Chef Carrie Hegnauer's Favorite Meal To Take
My favorite meal to take (so far) is my Greek Stuffed Chicken Breast dish. Stuffed with spinach, sun dried tomatoes and garlic, it's a Mediterranean dish that provides fabulous nutrients but it's also different and a little bit gourmet. Even though they are grateful, I think the people we take meals to are sometimes tired of casseroles and appreciate having something they may not have had an opportunity to try before. We always include a side dish and/or a salad because we want the recipients to have a bit of a "date night" or "restaurant" experience when it arrives. We know they aren't going out and enjoying life as much as they'd probably like.
I must add, though, that my favorite meal to take is any one that my husband and I take together. It's so much fun to cook with him and prepare a wonderful culinary treat for someone less fortunate and we are so thrilled to share our blessings and good fortune with others.
Chef Carrie Hegnauer's Transport Tips
One meal transport tip is "don't put soup in the trunk". Another is to go to garage or estate sales and purchase old Pyrex type baking dishes and such. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them if they aren't chipped or broken and they're very cheap because it's just not the kind of thing people buy at those sales. When you "re-purpose" them by taking someone a meal in them you can just let the recipients keep the dish. You're not only providing a meal, you're passing on a dish that was probably used to serve hundreds of loving meals to a previous family.
Chef Carrie Hegnauer's Favorite Meal She’s Received
When I was sick and it was discovered that I had renal cell carcenoma (kidney cancer), it was also at a time that I had the fewest number of people to "support" me. I had just gotten divorced, lost both of my parents and moved to Charlotte with Johnson & Wales University. I really didn't know anyone here and I had an 8 year old daughter too. One of my chef co-workers whom I had known for a while at the Norfolk campus brought me a bag of cooked marrow bones! That may sound a little weird, but they were perfectly prepared and the perfect size to dig out the centers and eat on toast! It reminded me of how my mother would care for me if I wasn't feeling well. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it and remembering how grateful and blessed I felt even at that bad time in my life.
Chef Carrie Hegnauer's Meal Disaster
I'd like to share a meal disaster that really had nothing to do with my food (hey, I'm a chef)! My husband and I answered a TTAM request from our church a few months ago. We worked together to create a beautiful meal and drove it out to the recipient's home some distance away. When we arrived, we pulled into the driveway of a lovely old brick home on several acres of well-kept grounds. We drove around to the back of the house and parked among a half dozen vehicles...all much newer and more expensive than the one we were driving. As we approached the house both my husband and I wondered out loud how much "need" there could really be in this situation as we had just a few days prior taken a meal to a couple living in a hotel room because of their health induced economic issues.
When we entered the house, the mood was very somber yet the wife smiled and introduced us to their extended family and expressed her gratitude to us for bringing a meal for so many people. We were introduced to her husband, who could barely whisper and was lying in a hospital bed in the middle of the living room with his daughter kneeling next to him in tears and translating his words for us. He expressed his gratitude as well for our willingness to help his family.
His father-n-law, who was well into his 80's chatted with us for a while as did the wife. She explained that her husband had an inoperable brain tumor and that they had been driving him back and forth to Duke Medical Center (more than two hours away) for the past several months for opinions and treatments. They were exhausting trips and she held a full time job as well; one where she wasn't comfortable talking about her private tragedies. It was obvious that she had a strong resolve but was overwhelmed as well.
Even though my husband and I have both experienced serious health issues in the past, we left their home feeling so blessed and fortunate...and guilty for having felt otherwise on our way in. God handed us a huge dose of perspective that evening...and emphasized it when we discovered that the husband, son and father whom we met on that Friday evening died the next morning.