WFMW: An Awesome Tradition

I’m not a foodie. You know one of those people who’s really amazing in the kitchen. I get the job done and every once in awhile, I wow myself.

So, even though I wouldn’t consider this “my gift” I find that I’m taking a dessert or fixing a meal for someone on a regular basis. And sometimes it’s take-out (don’t judge me). Because we all know free food you don’t have to prepare is good food. Can I get an Amen?

My dear and amazing friend, Meg, shared a most-wonderful African tradition with me. [Her family of four are in the middle of adopting an older sibling group from Ethiopia. Her two kids just happen to be very close friends to my older kids and our hubbies are great friends. We just LOVE them ].

Back to the tradition. It goes something like this: I shared a dish with Meg when she had surgery this summer. She returned my platter filled with fruit for my family.

I was having a bad week a few weeks ago, she sent over a delicious salad. I returned her glass bowl filled with strawberry shortcake.

Tip: Return plates, dishes, bowls to friends and family filled with delicious food! And if you don’t currently have a dish loaned out, then maybe you should whip something up and take it someone sick or in need of cheering up.

It works for me!


  1. 5


    There are alot of Texans moving into central PA because of the gas industry. A few of those families have joined our church. One of the women was very sick and I sent a meal over to her. She returned my bowl full of banana pudding. YUM!!!! Then the same woman ended up on bed rest for a month in August. I took her two small sons to VBS for a week and made a plate of empenadas for her. She returned my plate full of no-bake cookies. I’ve been introduced to this tradition and I LOVE it also!!!

  2. 7


    Thanks for hosting. I love your site! I wanted to tell you I bought two of your shirts (the one for me is the same one you’re wearing in the pic up above and my husband a black one). It was my anniversary present for us. We weren’t doing gifts so I thought it would be a nice treat…I wore my shirt all day :) I love them and feel extra in love with him when I wear it! I shared about our story and how we met (a whirlwind) and also a second post about some really scrumptious (if I do say so myself) pumpkin cake!

  3. 8


    Thanks so much for hosting another party. I really love the idea of returning a borrowed dish with food! I’m going to start doing this definitely!!!

  4. 9


    My elderly neighbor and I exchange yummy food almost twice-a-week. She often sends me bread, pastries, cakes (her daughter manages a restaurant inside a hotel), and sometimes fruits. I send her food that I myself made or cooked, such as muffins, ice cream, and savory dishes like paella, etc. We’ve been doing this for years and our friendship has flourished over time.

    This is a vital part of Filipino tradition – sharing food – esp. when there are celebrations or need. We practiced it while growing up in the province and it’s still very alive now.

    Thank you for hosting WFMW and although my tips are almost always spiritual, I pray these help your readers.


  5. 10


    I love that!! It sounds like something my very Appalachian Grandmother does, how interesting that it’s also an African tradition. Such a nice idea :) And also – AMEN to the free good is good food!!

  6. 12


    Your post reminded me that I need to send a meal to a mama friend who posted on facebook that she is suffering from the flu. I usually send meals in containers that don’t need to be given back to me, so the recipient doesn’t have to worry about returning anything to me. But if I ever receive a meal in a dish that needs to be returned I am going to do this…lovely idea.

  7. 13

    tiabennett says

    My mom taught me to never return an empty dish. Even if you just put candy in it. This can be harder now that we use so much disposible, since it is a lot easier.
    Great reminder!

  8. 16


    Thanks for hosting. I always bring back borrowed plates with foods. I thought I heard it was an Asian custom, but I think from the comments it is customary in many cultures.

    I shared a post today about a school trying to fight the obesity epidemic by making changes. Somme of the changes they are making are good, but other changes fall short in my opinion. What do others think?

  9. 19


    Thank you for hosting! This week I have shared the following seasonal farm-to-table recipes that promote the benefits of good health through nutrition from eating fresh unprocessed seasonal produce:

    raw breakfast six ways

    bioneers salad

    Happy cooking!
    The Intentional Minimalist

  10. 20


    My mom taught me this when I was a kid. I do it now too and I’m always amazed at how much it means to people. Sometimes we easily forget how a simple act of kindness can really make a big difference to someone. God often just places a name on my heart for me to reach out to and as often as I do I let too many of those opportunities slip by too. Then I regret later when I find out there was a reason God placed that person on my heart – and there ALWAYS is! So this is a great reminder to me to reach out to those around me.

  11. 21


    Heh. I have two empty containers, just now, from food that friends brought me.
    I also have a few zucchinis and a can of pumpkin.
    I guess I will be baking today on this fine rainy cold day.
    Thank you for the nudge to be kind and thoughtful!
    P.S. Also, thank you, for the nice party! It is swell!

  12. 24


    This is a wonderful idea and tradition. Funny how you posted this today — I’m sharing some baking with my coworkers today, as they recently supported me through an illness. Words don’t seem enough, I hope they enjoy the goodies :)

  13. 31


    The other day, I washed a plate that the neighbor had brought cake over to us on. I went to take it back and remembered that my mom taught me to never return a plate empty. Fortunately my daughter had just made cupcakes! :)

  14. 32

    kris says

    My mom has done this for as long as I can remember. I just thought that was how it was supposed to be done. She told us that you never return a dish empty. Finally, I’m ahead of the curve on something! :-)

  15. 37

    Maria says

    So funny to read your post, I have grown up thinking that EVERYone does this. I was taught that you should never return a plate empty, and not many people do around here. Now I’m wondering if it’s just a regional thing here in Ohio? Whatever the reason, I love it!

  16. 38


    I didn’t know that was an African tradition, but I love that I do now!! Thank you. My mom and her best friend did this my entire childhood. We loved getting the container (it was a decorated tin container for them) back and seeing what goodies laid inside, and then we loved watching my mom fill it back up again and give it away. I love this! I think I need to start this.

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