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New Neighbor - welcome to the hood food

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My old neighbor was a FABULOUS cook - catered outside of his regular job. I got lot's of leftovers. We shared recipes, cookware, oven / frig / booze / wine space when needed. He moved to East Coast to take care of his mom.

New neighbor is moving in. They share the same name, oddly enough. I would like to do the "Welcome to the 'Hood" welcome, but I'm forgetting how it worked before. Sheesh! Has it been that long? What do you offer up, food wise, to new neighbors, to keep the rapport that was before?

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  1. Wow, I wish my neighbors were so welcoming! Depending on their dietary restrictions (if you know them) a platter of sandwiches would be great, I think. Something substantial to eat while they're moving, but nothing they have to heat up or clean up. Chips, pickles, etc to accompany. Brownies, cookies, drinks.

    I hope your new neighbors love you as much as your previous neighbors did!

    1. Pot of good homemade soup (something like a vegetarian minestrone - in case they don't eat meat), a loaf of nice bread and a pan of brownies or something else sweet. Moving in the winter, a warm meal is nice. Make sure you provide them with bowls and utensils, napkins, etc. If you have to use disposables, fine - but I would just lend them stuff I don't use anymore and they can return it when they're done.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nyleve

        Yes! When we moved into our new house many years ago on a damp winter day, our next-door neighbor walked over with a pot of stew and some bread, and it was manna from heaven. We had boxes everywhere, a toddler who needed to be put to bed, and had just moved into a town where we did not even know the closest pizza place. Much better than a plate of cookies, although if she had presented us with those I am sure we would have scarfed them down too.

      2. Isn't it traditional to bake a cake?.....

        1. Why do this before you know anything about them? They could be vegan, kosher, gluten-free, no peanuts, no dairy, and so on. Show up, say hi and ask if there's anything you can do to help. Then find out about food preferences.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Ideefixed

            That's probably the sensible approach, but my experience is that people will generally not say there's anything you can do to help. So you just show up and hand them something. I realize that they may not be able to eat it if they have very specific food issues, but something like a vegetarian soup (or chili) ought to take care of 80% of your potential future neighbours. If they can't, for whatever reason, eat what you've made them it is at least a very generous offering and they will remember it. And years from now, you'll all be sitting around the backyard with a beer and you'll laugh (and laugh) about how they had to feed the soup to the dog because it was potato leek and everyone in the house is allergic to potatoes and lactose intolerant!

            1. re: Nyleve

              Very good idea on the dietary restrictions. I do want to welcome them to the neighborhood and have a good relationship with them.

              Thanks for the suggestions! I'll let you know how it goes.

              1. re: JerryMe

                How DID it go? I am hoping it went wonderfully!

            2. re: Ideefixed

              Someone once very kindly made me navy bean and ham soup when I was moving. I am Jewish. I don't eat pork. I sent it off to friends, but always cherished the gesture. It really is the thought that counts.

              1. re: GirlyQ

                GirlyQ, Thank you SO much for posting this, as it's not what's on the plate but what is behind the intent of the kind, good hearted, neighborly gesture.

            3. muffins! If they don't eat them they can take them to work the next day or give them to the movers.

              In situations like this, I provide a list of ingredients on a small index card. That way I don't have to have an awkward conversation about food allergies/religion with a complete stranger.

              1. If at all possible, it's always nice to give something that has some shelf life. If you can, it's a great time to give them some marmalade or preserves. I know when I'm in the middle of disarray, I don't know where things like utensils, plates and glasses are, so I pretty much subsist on carry-out for a while.

                1. I'm a big fan of fruit baskets. Call me old fashioned, but heck, do you know *anyone* who's allergic to fruit?

                  Perhaps the OP wants to briefly discuss their interest in food with their new neighbor. It'd be nice if the new neighbor has a similar interest, but perhaps they're not as rabid about it as was the old neighbor...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shaogo

                    I had a roommate who was allergic to almost every fruit except citrus, which she couldn't stand.

                    1. re: shaogo

                      I agree with the fruit basket. Though strawberries are a fairly high allergen, fruit is generally a very safe fruit and it's nice because it requires no prep, no heating, etc.

                      1. re: shaogo

                        Sadly, I am allergic to most raw fruits. It started when I was in my early twenties. I'd still be grateful for the gesture if I were new to the neighborhood, but I'd have to cook the fruit.

                      2. When it comes to food allergies/sensitivities/dislikes, I'd simply start the conversation by saying welcome, and mentioning that I was making Dish X- could I bring some over sometime. You can read any unspoken (e.g. suspicious) reaction .....or they might be forthcoming about more information (e.g. 'That mac and cheese sounds great- unfortunately, I'm allergic to gluten and lactose intolerant.').Then simply say that you love to cook and share food, and that you'll try again another time.

                        Mixed fruits sound nice- you might also consider a box of clementines. Easy to eat and refreshing.

                        If food doesn't seem like a good route, you can always get them a "welcome" doormat. :)

                        1. In Germany you would bring bread and salt. I must admit though, i like the idea of a cake / cookies. Should be safe to store it some time at room temp and you can eat it without cutlery (most of it, at least).

                          1. I like the Italian tradition of giving bread, wine and salt.