What to Bring a Sick Friend When You Come Over
In a city where everything is right at your fingertips, there's no longer really a "need" for a friend to bring you soup when you have the sniffles. You can just order it to be delivered in under 30 minutes. But I would argue that especially in today's crazy-busy day and age, doing little acts of kindness is more important than ever before.
When I was younger, my mom made me soup anytime she sensed a cold coming on- she was supersonic and always knew a few days before the cartoons and bedrest hit me hard. When I had strep throat (4x!!) my grandmother shlepped to bring me kugel, nalisniki, and assorted Russian delicacies because she knew I was too tired to cook or to eat. When I was dumped at 21, my best friend came over with a tub of ice cream and a bottle of wine. When Brandon and I began dating, Veselka was our favorite east village breakfast spot. But come the allergies, the runny nose, the sore throat, it was our go-to for the magic cure-all, chicken noodle soup. Whether a broken heart, or a broken limb, bringing someone food, and more importantly, comfort, are the signs of a devoted friendship.
What is the common denominator of all these individuals who have warm our hearts when we're bent out of shape? They go out of their way. Life is all about being there for a person you love, for a person who is important to you. Way more important than what you bring is that you're actually present for them. I always say you shouldn't come anywhere empty-handed (more on that topic soon,) and this rings especially true when someone isn't at there best. We've all been there, right? In bed, with 1,000 tissues surrounding us on all sides, snot dripping down our nose, blotchy skin, absolutely miserable. Anything that brings a smile to my face in that moment is memorable, and so greatly appreciated.
In essence, I applaud you for wanting to bring your sick friend/loved one/colleague something at all. It speaks to who you are as a person, and keep up the good work! When you're trying to actually figure out what to bring, the first step is to ask. Shoot your buddy a text and tell them you're planning on dropping off "x" but is there anything else they need? Usually, people are reluctant to ask for more, but you should still check. Another thing that I like to do is google the symptoms and recommended foods for a particular ailment. If someone has terrible stomach pains, ginger ale or fresh ginger tea is always soothing. If someone has a broken heart, your company, and their favorite treat is a good start. A shoulder to cry on doesn't ever hurt.Here are some additional ideas for what you can bring over:
soup: homemade or storemade, but not condensed or made from powder. If you're buying it, please make sure if it's from a reputable establishment that does not use mixes as the sodium/MSG won't help
homemade "elixir": boil 3 cups of water with a chunk of fresh turmeric and ginger for 15-20 minutes. add a big squirt of honey, juice of half a lemon, and taste. This medicinal tea will help with inflammation, upset stomach, and more. Plus: it's delicious and they probably wouldn't make it for themselves.
plain foods: i don't know the science behind this, but when I'm feeling down (physically or mentally) all I want are plain foods, beige carbs. pasta, toast, buttered rice pilaf. these foods are easy on the stomach, so if you're at a loss for what to cook, i highly recommend just bringing simple staples. pasta with butter, some roasted vegetables, a fresh loaf of bread
comfort food: if you know what your friend considers comfort food, bring that. make it, buy it, whatever, find it!
fresh fruit & orange juice: fresh cut up fruit is such a treat. it always makes me feel like i'm on the buffet line at some resort in mexico. it's hassle-free, healthy, and a nice sweet treat for someone who has been slurping things all day. plus, when you're feeling weak, the last thing you want to do is hack a melon into chunks. oj for the vitamin c!
flowers: a very nice way to brighten up a usually dark room that someone has been sitting in for hours or days. be sensitive to flowers that will irritate people with allergies. some excellent hypoallergenic choices include hydrangeas, lilies, and tulips. avoid bringing house plants at this time... because your friend does not need anything to care for but themselves.
frozen foods: if you anticipate that someone will be sick for a while, bringing a frozen dish is nice so they can reheat. If possible make something on your own that reheats well and leave it with your friend in a disposable container or tupperware. you'll get it back one day. also, if your friend just has a cold or something that should cure up quickly, there's no real need for a frozen casserole- just bring a fresh, hot meal.
cozy stuff: slippers, a soft robe, a set of essential oils, a diffuser, bath salts. think of what relaxes the body and would comfort them.
my final bit of advice: never bring up the cost of these items. it is assumed that if you're bringing over something, you carry the burden of the cost. please only bring what you can afford without having to send a $10 venmo request to your beloved later.
what are your thoughts? what are your favorite ways to cheer up a sick friend? or favorite foods to eat when you're under the weather?
photos cannot be shared, downloaded or repurposed for any reason without written credit to Jane Poretsky + Be Like Family