So I've wanted to do this for a while. I know my blog is quiet (to understate the matter), I don't have some huge following on Twitter or Instagram, and that's really ok; but I think this is a good idea and I really want, if I do this publicly, to get some people to participate. So I'm throwing it out there, because tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, and I read this thread:
(Here's the link to the first tweet in the thread—I don't know how this embedding thing works, and I want you to be able to go to the whole thing.)So as someone who's covered monthy food budgets with food stamps let me break a few things down for you b/c a lot of people haven't https://t.co/SbwHFg8ijm— please bread, no (@hugwins) February 13, 2018
For a while now I've been a bit allergic to politics, but I have the ability and the duty to do something local. Food drives are a pretty common way to try and address the crisis of hunger locally, but sometimes people need to be reminded that it's hard to put together a meal from what other people can "spare." When I would look in my pantry for items for our church's monthly food drive, I began training myself to think, "How well would this convert or contribute to a full meal?" I mean, how useful to someone is my fifth can of garbanzo beans?
Well, why do I have five cans of garbanzo beans to begin with? Because I stocked up for my recipe for vegetarian chili, that's why. So maybe, if they have a few cans of other beans, it could be pretty useful after all. But only if they have those other ingredients. So I could give those as well. But maybe it wouldn't be any good to them if they don't know how to make it. I would need to give the recipe as well.
(Obviously, people are intelligent and creative and will probably know what to do with a can of garbanzo beans, or chick peas if that's what they call them, if they are picking them up to begin with. But my whole idea was to make things a little easier for people who are already in a long-term crisis situation.)
At this point, I doubted that the food bank serving these people would be handing out my recipe to them at the check out, and they might be a little insulted or otherwise justly put out if it did. (Kind of like that box of food the government proposes to hand out?) But I couldn't shake the idea. And eventually it evolved into the idea of some kind of a database: a cookbook specifically for the purpose of creating meals from the kind of non-perishable foods that food banks are best able to supply. I don't know how such a cookbook would necessarily help those who make use of food banks, but if it were generally available, maybe it could help somebody.
I think I had the idea one Lent a long time ago, because I then had the idea to write the whole cookbook myself, out of meals from canned goods, all donated by our family, as part of our Lenten fasting and almsgiving—40 Meals for 40 Days.
Isn't that a great idea? Aren't I brilliant?
I can't even post more than two or three posts a year anymore.
Not entirely sure I can responsibly donate that much food in that short an amount of time right now, either. But still, I haven't been able to shake the idea.
If nothing else, maybe it will inspire you to donate something now to your local food bank.
If it does, I'd love to hear from you in the comment box. If you donate a meal's worth of ingredients, maybe you can share the recipe here, or email it to me.
And I still want to do the cookbook. So, although that potential project is still evolving, if you do share a recipe with me, go ahead and expect to hear from me. Or, you can drop me a line if you have something to say about it. I'll try not to take a month to answer. Just kidding. Kind of.
So. Here is what I'm asking you to do.
1) Give thoughtfully to your local food bank. Come back here in the next few weeks for a few more ideas about how to do that. The Twitter thread above and its responses might spark some ideas. Or do your own research.
2) If you donate a meal of ingredients, send me the recipe: leave it in the comments (probably the best option), message me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or just let me know and we'll figure out how to email each other.
3) Spread the word. Share this link on your blog or favorite social media. Talk about the idea at the water cooler at work. Tell your mom. Tell your mom friends.
4) Tell me what you thought or did, even if you didn't send a recipe. I'd love to know your response to this post.