Bringing warm cookies to the new neighbor’s door is a no-brainer, but what do you give to a family who’s sitting shiva? What are the cultural guidelines? What would be helpful to bring to a friend who just lost their job? What kind of dish does one share during the new year (and what calendar are we talking about here anyway)? We’ve all been there – wondering what’s thoughtful and appropriate and what’s not. Especially in the stickiest situations. In this section we look at why we make and give food and the meaning behind it. We explore customs associated with different stages of life, especially the ones that resonate on a deeply personal level, the ones that probably aren’t discussed much in mixed company. Interviews and guest columns bring this section alive along with real-life stories and anecdotes. We aren’t experts so we call on those who are to delve into each scenario and bring firsthand experience and knowledge. Over time, we hope to see this area developing into a strong resource that helps people decide how, what and when to give the gift of food.