What To Cook For Friends Who Just Had A Baby

A dear friend of mine recently welcomed baby number three – a tiny sister for two sweet boys under five.

(I adore these children. The oldest once asked a woman in extremely short shorts, “How come you wore your underpants to the park?”)


Obviously I wanted to bring them dinner (because that’s just what good friends do) but it dawned on me that the menu might need to be tailored to appeal to a pint-sized palette. I approached the task from a new-parent perspective. What could I make that two bleary-eyed people could prepare in a snap?

I started with my insanely easy potato leek soup (recipe at the bottom of this post). It’s tasty, nutritious, and feels decadent even though it’s not. Then came the fun part: brainstorming delectable kid cuisine to go with it. I opted for:001-picnicbasket3-asunnyafternoon-s2013

  • Plain cheese quesadillas. Nothing but whole wheat tortillas, organic cheddar cheese, and a little butter.
  • Poultry a la child: roasted chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and a hint of pepper. When these were done, I cut them into bite-sized pieces and popped them in Tupperware.
  • Strawberries. Rinsed, dried, hulled and halved.
  • Animal crackers

Preschool perfection!

Annabel’s Classic Potato Leek Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 baking potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable will do but chicken has more flavor)
  • splash of half-and-half (optional)
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • chopped herbs (dill, chives, sage, and rosemary all work beautifully)

Trim and wash leeks. (If you’ve never worked with them before, here’s a helpful video from the late great Gourmet magazine.) Pat dry. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy stockpot.

Gently saute the leeks (about five minutes) until they’re translucent. Add potatoes and stock. Increase the heat slightly and cook for exactly 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Here’s where an immersion blender works wonders (perhaps the best $20 I’ve ever spent at Target). If you don’t have one, you can puree your soup in a regular blender by working in batches.

Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper, tasting until you get precisely the right mix. Swirl in a tiny bit of half-and-half — you only need a tablespoon or two to boost the richness. Stir in fresh chopped herbs to taste. Divine!

One last thing: as a savvy Annabel Manners reader once pointed out, disposable containers are the only way to go. That way, the new mother won’t have to stress about returning them to you.

Congrats to the big brothers and proud parents!

(P.S. The baby pictured here is not my friends’ newborn. These people would never name a child “Braelinn,” thank you very much. But the cute birth announcements are available here.)

🙂

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