Right now, I can count on both hands the number of girlfriends I have that are pregnant and that I’ll be taking a meal to once their sweet baby arrives. Luckily for me, there are now websites like Meal Baby (www.MealBaby.com) and Meal Train (www.MealTrain.com) that make the process of delivering food to a family a much better experience for everyone involved! In case you’re not familiar, both are online meal calendars that answer important questions like: What foods does the family prefer (and, are there any food allergies)? When is the family available to receive meals? What dishes have already been delivered to them?
Just recently, I was on Meal Train’s website and came across the list below of the top dos and don’ts of meal deliveries (who knew there was proper etiquette for this?). I thought these were fantastic tips and a great refresher for all of us with an upcoming meal delivery on our to-do list:
- When dropping off a meal, plan not to stay more than 10-15 minutes. This will obviously depend on your existing relationship, but it is safer to expect that the meal recipient is not ready to entertain yet.
- Arrive at the requested time
- Make enough for leftovers. Freezable meals are also nice.
- Don’t forget the extras like drinks, condiments, salad dressing, and dessert!
- If there are children in the household, consider including a special toy or treat for them to help with what may be a transitional time.
- If you plan to have something delivered (e.g. pizza), make sure to pay for a tip in advance and specify the delivery time.
- If possible, deliver your meal in a recyclable or reusable container.
- Be sure to label any items that you would like returned to you. Include a large paper bag that the recipient can use to store your items until you can coordinate a pick-up date in the future with the recipient.
- Include clear preparation instructions, i.e. “Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.”
- Consider including a note or a card to the recipient wishing them well.
- Have a map to the recipient’s house and a phone number in the event that something comes up on the day of delivery.
Number four on the list is super important because it’s always so easy to forget the extras (salad dressing, condiments, drinks, etc.)! Whenever I deliver a meal, I always like to take a big green salad with a jar of homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette (if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll even tie the jar with a blue or pink ribbon!). It’s your traditional Balsamic Vinaigrette with the addition of honey, Dijon mustard, shallots, and garlic – slightly sweet, yet tangy, this dressing is absolutely fabulous on a green salad, Caprese salad, or, when used as a bread dipper! Below is the quick and easy recipe, I’m certain that you’re going to love it just as much as I do – enjoy!
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 small shallots, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
Whisk together the first 7 ingredients (vinegar through pepper) in a large bowl until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil, blending well.
Vinaigrette can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Franklin Biggs, the Homewood Gourmet