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Nibbling Away At Hunger

September 21, 2018

Fifteen dollars may sound like a lot of money for an order of macaroni and cheese. But the serving at Druthers in Schenectady was literally enough to feed ten people last night. Ten. At a nearby table, we saw three people, with three orders of macaroni and cheese. Each diner sat behind a massive cast iron skillet with enough fat and calories to be dinner for a family of four.

The crazy thing is that the serving sizes at Druthers are not an anomaly. Welcome to America, land of the large. I’m old enough to remember when a half pound burger was something monstrous and a little absurd. Now it seems to be par for the course.

With all the abundance that surrounds us, it can be hard to imagine that there are people among us who do not know where their next meal is coming from.

Over the years I’ve been proud to partner with The Food Pantries For The Capital District, and I’ve learned a lot about food insecurity. It’s not something that just afflicts the homeless and destitute. You may not be able to tell just by looking at someone if they have been going without food. It strikes people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels.

It could happen to you. Or me. And nobody would know. Because people feel ashamed and don’t seek the help available to them.

Okay. That got pretty heavy, pretty quickly. Let’s turn it around.

In less than two weeks, The Food Pantry For The Capital District will host the 7th Annual Harvest Evening Celebration. I’ve watched this event grow year after year. The first one I attended was small, but then it grew to fill Brown’s Revolution Hall. And now it’s grown out of that space.

This year’s celebration, and it is a celebration, will be at Franklin Plaza in Troy.

I’ve been one of the official judges for the past few years, and Yelp has come on as a promotional sponsor. In fact, there is a free pair of tickets up for grabs on Yelp right now. Entering to win the giveaway is as easy as one click, assuming you already have a free Yelp account.

Every year this event challenges local chefs to come up with simple and delicious dishes using a food pantry staple.

Last year Field Notes got the judges award with an herbed cassoulet that featured canned red kidney beans. And in 2016 Ally B’s Cozy Kitchen put together a remarkable shepherd’s pie with just six ingredients. The year before that Michele Youngs who was Honest Weight Coop’s Executive Chef at the time took my vote for her Thai inspired turkey meatballs.

This year some of the past champions, in addition to some new contenders, will be putting their skills to the test.

Not only is this a fun and delicious night, but all the proceeds go to a very good cause in our community. Part of the problem of food insecurity is access to food. This is where The Food Pantries For The Capital District comes in, by providing food deliveries from the food bank to member pantries all across the region. But they also do much more.

As someone who is lucky enough to write about food, and has the luxury of being fussy about the foods I eat, it’s important for me to help support this organization. Hopefully you’ll consider joining me on October 4.

I look forward to seeing you there.

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