The Good Neighbor Cookbook by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg

The Good Neighbor Cookbook by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg

There are definitely times when friends and neighbors need a little comfort food. It might be a joyful event--new baby, new house--or it might be in sorrowful times such as a long illness, death, or divorce. Chef Sara Quessenberry and writer Suzanne Schlosberg’s The Good Neighbor Cookbook is an excellent source for the family cook who needs some fresh ideas for food to share.

Recipes range from savory (Smoky Corn Chowder) to sweet (Roasted Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies). They are designed to satisfy, to travel well, and do not require a lot of fussing in the kitchen. Although these recipes work great for times of crisis, these same qualities make them great for book club gatherings, church potlucks, or business breakfasts.

Chapters are headed according to the occasion: "Bringing Home Baby", "Get Well Soon", "Welcome to the Neighborhood", "Block Parties and Barbeques", "Meet and Eat: Community, Religious, and Business Gatherings", "Novel Ideas for Book Clubs", and "Condolences". Below is their recipe for a caring and sharing soup that’s destined to be a favorite for friends or family.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Lemon

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8

Nothing beats the subtle flavors of Mom’s favorite cure-all. Enjoy this soup in its pure state, or let it be the starting point for your own creations: Add rice or pasta; seasonal vegetables such as peas, asparagus, Swiss chard, summer or winter squash; chopped fresh tomatoes; herbs and chopped garlic; or even freshly grated ginger.

  • 1 (3 ½ to 4-pound) chicken
  • 8 medium carrots (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

Place the chicken in a large pot. Cut 2 of the carrots and 2 of the celery ribs into 2-inch pieces and add to the pot along with the onion, salt, and peppercorns. Add enough cold water (about 10 cups) to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a large bowl, and, when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, strain the broth, discard the cooked vegetables, and return the broth to the pot. Thinly slice the remaining 6 carrots and 2 celery ribs and add them to the pot. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, and stir in the shredded chicken and lemon juice.