The Meal Tree

For mothers of newborns, the dinner hour(s!) can be a demanding time. I know from my own experiences, trying to deal with a fussy baby while attemping to fix a meal at the same time was often a physical impossibility. By the time the second and third child came along, I was getting wiser. I would stock the freezer a few weeks before the birth with several easy meals for those nights when making dinner just wasn't happening. Was. Not. Happening! What I remember about those times with most joy though, was when a girlfriend came to visit, with an offering of a meal in her arms. Already cooked! Ready to go. Or freeze for later if we so wished! What bliss. That delicious meal lasted us for two nights and is still one of the few dinners I remember while the third one was still so little.

To help out a new mum in this way is a wonderful thing. If several people team up to help her, what was originally one stand-alone dinner for a tired mamma suddenly becomes a Meal Tree, lasting as long as there are happy participants. If there are many, they can each take one turn, just one - their gift to the new family, and with teamwork, this glorious gift can go on for several weeks, depending on how often the deliveries to the new mum are to be made (weekly, twice weekly..). What I wouldn't have given for such a gift in those early weeks!  (a slight oxymoron?).

I am delighted to be part of such a meal tree and hope my gift is well received.

What fun it is to give a gift that I know from my own experience was appreciated and remembered fondly.....


  1. Yum, your meal tree offering looks pretty good! Being part of a playgroup I have been a meal tree offerer many times, now, and I am so glad you wrote about this. It's nice to know how people feel about you making the effort to make a meal for them. Unfortunately I didn't have meal tree friends around when I had my babies, I need to go have another one to profit from a tree now!!

  2. I too found that while I did my best to stock out freezer before our baby was born, meals were one of the nicest gifts anyone offered - such a blessing to not have to think about what to make for tea at such a hectic and tiring time. My cousin had a baby yesterday and I was going to make a meal for her when she returns home as I know how much I appreciated this gesture myself.

  3. That's a lovely thing to be part of, Christine. A friend and I used to cook double each night and then swap a meal. So if I made 2 mac 'n cheese and she made two chicken a la king then we each had a meal for the freezer or the next night.

  4. A meal tree sounds like a beautiful idea. I remember when I had just had my first baby , a girl friend brought around a huge lasagna. I am not sure if it was just that we were desperately hanging out for a decent meal, but I remember sitting there thinking this was the best thing I had ever eaten and all the better because I didn't have to cook it after being up all night with a colicky baby.My husband and I still talk about that lasagna 12 years later!
    I think when people do meals like this for you, the love goes into the food too . Cooking is a wonderful way to look after the people around you and I imagine the meals your meal tree have made for your friend will become part of the beautiful memories of this time for that family.

  5. What a wonderful idea! Not just for new mums, but for any family in need or crisis. Your lasagne and bread look perfect - exactly what I would want to eat if sleep deprived and hormonal. ;-)

  6. Mr Chocolate and I are always talking about this, and how it really is the best present to ever give new parents. That food gives them 'time'. Damn prescious stuff when you have older kids and a new born.
    I'll bet your friend loves it.

  7. I have one friend who regularly made me 'take-away' when I was pregnant and sick as a dog (and eating was the only thing that made me feel better). She would make enough for four at dinner then send over half for me and my partner - all done including side dishes. After my little one was born another friend spent a whole day making meals and then brought around the whole lot at once for us to freeze. It lasted for two weeks! I will never forget these gifts! I have paid it forward to another friend recently and I agree it really is the best gift you can give.

  8. What a great idea, my DiL is expecting in March 2011

  9. I agree Ali - it would've been great to have had a meal tree when our kids were little!

    A beautiful gesture for your cousin, Amanda. I am sure it will go down very well :)

    That's a really good idea, Wendy! A slightly different spin on the idea..

    Haha, our gifted meal when my daughter was a newborn was also a lasagne, Kimmy - the best lasagne I've ever tasted! It alwasys tastes so much better when someone else has done the cooking and the memories are the best...:)

    Absolutely not just for new parents, Celia! You've got me thinking now who could do with a meal tree, lol! :)

    You and Mr Chocolate are spot on, Brydie - the gift of time is the most precious gift of all. :)

    What gorgeous friends you have, Sarah. It is so nice to be able to pay the favour forward too.. :)

    Congratulations, Debbie! That will come around before you know it. All the best for her :)


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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