Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What To Say, What To Do

Barbara: For today’s short post, and in honour of the current situation, I thought it would be appropriate to call back an earlier post that we did about cooking for people in times of trouble or need. We asked all of you to contribute your favourite recipes for offering and freezing, food that can sustain when no one feels like cooking, food that also tastes delicious.

It’s been my intention since we posted to catalogue all those recipes, giving each of you who contributed due credit (first names only if you prefer), and posting it to a stand-alone page in our side-bar. It could live there for any of us who might find ourselves suddenly on the “giving” end of life. If you posted a recipe but have any objection to being included by name, please let me know at radeckirites(at)gmail(dot)com (no worries!). In the meantime, please link here if you want to read the original article.

I also want to take this chance to give a shout-out to all of you who “never know what to say” in bad times and yet still venture a kind and loving word or two. I want to assure you that to a person in crisis every kind word is so very valued, appreciated, and needed. They may never be able to acknowledge it, they may not remember to, they may not have the words yet themselves, but in our experience (and, sadly, we’ve had a lot), literally every word of support and compassion makes its way into our hearts and helps with the heeling. This is definitely a “just do it” moment.

Here’s another fast and easy recipe I love. This soup is delicious and comforting, freezes well, and is super-easy to make. You can easily double or triple it.

Yummy lentil soup

4 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
2 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon green or red curry paste
1 tbsp peanut oil (or any oil)
1 cup cooked green lentils (ie, canned)
6 lime leaves (found in Asian food stores), chopped thinly if fresh (you can freeze the extra leaves after), or whole if dried (then just pluck them out like bay leaves when done cooking)

Heat the oil, then add and heat the curry. Add stock, coconut milk, lentils and lime leaves. Gently heat until it comes to a light boil—10-30 minutes.

The lime leaves give a really lovely lemony flavour, but if you can’t find them, it’s fine without. You can also add fresh peas or snow peas or baby corn. Mmmm.

33 comments:

  1. Lovely post today, Barbara.

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  2. Food for the soul. Excellent. Lovely post.

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  3. Yay, comfort food! ((hugs))

    Just made this a few nights ago...it was a hit at my place. Can't wait to make it again! Enjoy!

    http://shine.yahoo.com/food/recipes/spaghetti-pie-539396.html

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    1. I will add this, thanks, Holly!!

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  4. Lovely post, I didn't read the original but I'm looking forward to going through the recipes now. I make meals most days for my little family, and my mum and dad, and at the moment for my sister's family too because she's in hospital having back surgery. So I'm ALWAYS looking for new recipes for easy comforting food. Usually I find that whatever is happening, if I add in a batch of my raspberry fudge brownies it will cheer up any situation a little bit :)

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    1. Mmm, raspberry fudge brownies. Yeah, that would be a fave! So sorry that you've had so much experience with this, Samara. xo

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  5. I am definately one of those who has no idea what to say. I also feel very awkward if someone is trying to console me (as there is no need). This is why I usually like to do the baking or cooking. Sometimes we do it together and sometimes I do the baking by myself. This gives time to the other part to do the talking while I listen. Very sneaky plan, I do have to admit. :)

    What I have been doing for my friend who has been down (mildly put) are these: http://www.food.com/recipe/karelian-pasties-karjalan-piirakat-136480
    I don't put eggs to the porridge or oil to the dough, but if you are a first timer this seems to be best one to follow. I would have linked a post where are pics of the thingys put at the moment blogger is not showing any pics (for me at least).

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    1. I couldn't see a pic either -- was very curious! I think your sneaky plan is adorable (and as Dawn says here later), a silent but strong hug can also do wonders.

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    2. Hih, I bet they would get more kicks out of seeing me trying to give a hug. :))

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    3. I thought you might say that ;)

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  6. Ahh yes comfort foods, I read this and went immediately to the freezer and pulled out the last container of my ham and split-pea soup for later today. It tastes exactly like my Grandmamere's recipe and there is no better comfort food to me than something that tastes like she made it.

    I also wanted to say to Deb that I read yesterday's post and was very touched by it but I was also away from my computer and didn't get a chance to comment.

    I have been thinking about how important it is to tell those we love that we do love them recently as well. The friend me and my husband just lost had moved to Moncton about two years ago and in mid-April he told us he had 6 months to a year left. We put off going to see him until summer so we could take the girls with us. As it turns out he only had weeks left not months and so we lost the opportunity to tell him just how special he was in our lives. This as well as reading yesterdays post has made me realize how important it is to take every opportunity we get to tell every one of those we love that we do because death is always sudden even when it's supposedly expected.

    So in light of that, thank you Deb and Barb for brightening each and every one of my days, or at least my weekdays! Love you both.

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    1. your last sentence....so true for me too......AMEN TO THAT !!!!!!

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    2. Aw, thanks you guys. And back at you!!! I am so sorry to read your story of the near-miss, Erin. I hope you have made your peace with it. I am sure, as we've said to Deb here, that given the nature of your character, your friend was certain to have known how much you cared. Sending love!

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  7. Yummmy......Yeah I'm gonna come to your place A LOT when I come to Toronto! XD

    I gotta start cooking now.....since I'm moving in a year. And I don't know squat about cooking, my mom has recently started giving me that "Cruella De Vil" look and saying "now you HAVE to learn how to cook...." "muuuhhuuuuhaahaaahahaaa"... Yeah I added the muhuhaahaa. and now my chai latte trick stop working on her too...hmmm...
    Oh and BTW you need any Indian Recipes lemme know.....and I have regional recipes too....very distinctive from the Indian food you might know of. Yeah I LOVE FOOD...I JUST DONT LIKE TO COOK IT!

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    1. Oh I would ALWAYS take Indian recipes. A true and sure favourite!

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  8. My husband has been in the ER twice, banking 6 nights in the hospital in the last two weeks, and I can tell you--this help means SO MUCH. Food is nice--particularly things that can be heated one portion at a time, as there is too much chaos to plan on a sit-down meal. (Soup is FABULOUS). Other things that have been super helpful, though, are neighbor mowing lawns, volunteering to take kids... because all of the basic crap HAS to get done. Take one big project, one time, and the person in need will be SO GRATEFUL! I've been really overwhelmed how our neighbors have pitched in. Also helpful is allowing a time out--offering a half hour of distraction. Not everybody can compartmentalize well, but as a person who CAN, sitting down for a glass of wine with someone when the sole topic is NOT how hard everything is... very needed break.

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    1. Aw Hart I hope his health gets sorted out quickly and without too much trouble! *Hugs*

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    2. Hart, I am so so sorry to hear what you've been going through!! Sending lots of hugs and love. So glad to read that your support system has been working!

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    3. (and I love and relate to the idea of the "breather")

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  9. Truly a difficult time but wonderful to see the love that has been sent out to the O'Sullivan family and all Paul's friends on such a loss.

    I just wanted to add a comment about not knowing what to do or say in difficult times. As the youngest child of a very active Church lady I was likely the youngest frequent flyer at neighbourhood funeral parlors. Being young, it didn't faze me, but it did create a unique part of my character (as well as save oodles on babysitters for my mom). From a young age, I was exposed to death and the processes that went with it. My faith explained that death, though sad, led to a better place for individuals. I am grateful that when I lost that first close person, my grandmother, I didn't suffer any trauma about funeral parlors or seeing a dead body for the first time. It allowed me to be at ease with my grief. As I got older, when I heard that someone lost a parent, I went and paid my respects, whether or not I had seen them in years. Many thought me weird because they felt uncomfortable to do so. For me it was a way to say - I understand you are in pain and you're not alone. I first exposed my children to death with an aunt that they didn't know well, which I feel made it easier for them to deal with closer relatives passing. How important this reaching out didn't really hit home until 9 years ago when my father passed. I was deeply touched by all who came to pay their respects, even those who could not find words, but just gave a hug. Each gesture is cherished. So, to make a long story finally hit a point; Just Do It is great advice. Don't let your fears stand in the way of being yet another bright spot to someone who is suffering a loss. It definitely helps them to heal.

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    1. Excellent advice, Therese, from the inside! Thanks for the solid, straight-up and compassionate take.

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    2. Beautifully worded, Therese.

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  10. a suggestion for those of (us) who have trouble finding the words to express our deep empathy during tough times: ask questions--specifically: "what can I do to be most helpful right now? would you like someone to listen or someone to actively help, and if it's active help you need, what task can I take on for you?" also, never forget the power of the written word--cards, letters, poems, e-mails, texts.....knowing that you're being thought of during a tough time is amazing.

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    1. Oh, yes, so so so true, Lori. The written can and does make all the difference too. And may even be easier for some. I know your words have soothed me already more times than I can count.

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    2. thats exactly what I do...! Gosh you are Awesome Lori :)

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  11. One of the toughest things about this particular situation is not being able to offer hugs in person. Words can be insufficient to let the person in mourning how MUCH you care, how MUCH you love them. If actions speak louder than words, along with the food, I think the hug is one of THE most comforting things in the world. It can convey so much...support, love, the aforementioned comfort.

    Believe me, I'm a BIG believer in words. I find it so easy to come up with something to say about almost anything. I think, though, that trying to find the "right" words is more about us than about the person we are trying to comfort. By being there, in any form, your friend knows you care. We're afraid it's not being passed on sufficiently. There are no RIGHT words or WRONG words, if what is said is being said sincerely.

    (I don't believe in the higher powers most religions teach about, but if someone tells me that my loved one is in a better place, is in God's hand, has met whatever fate they believe in, I know they mean it in the best possible way.)

    I can only hope that {{{{HUGS}}}} lets the person I care about understand how MUCH I care.

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    1. HUGS!!! Yes, lovely. Mmmmm. Love a good hug. And I do think it can replace a well-placed word or two.

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  12. No recipes immediately come to mind but I'll definitely have a rummage through my books after uni today. Hopefully I'll find something!

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    1. Thanks, doll. And I do think you're in my other list, aren't you???

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    2. I sent you yet another recipe that I can't actually guarantee is valuable :P So yeah, just letting you know in case it goes into your junk folder.

      Am I? What list? (I feel like I'm having a really ditsy moment and which list you're talking about will occur to me in a 'face-palm' moment =) )

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    3. No, that's my fault, Aimee. Why did I say "list"? What I meant was "post". I haven't gone back since you wrote to check the original post about the cooking, but I really feel like you contributed something there too, no??? Anyway, I got and appreciate this recipe, so thank you!

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  13. So despite being a day late ( it is past midnight here ) I did have a recipe I wanted to pass along and share. I am not sure this recipe is best for a person to make especially if they have other things they are busy with, like family. But I thought I would share this recipe because 1) it is YUMMY and 2) It works well if you make it up and then give it to the person who may need some cheering up : )
    Ok It is a recipe for french toast...sort of. It tastes like french toast but isn't exactly the shape of a slice of bread : )And you make it the day before and then keep it in the fridge until breakfast the next morning.

    Usually we get 6 - 8 servings out of 1 pan

    you will need:

    1/2 cup Brown Sugar
    3/4 cup of butter and (another 1/4 cup in the morning)
    1/4 cup + 2 Tsp. of light corn syrup
    1 loaf of French-style Baguette bread (hard and not to big around...think the width of your wrist)
    4 large eggs
    2 1/2 cups of milk (whole or 2% milk work best)
    1 Tsp. vanilla extract
    1/4 Tsp. Salt
    3 Tbs. Sugar
    1 Tsp. cinnamon

    Combine the brown sugar, 3/4 cup of butter, and 1/4 cup + 2 Tsp. of light corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Pour that mix into a greased 13 X 9 pan. (for the greased pan I just use PAM spray but butter works too) Then let that set in the bottom of the 13 X 9 for at least 15 minutes. Now you can cut your bread into slices about an inch and a half thick. ( since most people don't use inches and I dont know the conversions off the top of my head just making the slices about as thick as the knife you use to cut the bread with usually gets you close. ) disgard..or in my case eat... the two ends of the bread. Fill the 13 X 9 pan by setting the bread on top of the caramel color mix. No need to push the bread down just let it 'float'. Wisk eggs, milk, vanilla, salt together. Pour over the bread.

    Note: Now would be delivery time if giving to a friend. If delivering be sure to put the sugar and cinnamon in a baggie for they will need it in the morning.

    Refrigerate the whole pan until morning.

    In the morning sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the bread. Melt a 1/4 cup of butter and pour it over the bread. Bake at 350 for 40 - 45 minutes.

    ENJOY

    Add fresh fruit, powdered sugar, syrup, or cool whip as desired. ( I usually don't use any of those but others have said they have experimented and liked their versions too )

    Like I said kinda involved for the person who may be busy elsewhere but pretty easy if they are just refrigerating and throwing in the over in the morning. : )
    Also very yummy to just make on a weekend for a yummy breakfast for the whole family the next morning.

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    1. Oh my god this sounds AMAZING. I'm sure this would give lovely comfort on many an occasion!

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