The Recipe for Success

A recipe from Curt's Cookbook

A recipe from Curt’s Cookbook

I’m not really a recipe person. When (if) I prepare dinner, it’s really more about what’s in the refrigerator than anything else. I like flexibility when I cook, and the whole idea that a lot of food will not be going to waste. After starting with a few fundamentals, like mirepoix or pesto, I feel empowered in the kitchen to mix and match. Not so with my daughter. She is much more comfortable if she is working with a list of ingredients and knows exactly how much tomato sauce to add. I get that. If it doesn’t taste good, you can always say, “But I followed the recipe!”

Many people assume that families experiencing food insecurity don’t know much about cooking. It would seem so, since they often don’t have the time to prepare elaborate meals, or don’t have access to the ingredients of choice. But at least some of the research I’ve seen says otherwise. One study through the University of Cincinnati looked at the cooking confidence of households experiencing food insecurity and found that 87% of food pantry users were very confident in their cooking skills. I’m glad to see that in writing. I can say without hesitation that cooking skills do abound on the Loaves & Fishes turf.

IMG_2160Last January, out of the blue, I received an email from an individual who wanted to meet with me briefly. This individual, who I will call Curt, had been an occasional visitor to Loaves & Fishes over a recent two-year period. When we got the chance to sit down, Curt handed me a beautifully crafted notebook with an inviting cover entitled, “Today’s Delicious Good Eatin’ Menu Specials.” Inside, Curt had included a sampling of simple, mouth-watering main dish recipes. He had developed them himself using many of the ingredients that he had found in the Loaves & Fishes grocery market. He even included open categories in the back for soups, salads, and other delights to come. During our conversation, Curt explained that his career had been in food service before his disability had forced him out of the workplace. He still enjoys cooking and developing new recipes, and he was offering his latest creations in hopes that he could “give back” to a place that had helped to support him in a time of need. Curt is as creative in the marketplace as he is in the kitchen and has since started his own online enterprise where he hopes to sell his crafts and expertise.

DOC022_Page_1I was so encouraged by our conversation that I took the notebook without hesitation. The recipes have been shared with other Loaves & Fishes visitors on several occasions. I think in the end that Curt and I feel the same way about recipes. The best thing about a recipe is how it makes you feel – imagining it, testing it, and sharing it. That’s a great recipe for success. Definitely good eatin’. Thanks, Curt.

Jane Macdonald
Director of Nutrition & Wellness