Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tupperware and Freeze-Pray

There is that one Bible verse about not letting your right hand know about the good that you are doing with your left hand. That verse has me stuck today. I certainly don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but after a few years of cooking in this house, I finally figured out what to do with leftovers.

Give them away.

Although I am not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination, I have this one job called "food cooker" by the resident three-year old. It requires that I plug in something, or turn something on, or chop something and call it a meal three times a day. They are not fancy meals, but they are somewhat homemade.

Unfortunately, not everyone in this house likes to eat the same meal more than once a week, myself included. Whereas I used to hear the voice of some old woman with her pointer finger waving at me, "There are children starving in Africa! Eat it!," now I shake off any false guilt and pack a few tupperwares.

In our extended family is an older bachelor with failing health, a rugged stretch of country road between him and any grocery store, and perhaps most sobering, no Life-giving faith in Jesus Christ. My parents invite him to every birthday party, holiday celebration, dog training graduation, you name it, he's invited. He fits in great, and we all love him. And we are burdened for him, for his health both physically and spiritually.

One year for Christmas, I froze a whole bunch of single-serving meals and put them in a big ice chest. The gift looked a little weird - a random ice chest with a red bow on it, sitting out in the snow until we opened gifts. In fact, the gift seemed so weird that I was actually embarrassed to give it to him. I should have known that such a sweet old guy would show only gratitude. It ended up being my favorite gift of the Season - practical, thoughtful, and homemade. Then I got to thinking, why don't I do this all year long?

So, now we do.

Knowing what freezes well and what doesn't, I plan my meals ahead of time. If there is a meal I'm pretty sure our dear friend will like, and will freeze well, I usually one-and-a-half that recipe (Yes, I just made that a verb. That's because I was a math teacher, not an English teacher. So go on, you grammar tyrants, and put your little red pens down. 'Cuz I is edyukated.). After we eat, I save enough for us to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, and then, I dish up single-serving Tupperwares with the remaining leftovers. I slap a piece of scotch tape on top of the lid and label it clearly. For example, tomorrow night, it will say "Cashew Chicken - serve with rice of your choice and sprinkle with the cashews" (and I include a Ziploc bag of cashews - they freeze well too!).

Who knew such a small gesture would go so far? Every few months or so, we pack up the ice chest for our dear bachelor and head to a family get-together. It's almost awkward how thankful he is. So much so that last time, I had to interrupt him and come clean.

"Well, I didn't actually make these meals for you," I admitted. Gulp. Deep breath. Confession: "I just made extra of our dinners and froze the leftovers for you."

I was almost embarrassed to look him in the eye, after confessing his Christmas gift was just a bunch of passed-off food scraps.

His face wrinkled up into a big smile and he said, wheezing breathlessly between words, "You mean they come from your very own kitchen table?! That makes them even better!"

I pray for him often, especially as I dish up his meals. Might he know you, Jesus. Might he taste and see that You are good, so good!

Until then, I continue to cook for my family, and freeze-pray for him. (That's like a Christian equivalent to flash-dance. Freeze-pray.)

Is there anyone that comes to your mind as you read, who might need a few home-cooked meals in a pinch? It might even be a fun Christmas gift to start on now. If you live in this house, that's a lot of meals by December! But no longer in the trash, thank you very much.

Resting in Him who Is Good, So Good,


Hannah said...

What a neat idea, and I'm sure a huge blessing to him!

Thank you for sharing!

Karen June Miller said...

What a wonderful gesture — and so organized! I am a Pampered Chef Consultant and I just can't bring myself to do bigger batches. I think it is because I get too bored . . . with everything I have to do too much of or too many times. It has more to do with my sea otter temperament. However, I admire people who do what you are doing!

By the way... I may have said this before, but my name is Karen June and growing up my neighbor was Karen Marie. We were both in the same grade. Agnes, Karen's mom, used to call our names in her midwest twang. Anyway, I can't see your name without thinking about it.

Blessings, KJ