Comfort. Food.

When my grandfather died earlier this year, so many people loved on our family by showing up with food. By the time my little family and I got back to Mississippi the day after he passed, neighbors and friends and church family had stopped by my grandmother’s and my parents’ homes to bring trays of meat and cheese, homemade soup and biscuits, jams and jellies, chocolate pie, homegrown honey…Sometimes showing up to serve is best done with food.

So when I find myself on a list of people asked to help a family with a newborn or facing a medical issue or dealing with a loss by providing a meal, far more often than not, I sign up. {You don’t always have to “sign up,” though. Sometimes just dropping by with a pan of brownies lets a family who’s lost a loved one know you care.}

Over the years, I varied what I cooked for people in these situations. And I still do if there are particular food sensitivities or issues to consider. But for the past few years, I’ve settled on a go-to meal for these serving opportunities:  Spaghetti pie.

I first discovered this recipe when I moved from Starkville, Mississippi, to Orlando, to serve with Cru at the offices of our world headquarters. I took part in a one-year program but decided early in the year to stay after my allotted year had finished. At the end of our year, a few women in the group decided to put together a cookbook, asking all of us in the year-long program to contribute. Before this cookbook was compiled, I’d never even heard of spaghetti pie.

Now, almost 15 years later, I still use this cookbook and this particular recipe. I think the cookbook is missing its cover, and one page is burned where I accidentally set it on a hot eye on the stove. It has splatters and smears, but that wear and tear just shows how great this cookbook really is. Kind of like the worn and shabby toys in The Velveteen Rabbit, the ones who become real. Incidentally, I adore the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. It reminds me so much of God’s redemptive and transforming work in my life.

jars of colored water
I had no food picture to share, so this is supposed to represent “transformation”–yellow + blue = green.

I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com and think it’s the same one I use (or almost identical). I typically leave out the peppers and onions; I figure people recovering from surgery and/or nursing a newborn may prefer to avoid those particular vegetables. I usually make 2 batches at a time:  one for the receiving family, one for my own little tribe. The boys love it. Spaghetti pie, garlic bread (store bought), salad, dessert (usually cookies, usually store bought), and that’s what we bring. Comfort food.

But if you can’t make a meal or don’t have time to fix a dish from scratch, a pizza will do nicely. When my youngest niece was born last September, we sent them (my brother, sister-in-law, daughters) a Papa John’s pizza and cinnamon pull-apart bread. They live in another state, so making and delivering a meal wasn’t really feasible. They were grateful, and so were we. We got the opportunity to serve family even hundreds of miles away.

Never underestimate the value of showing up with food. 

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