During times of sorrow or joy, celebration or mourning, the one thing that translates across cultures, generations, and many religions is food. Namely, comfort food. And specifically, if you’re a member of Stephanie Eppich Daily’s family, lasagna.
“My family always did lasagna. Someone died, you make a lasagna. Someone has a baby, you make a lasagna. You’d think we were Italian but we’re not,” said Daily, who launched Send a Friend Lasagna in Indianapolis last week.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Have a friend who just gave birth to twins? Daily will make a homemade lasagna and bring it to her door. Company coming on Friday and no time to cook? She’ll whip one up and have it to you by the time the doorbell rings (with at least 24 hours notice).
The lasagna comes in four styles: meat sauce and cheese ($30), cheese and sauce only ($27), vegetable ($30), and gorgonzola ($40). A full size is 9×13 but two 8×8 dishes are also available. Each comes with instructions for baking or freezing. Gluten-free is available upon request.
The recipe is one that was handed down to Daily from her grandmother, who she grew up watching make the dish regularly. But this isn’t just some household dish passed down through a generation or two. Daily grew up in the restaurant business and says she’s a “long, long, long time food snob.”
In the 1970s, her grandparents owned a restaurant called Dunham’s Prime Time, a prime rib restaurant in Carmel that is said to have been the first restaurant in Indiana to have an open salad bar. And not just any salad bar—this one boasted 75 items, all homemade.
“I would walk around like I owned the place, going behind the bar and pouring my grandpa a Johnnie Walker Black neat or ordering myself a prime rib and crab legs,” Daily recalls.
Her parents tried everything they could to keep her away from the often crazy environments found in the restaurant business. “They wouldn’t even let me work in a yogurt shop at Glendale Mall,” she recalls.
“I walked up and said, ‘I didn’t know what to do so I brought you a lasagna.'”
It wasn’t until earlier this fall when Daily, who was working as a social media manager at Sapphire Strategy at the time, had a friend whose wife passed away from colon cancer.
Daily remembered that when her dad died, her parents’ back deck was full of flowers that went to waste and felt overwhelming. “I thought, what in the hell are we going to do with all of this?”
So, when the time came to attend her friend’s wife’s visitation, she did her go-to thing and took him a homemade lasagna in a cooler.
I walked up and said, “I didn’t know what to do so I brought you a lasagna.”
Daily decided to start Send a Friend Lasagna as a side hustle. One day in September, Daily was at an Advancing Indy Women class at IU’s Kelley School of Business through Linking Indy Women when she mentioned what she was up to.
“That afternoon, a lady called me and said, ‘My friend was in class with you and I’d like to buy a lasagna for a friend who just had twins’ and I realized this could be a real thing,” she said.
Daily will operate out of Indy’s Kitchen and has plans to expand by hiring a staff member to do deliveries and eventually ship nationwide. (She’s already had one request this week from someone in New York wanting to send a lasagna to Texas.) For now, she’s delivering her handmade deliciousness to the greater Indianapolis area (mostly within I-465 and slightly beyond).
Her largest number of lasagna recipients so far? Mothers of twins. But Daily says there are plenty of customers who just send them to themselves.
After all, the great Garfield once described it as “nature’s most perfect food.” Not wrong, Garfield. Not wrong.
Leslie Bailey is Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indy Maven. She has made lasagna exactly one time in her life and has decided it’s best left to the professionals.