When you take food to somebody recovering from major surgery - must it be bland?

Unless their stomach is very sensitive to any sort of spice or strong flavorings they will appreciate some nice food just like you and I.

There are too many to list recipes for but you should be able to find ones that work for you quite easily.

You could do cottage or shepherd's pie (can make without tomato sauces), all kinds of pasta like boscaiola, mac & cheese or with pasta with pesto, almost any soup, very soft roast veg, risotto, pasta bake (these need not contain tomatoes/tomato sauce), stuffed zucchini/courgettes, fish and/or veg patties, most cooked fish really, baked ricotta, quiche/frittata.

I'm sure you've tried googling for easy to chew foods for post-surgery but you'll also have a lot of success searching for lap-band/gastric-band friendly foods. These will also tend to be more creative (and healthy!) as these people live with a soft diet for LIFE, so they're wanting something more than just mashed potato for a week or two.

If it must be bland you can never go wrong with chicken noodle soup. Or a chicken broth they can add noodles and chicken too.

This is my base recipe for stocks:

In a stock pot, combine the equivalent of 1 chicken (chicken quarters are so cheap) with excessive fat removed, one onion, quartered and unpeeled; 3-5 celery stalks, cut into pieces a few inches long; a large carrot, unpeeled and cut into 3-6 pieces; bay leaf; thyme/ rosemary/ ect, fresh if possible.

Let cook over night/ through the day, just under a boil. Skim the foam/ scum whenever you happen to pass by. Once ready, strain and discard used veggies. Season to taste with salt/ soy sauce, black pepper, mirin, sake, white wine, rice vinegar, MSG, or anything else to make it taste like awesome. You can add most of these at the begining if you like, except the salt and pepper. The pepper will turn bitter and if you try to salt early it will concentrate it as the liquid evaporates. If an alcohol is added, bring back to a boil to cook out the alcohol.

The chicken can be used again, but it will have almost no flavor. You can cook it with chicken bouillon to bring back a strong chicken flavor and sear it, once it dries out a bit, with light seasonings to add later.

This will let your friend decide between a light or a medium meal and allow them to freeze any extras with no issue.