I'm a lawyer, and in the past week 2 judges in front of whom I regularly practice have lost their wives. I want to bring by some food. I'll be making it the night before, boxing it up and putting it in a bag, and then bringing it to court and putting it in their fridge for them to take home and reheat (I don't want to actually go to their homes and cook because I think that would look inappropriate, and also they might not want me to invade their privacy at this time). Any suggestions of what to make/take and the best way to do this would be great. I really like both of them and they are both devistated, obviously.

  • Posted by: mklug
  • October 1, 2010


drbabs October 4, 2010
mklug, I agree with AntoniaJames, and isn't the best thing about Food52 this community of support?
AntoniaJames October 4, 2010
mklug, that is the perfect solution. What a great community effort. You deserve much credit, and respect, for organizing this. ;o)
mklug October 4, 2010
Thanks to all for your great ideas! As observed, every jurisdiction is different, so it never occurred to me that my idea might be out-of-bounds. BUT--you all did make me think, and I believe that we came up with an idea that works even better. Here's what we did, based on your comments: I'm a public defender. I contacted a few reasonable people in the District Atty's office, and some in the local Police Department. Now, starting next week, we're just going to bring a little something to the office--something that can be eaten for lunch (or taken home) or shared with the rest of the court staff, in containers we've made clear we don't need back. Each week the items will just come from the PD's Office or the Sherriff's Department instead of one specific person, and we've emailed to each other what we're making so that there won't be masses of food and re-dos. I let the others in on your great suggestions as well, and everyone seems very excited. I think you all spurred me to refine my idea and make it much better. Thanks so much!!
Ophelia October 2, 2010
I would make muffins, cookies or a quick bread (banana or gingerbread maybe) instead, they keep well and don't have to be transported in containers that might have to be returned. They're also thoughtful and personal, but still maintain a sense of professionalism and can be shared with family or friends.
Kayb October 1, 2010
A pie that doesn't have to be refrigerated. A chicken pot pie that needs only to be baked (with a note giving baking temp and instructions). A loaf of some kind of sweet bread (zucchini, pumpkin, date, banana).

I'm a Southerner, and the practice of taking food to a home when there has been a death is well established; you need to be able to easily feed all the out-of-town kin who come in. But this is well after the fact, so we're looking for something that (a) is better suited for one person, and (b) simply says, "I'm thinking of you." To me, a pie or a loaf of sweet bread says that. If you're bound and determined to do a meal, think about a homemade "TV dinner," an entree and a side or two in single-portion size.
AntoniaJames October 1, 2010
Actually, I didn't mean to say "in the jury selection process." I meant "when they sent any of my cases out to a courtroom," in courts where a case is not assigned a judge until the day that you start the trial, which is often the day you start picking a jury. It's been over ten years since I took a case to trial . . . . ;o)
mrslarkin October 1, 2010
Soup, stew, roast chicken, casserole, lasagne, pumpkin bread, a plate of cookies even. But I, too, worry that your thoughtfulness may be misinterpreted, given your close working relationship. If they have children, perhaps gift cards to local restaurants and pizza places would be appreciated.
Bevi October 1, 2010
A vegetarian lasagna is always nice. Anything that freezes well would probably be appreciated. But I agree that other options of showing your sympathy are equally appropriate.
Sadassa_Ulna October 1, 2010
I would like to add another non-cooking response. I do not mean to challenge your concern and thoughtfulness, you are probably a great cook and want to give something from the heart. Other responses have great suggestions for what types of food to give a family in mourning, but I would not advise you to send food unless you know them very well.
While bringing food can relieve a huge burden, it can also create problems. My friend's small family received so much food both before and after she died, they were often throwing food out. People they didn't know very well would bring food in dishes that had to be returned and some things had questionable ingredients.
I just wanted to share this because if you can think of other ways to offer your condolences - a charity donation, a card, etc. - you all might benefit. Think of your own comfort level with a fridge full of home-cooked food, from people you only know professionally.
It sounds like there are a lot of factors to consider. I wish you well in your endeavor.
anyone October 1, 2010
All very good. The Idea behind bringing food to those in grief is to lesson the burdon of meals so the best choice would be something they can easliy reheat. That's why soups, stew and caseroles seem to be so popular for these situations.What ever you make i'm sure will be appreciated. Your obviously very thoughtful.
nannydeb October 1, 2010
For two different neighbors, I've made a spinach and Italian sausage lasagna. It's a complete meal, you can reheat a portion at a time and then it freezes well in portions. You would have to take it to them in a baking dish that you may never see again, so plan on that just in case.
AntoniaJames October 1, 2010
P.S. I would have some of the same concerns as drbabs, but I realize that practices differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so I didn't mention it. I do know that if I tried that here (I was a commercial litigator for 15 years, appearing in federal and state courts in the Bay Area), the judges' courtroom assistants would not allow it, and if I somehow got away with it, I'd be disqualified in the jury selection process by all opposing counsel, from appearing before those judges, forever. I'm not sure what our local ethics rules say on this. But I do know that practices vary a lot from place to place.
AntoniaJames October 1, 2010
Some other ideas: Coq au Vin (drumsticks and thighs, only). A lovely quiche Lorraine. Cassoulet, but I wouldn't include anything that might be perceived as exotic or too rich. Make a gorgeous loaf of homemade yeast bread. Make a nice banana bread. Include a couple slices of sour cream cake. (I posted a recipe for one here on food52, called "Bette's Best.") Or a few squares of a simple applesauce cake (not iced) or gingerbread. Oh, one other thought, about the beef burgundy. You'd want to steam the potatoes until they're just firm before adding to the pot. They'll turn it into a particularly tasty beef stew, which I suspect the two men would like a lot. ;o)
drbabs October 1, 2010
So call me paranoid. This answer really isn't about cooking, but here goes: What kind of lawyer are you, and what do you mean by regularly practicing in front of them? Could they interpret your bringing them a home-cooked meal (a very personal and lovely way of expressing sympathy) as a means of currying favor? Or do you also have a personal/friendly relationship with them? If it's the former, you might want to consider sending to the house (not bringing to the office) what we Jews call a shiva platter: bagels, cream cheese, lox, etc. or cold cuts and breads, all of which could be consumed by the judge and his family and friends during the time they are together for the mourning period. If you have a personal relationship, you probably know what they like better than we do, and AJ's suggestion is good; you could make soup, pasta sauces--anything that you know they like and that reheats well.
You made a comment about "invading their privacy;" my concern is really about that--it's lovely that you want to help, but I wouldn't want you to do anything that could be misinterpreted and possibly jeopardize your carrer.
AntoniaJames October 1, 2010
Beef burgundy, in which you've added a few white potatoes, peeled and quartered, during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Make a big batch because it holds well so they can have it more than once. (They'll want to eat it again.) ;o)
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