By Nicole Phillips

I am a bad cook. I mean, really bad. Even my very sweet husband agrees that I can follow a recipe with the precision of a neurosurgeon, but the things I make just don’t taste very good. My 7-yearold daughter swears that Daddy’s mac-n-cheese tastes better than mine, and she’s right.

I was complaining about this to a woman who babysits my three children occasionally. Desiree sat on my couch, looking horrified as I told her how twice in my 11 years of marriage I have made lasagna and forgotten the lasagna noodles. I even put it in the oven and baked it … TWICE! What is wrong with me?

Well, the very next week, I got a message saying dinner was waiting outside my front door. Desiree doubled the meal she was making for her family and brought me half. I felt guilty taking it until I tasted it. She is a much better cook than I am. The next week, the same thing happened. The week after that, she did it again.

It seems like there is some sort of connection between kindness and food.

When a baby is born, when a loved one dies … anytime we are celebrating or commiserating, someone is cooking for someone else.

My friend, Andrea, cooks two extra meals a week for two women she knows who are each battling cancer. And Andrea is not alone. I did an impromptu survey of women at the YMCA in downtown Fargo. Out of the first 10 women I asked, only one said she had never had someone bring her food nor had she cooked for someone else just to be nice.

Sometimes it feels like food is an easy way to show people we care about what’s happening in their lives.

As a journalist, I felt compelled to ask Desiree what made her decide to leave those meals on my doorstep.

She said that when her first baby was born, 20-some years ago, she became a stay-at-home mom. She really missed the days of sharing recipes with a friend at work. Desiree says she was always excited and grateful to have a real meal and loved collecting her friends’ recipes. She says she feels like this was a way of paying it back from years past.

Kindness is contagious. When people realize how good it feels to help another person, they seek out opportunities to be kind.

The people they help want to give back by helping another. It’s a vicious circle of greatness.

Kindness isn’t always about making a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. Sometimes, it’s about reminding one person who shares the space around you that he or she is special. Desiree, thanks for making me feel very special – and for being a really good cook.

Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.