a new mom who would rather get an extra hour of sleep than cook, or perhaps you read about a neighbor who just lost a loved one and would appreciate the thoughtfulness. But more likely, you don’t have someone top-of-mind who you know needs a meal. Think a little harder. Because almost everyone is going through something, and everyone loves to feel connected, even if it’s just on a stressful day when the kids are out of control, or traffic was extra-awful or the electricity bill was through the roof.

There’s no need to wait for a big event or an evening when you are making a dinner fancy enough to share. Just make double of whatever is on your family’s menu sometime this week and deliver it to someone. Pick the family of the new kid in your child’s class. Or the neighbor you saw raking leaves all afternoon, so you know he must be a little tired. How about the empty nesters who don’t get to hear the daily sounds of a bustling household anymore? And the cooking is easier than you think. It can be a traditional food-sharing dish like lasagna, or a cold quinoa salad (pictured above) that can last days in the fridge. Or load up baking trays with veggies, potatoes and chicken, and roast up an easy meal to share.

Food Divided Into Containers

I’ll bet they say something like “This is exactly what I needed today!” How do I know this? Because that’s precisely what the family said when I was inspired to do this last week (see my photo below). We all want to know we matter to someone. Consider making someone feel special on an ordinary day.

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