“No child should go hungry in America, yet 1 in 4 U.S. kids don’t know where their next meal will come from.” – The Giving Table
For many of us, it’s hard to wrap our brains around the fact that there is a real and present hunger problem in the United States. We are an affluent and independent country and we have an abundance of food. Yet, somehow, 1 in 4 kids in the US do not know where their next meal will come from.
This is a tragedy.
Last week, I watched a documentary film called A Place at the Table and my eyes were opened. I knew that food insecurity issues existed in the US, but this documentary really digs into the issues of food and hunger in our country. The film states that while charities are non-profits are good and beneficial, that only a change in government policies will truly change the tide. We need better food policies, period.
Which brings me to this post. Today, I am joining the voices of a host of other food bloggers who are taking a stand against hunger.
With our collective voice, we acknowledge the problem and pledge to be a part of the solution.
While preparing for this post, I read that people on food stamps are allocated $4 per day for food. I decided to go to the grocery store with $8 in my pocket ($4 for myself and $4 for my husband) to see what I could make. I wanted to avoid processed foods, and focus on real and whole foods. Let me tell you, it was not easy. I did manage to get all the ingredients for this recipe for $8 (save for the few pantry ingredients I had on hand, such as olive oil, salt, and pepper.) but I had to be creative. (Luckily, organic cauliflower was on sale!)
The sad reality is that real food is not affordable. Fruits and vegetables are expensive, chips and soda are not. This is partially due to the fact that corn, soy, and other commodity crops are heavily subsidized. These filler crops are then turned into chips, crackers, cookies, and other processed foods. These foods are full of empty calories, and are largely devoid of nutrition.
It’s a broken system, but it can be changed.
Raise your voice, take a stand, and advocate for the hungry. Here are a few ways you can take part:
Take 30 seconds and send a letter to congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation.
- 1 (15 oz) can plain tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- The juice of 1/2 a lemon
- First, roast the bell pepper. If you have a gas stove, you can roast the bell pepper, using tongs, over the burner. Rotate the pepper and hold close to the flame, until it is blacked on all sides. (If you do not have a gas stove, you can place the bell pepper under the broiler and rotate until all sides are blackened.) Once the pepper is blackened, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for at least ten minutes (this will help loosen the skin and soften/cook the pepper). Remove from the bowl and peel off the blackened skin. Roughly chop the pepper, removing the seeds and stem. Set aside.
- Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place the cauliflower core-side down on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into half inch “steaks” from center of cauliflower (some florets will break loose; reserve for another use). Depending on the size of the cauliflower, you can get 2-4 “steaks” out of one head.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large cast iron (or ovenproof) skillet and place in the oven to preheat. Once the skillet is hot, place cauliflower steaks in the skillet and return it to the oven. Cook steaks until golden brown and tender, turning once, about 5-6 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic, and the chopped onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the roasted red pepper, tomato sauce, and fire roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for 15-20 minutes. (Note: I used an immersion blender to puree the sauce, but this was just a personal preference. It’s totally fine to leave the sauce chunky!)
- Lastly, make the gremolata. Roughly chop the parsley and toasted almonds. Toss with 1 clove of garlic (minced), a drizzle of olive oil, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.
- Divide tomato sauce among plates or bowls. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate; spoon the gremolata over the top of each steak. Helpful hint: a few slices of crusty bread or baguette work nicely for sopping up extra tomato sauce.
Adapted from Epicurious