The Magic Esky

In the first few months after my husband died, a meal roster was organised so that friends and family could drop off meals to us 4 nights a week. I left an esky by our front gate so that people could drop off a meal at any time during the day and also because I was not up to conversation. It was easier to receive the gift of a meal in the esky without making small talk at the front door with the enormity of our grief and loss hanging over a conversation as the children hung around clinging to my legs.

The meals were a way for people to reach out and show us that they loved and cared for us. A way to provide help from a distance. Some nights I wanted to try and cook but having 4 nights of fresh meals provided each week was amazing. The meals nourished me, my kids and my mother or brother who often stopped in to help me with the “evening shift”.

rocketsMy children who were 4 and a half and 3 years of age came to think of the esky as a magic esky! They felt the love and show of support. It was always exciting to see what was inside. Sometimes people were really creative and thought of extra things to add in with the meal that they had nominated they would provide. Some people made home made play dough for my kids to play with or included some kids craft activity and sticker books. Others included homemade biscuits, cookie dough ready to bake and  fruit/marshmallow kebabs shaped like rockets for dessert. These little added extras made us really smile.

If you are thinking of setting up a meal roster one day for friends in need I have a few tips and tricks!

  1. This website is great for organising everyone. Take them a meal . It has a customized online sign up sheet that makes it easy for friends and family to take meals to those in need. Ask the people who you are delivering food to what their favourite meals are. At the time I could only think of one dish which was spinach and feta pie.
  2. If in Australia and cooking is not your thing you can provide a gift voucher to a food delivery service or pick meals to be delivered from these two great providers in Australia. Both provide kids meals and adults meals.  Dinner Ladies and Gourmet Dinner Services
  3. Not another bolognese or lasagne! In the movie – “We bought a zoo” – there is a scene in which a newly bereaved widow and young father – Matt Damon – receives a lasagne from a school mum when he is at the school pick up. He takes it home and puts it in the fridge along with about ten other lasagnes. This scene made me laugh and empathise. We received a lot of lasagne and a lot of bolognese. I love both and so do my kids. However whenever I did have the energy to try and cook bolognese was one easy go to that I already did myself. It made me sad at the time that I did not have the energy or inclination to try and cook exciting and interesting and kid friendly meals to broaden my children’s horizons and palates. If you have the energy and like cooking then perhaps cook something interesting for the kids to try. Here are some ideas that I could not think of at the time!
  • Butter chicken or Apricot chicken
  • Chicken schnitzel/Chicken bites
  • Spinach fetta pasties
  • Healthy sausage rolls
  • Meat pies, chicken pies, fish pies, Shepherds pie
  • Nourishing soups
  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Meat and Vegetable Kebabs
  • Honey soy chicken noodle stir fry
  • Fried Rice
  • Chilli vege nachos
  • Mini burgers to put together
  • Home made meatballs
  • Vietnamese rice paper rolls
  • Frittata/Quiche
  • Tuna Sweetcorn fritters with salad
  • Zuchinni Slice

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