If ever you feel despondent about the state of the world. About the nastiness of a noisy few, about the unfairness of tragedy and disaster and the angry deeds of one which can destroy so many lives. Please read this post. Please read it and be reassured by the kindness and generosity we are all surrounded by all the time but probably only see and experience during the most testing of times.
Some may remember that earlier this month I announced a little competition, asking anyone who has pre-ordered my book to write in with a story of when they’ve made or received a basket by their door and what that meant. Two of these storytellers were to receive a little bundle of wraps, cards, linens and bags for their trouble. Here are some of my favourite of these stories. I’ll share the winners later today on IG.
The stories below are heartbreaking, heartwarming and more than anything life affirming. Thank you everyone for sharing. And here’s to more baskets by more doors around the world! x
The last time I made a basket by the door was when I was a teenager (now 24, I’m hoping ‘A Basket by the Door’ will help me break the drought!) My wonderful parents had six children and raised us all on our family’s 5th generation farming property in SA. Mum and I always shared a love for gardening and rural life, and living a natural, non-rushed lifestyle. When I was a teenager, I started a veggie patch – 6 beds that Mum had made when we were babies, but hadn’t been tended to in a while. Mum helped and taught me how establish my edible garden, everything from collecting different types of manure from our animals and which type helped different things, the importance of companion planting and the occasional hour or 2 of weeding when I complained I couldn’t be bothered. I kept that garden going for several years, until I moved out, and it was always a special time for me to spend time with Mum, without my other siblings (and Dad!) fighting for her attention. Through that time, she went from being my parent and mother, to becoming my dearest friend. It was always a simple, heartwarming pleasure to give my mum a little basket of the produce we’d grown together. Tomatoes, sweetcorn and zucchini (her favourite) in summer, and broccoli, beans, cauliflower and potatoes in winter. I cherish those memories, of establishing, growing and nurturing my vegetable garden and our relationship, and from it, being able to leave Mum her own little basket by the door. Marni x
When I saw the Insta post about this competition last week, I immediately thought of a time only recently when I found myself heartbroken after my relationship ended. A friend of mine heard about what had happened, and turned up on my doorstep with a bunch of flowers, a store-bought banana bread and a carton of fresh eggs from her chooks. This care package wasn’t anything fancy, however, it was exactly what I needed. We shared warm pieces of the banana bread with a cuppa while I cried and laughed and cried some more. The eggs made a beautiful breakfast the next morning, and the flowers were a bright addition to my kitchen during what would have otherwise been a very sad week. It was the perfect gift that highlighted what care packages are all about – showing other people that you’re thinking of them, even in the most simple of ways. Jessica
The last care package I put together was for a good friend whose dad had just been diagnosed with cancer. She moved home to help her mum and I knew that their next few weeks would be tough with endless trips to and from hospital. I remember thinking at the time – I want to cook them something, but what do I cook? I resorted to making homemade lasagne, a lemon cake and some peanut butter brownie balls and dropping them around. I love the idea of giving little care packages to those who need it, but am often stuck for ideas of what to include in it. So I am really excited to find lots of ideas in your book! Brooke
Pulling into the driveway, i quickly placed my hands around the glistening, seed-speckled jars. The sun was warm against my skin as i jumped out of the car, my feet landing on the sandy stones. The birds were singing in the distance. Two jars of fig & limoncello jam, their brown tags tied around the neck with twine sat proudly at the front door. The very same door where only days earlier my hands were picking up an abundantly full bag of the fresh variety, leaving a tahini pie in their place. And so the cycle continues, of giving and receiving, a simple pleasure full of kindness and edible delights. Amy
Your suggestion to recall any “basket by the door moments”, led me to remember, ( and it never really leaves me) was when my brother in law , took his life.. I wont go into too much detail ….. but the generosity, thoughtfulness of friends who left little meals. for freezing , ingredients to cook a comforting pasta dish, photo frame, flowers and the little notes , letting us know they were there if we needed … These are treasures that stay, long after the meal has finished, or the flowers have wilted…..Ps. I, personally like to leave a rose , which forever blooms…. eg. a mothers love, fathers love…. or a yellow rose for their favourite colour, these gifts by the door, continue to bloom and bring joy and hopefully peace…Margaret
I was lucky enough to be blessed with some homemade food deliveries on the birth of my first son. Knowing that people cared so much made the meals even more delicious. My favourite delivery was the amazing platter of cured meats and soft cheeses that my best friends delivered. It was devoured whilst some of the most important women in my life met one of the most important men in my life. Kirsty
I have always been a ‘giver’ when someone is sick, down, had a baby, over worked etc etc but it would usually look like some brownies or a lasagne or something basic and traditional like that. It was not until I had my first baby girl and I got a text from a friend (with 4 girls and a full time job mind you!) to say dinner was sorted and at the front door- she did not want to disturb me or the baby. I went to the door and dinner was certainly sorted. A curry, some instant rice, a salad, some brownies for dessert and a bottle of wine. There was also a candle and a bunch of hand picked flowers from my garden. It blew my mind! Not only was it dinner, it was a full thought out meal, so much care and so much effort. It has completely changed the way I look at caring for people and how to really deliver on a meal. Now when someone has a baby I bring ‘a meal’ with food for their kids, some fruit and chocolate and any special treat they might like for when others pop over to see the baby the next day – and ALWAYS with the little bunch of garden flowers. I feel like your book will inspire so many of these deliveries (and we are in the THIcK of baby arrivals) and I am just so excited! Thank you for being brave and creating this! Sophie
Our friends had a tragedy befall them last year and I initiated a food train to help their friends nurture them through those tough early days. We put an old esky at their front door and each family dropped a complete healthy meal and snacks for the children each day. It made us all few like we were DOING something, even though we couldn’t really do anything to ease their pain. That’s why I love the idea of your book, it’s something I love to do already and I would love some more ideas. Allana
I’m just making a Dutch Ginger cake for a friend whose father died early this morning & his wife had to leave 45 mins later for Singapore to celebrate their grandsons 1st Birthday. Not great timing 😖 it’s his fave cake & I hope he’ll feel cared for & supported. Asked him for dinner tonight but he’s reading old letters etc his dad had that he’s not seen before. Susan.
I wanted to share my most recent experience with giving. We have a small group of local school mums who make meals and care packages for people in our community who need assistance. To put together a meal and deliver to someone’s home is a small gesture met with an enormous amount of gratitude and relief. Erin.
Someone was thinking of us, even when I felt like no one noticed. During one of the most exhausting weeks of our life, an abundant care package was delivered to our door with homemade bread, soup, curry, thermomix yoghurt, and fresh groceries. It was that week when I was reminded – PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE. I was so grateful for the community of friends & family around us. Since then, I have always looked out for those around me having a tough week, or those that need a little loving care package, ‘just because’. I can’t wait for your book because I honestly get so much joy out of cooking for people and showing them that someone was thinking of them, even when they think no one notices. Jayne
This year I’ve been helping a friends family by cooking a weekly family meal and big batch of healthy cookies for after school snacks. It is the least I can do for a friend in need. Kate
I delivered a wonderful basket of home made goodies to my sister (we lived away from family in WA as they all live in NSW). He husband was away for 2 weeks for work and she was sick so I thought some homemade soup, bread and sweet goodies to make her feel better and feel some extra love. Amanda