Sunday, June 12, 2011

So Long and Thanks for all the Pasta

It is a widespread, and I believe, generally positive tradition for friends of a newly babied couple to provide meals for the family upon their return from the hospital.  The rationale goes something like this:  The couple is transitioning from the relative bliss of three days in the hospital, where (not including the actual birth) they have lived in peace and harmony, with all meals provided by pastel clad hospital employees, dishes whisked away when the last morsel is consumed, and the next day’s meals conjured up simply by checking boxes on a menu.  (This Eden-like meal plan does not usually include the husband of the new baby.  We are often left to munch on couch cushions, sip water from the sink, and beg our wives for a few bits of steamed vegetables.)  Anyway, all good things must come to an end, and eventually insurance regulations require a couple to reenter society with their newborn child.  This is where friends and family step in.  Instead of forcing a couple to fend for themselves and somehow scrounge the time to prepare meals around caring for an organism that sleeps 18 hours per day and spends the other 6 eating, pooping, and staring at air molecules, a train of hot meals begins to appear at the door.  Friends from work, friends from church, neighbors, and even postal workers begin to deliver dinners, in much the same fashion as the hospital, only without the pastel uniforms.  This is a wonderful arrangement.  The only complaint I’ve ever heard (and this was from another couple and not indicative of any experience my wife and I had) is that pasta is a mainstay in virtually every meal brought to parents of a new baby.  A typical week’s menu might look like this:  Monday- spaghetti; Tuesday- lasagna; Wednesday- macaroni and cheese; Thursday-hamburger helper; Friday- fettuccine.  My only explanation for this phenomenon is that the starch needs of new parents must be extraordinary.  Or possible pasta is really easy to cook and really difficult to mess up.  So maybe next time someone says, “Hey, you wanna bring a meal over to the couple with the new baby,” sign up to bring steak.  It will be a welcome change from rigatoni and couch cushions. 

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