I still remember the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole Mary Moretz brought to our home after Mom died. It was so comforting and after she shared the recipe, it became a staple in our household when the kids were young. Broccoli, chicken, cheese, sour cream, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Lots of fat and salt and deliciousness.
I’ve written about the culture shifts involving sanctified casseroles before, but COVID has changed things even further. Not only do we Emergency Meal Providers need to worry about food preferences, allergies, and special diets, but now there’s the concern that we could be spreading COVID between each other’s kitchens.
So now we send Food Delivery Gift Cards – at least if we live in urban/suburban parts of the world.
It’s kind of perfect in that a family can order from hundreds of restaurants exactly what they feel like eating when they feel like eating it, and there are no dishes to return. Voila. The purpose of providing a meal has been achieved: the family didn’t have to cook while welcoming a new baby/grieving a loss/recovering from surgery/waiting for a family member to be discharged from the hospital.
What we miss in not having a homecooked meal could be important. I’m not sure yet.
It’s indeed so meaningful to know that someone made soup or a chicken and broccoli casserole from scratch. But if the purpose is to show love and concern, a Door Dash card can bring the same kind of relief. If we want to offer that personal touch, we can deliver the gift cards in person to say a quick “hi” and “how are things?”
The world is changing and this includes the neighborly practice of taking casseroles to people in need. There are things to lament about such cultural shifts and there are things to applaud. Both are true.