Category Archives: cooking

lasagna love.

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The Nonprofit Spreading Kindness One Lasagna at a Time: “We Have the Power to Shift Communities” 

Food is more than a simple snack or meal: It symbolizes comfort, connection, and care, and we’ve been using it to nurture social relationships since at least the Bronze Age. So when Rhiannon Menn found herself yearning to make an impact as the COVID-19 pandemic caused layoffs, school closures, and illnesses, she started cooking.

“I just thought, well, what do I love to do? And what do I know how to do? And for me, that’s cooking; it’s my happy place,” the mother of three told Nice News. In March of 2020, Menn began making extra pans of lasagna, then got on Facebook, found a few “mom groups” in the San Diego area, and offered to drop them off to anyone in need. She delivered seven meals her first week and quickly began getting messages from other people inspired to help. “All of a sudden I found myself managing this network of amazing volunteers who all wanted to feed people in their community,” Menn said.

Just over two years later, Lasagna Love has become a registered nonprofit with over 35,000 volunteers — or “Lasagna Chefs” as they are called — in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Australia. Altogether, they’ve delivered more than 250,000 lasagnas, feeding over one million people in total. The organization has been featured on Good Morning America and The Kelly Clarkson Show. And Menn believes it’s all a testament to how many people are looking for an outlet to show kindness and help others.

Lasagna chefs are matched with families based on distance and dietary restrictions. Once a match is made, all communication occurs directly between those two people. “We do feed families, and that’s important, but really what we’re doing is spreading kindness and strengthening communities, and it’s through those one-on-one bonds that it moves the needle on connectedness,” said Menn.

And there are no eligibility requirements to request a meal or nominate a family. One of the nonprofit’s core values is zero judgment. “We can’t say what needing help looks like,” Menn said, “only you, as a recipient, know what it means to need help”

Virginia resident Jan Delucien, who experienced a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to work, requested a lasagna after hearing about the organization in a support group. For the 64-year-old, the smiling volunteer handing her a home-cooked dish at her door meant much more than just a free meal. “It really was a gift of love,” Delucien told the AP through tears.

According to Menn, when asked if they felt inspired to pay the act of kindness forward, 97% of Lasagna Love meal recipients said they did, and a quarter responded that they already had. “I deliver a lasagna to you, and then you’re inspired to go donate a bag of clothes, or maybe share the meal with somebody, or maybe volunteer at the local animal shelter. So, all of a sudden, those million people that were fed — how many acts does that actually result in? And that’s where we have the power to really shift communities,” she said.

The founder hopes that one day the world won’t need Lasagna Love anymore and that people will help each other entirely organically. But until then, Menn and her team will keep spreading kindness one lasagna at a time.

“no matter what you’re going through in life, eat first.”

-wordporn

 

credit: rebecca brandes

we’re gonna’ need a bigger booth.

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when meeting my friend for lunch

we decided to eat on the light side

 share some apps

not knowing

the ‘apps’ were giants

no small plates action going on here

math is not really my favorite thing

but just by looking at it

 it was clear

we had grossly underestimated

the sheer size of things

 quickly and accurately assessing

that

we were in trouble.

“never order food in excess of your body weight.”

-erma bombeck

small batch.

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grandie b whips up a late night batch of her chocolate chip cookies

no recipe

improv as needed 

no fear. 

“cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking.

it’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.”

-guy fieri

sweet spots.

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have you ever asked yourself,

“will today be the day I combine my love of baking with my love of arts and crafts?”

if this is the day, here’s what can help

the brand new disco, glitter, chocolate chips

this hit all the sweet spots for me

a holy trinity of sins.

 

“you know, your clothes may say disco, but your eyes say rock and roll.”

-giuseppe andrews

 

 

image credit: nestle’s

say my name.

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i recently made a new recipe

and

finally used my worcestershire sauce!

like finding an old friend

nothing had really changed

  still can’t pronounce your name

still in that familiar bottle

how nice to bump into you

so long until i see you again

whenever that might be.

 

“i’m pretty sure 2020’s safe word was

worcestershire sauce

and we couldn’t say it right.”

-T-laine

what’s your secret?

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i’ll never forget that wonderful yellow cake with the warm apple topping

 my mom would sometimes serve us after dinner

 years later when i was a mom

i thought of it again

asking her for the very fancy recipe

 she was surprised

oh that? it wasn’t fancy at all

i bought a pre-made pound cake, cut it into slices,

heated up a can of apple pie filling, and poured it on top.

then i was the one who was surprised.

What secret family recipe is in your lineage?

“don’t let the secret recipe die with the inventor.”

-nathan myhrvold

madelines on my mind.

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shared a kitchen and an online live cooking class

with one of my grandies today

we had

a fast-working sur la table pastry chef

 equipment, ingredients, and time

 we both worked hard for 2 hours

improvised along the way

 scrambled to find things

as the chef added in a few surprises

like making two royal icings

of different consistencies

all while

white chocolate melted

dark chocolate melted

not burning

never mixing

coloring the icings

buttering and chilling the pan

twice

after many, many steps

 we had pretty much trashed the entire kitchen

but in the end

we had created

wonderful french madelines – vanilla bean halloween style

 more tiny cakes than cookies.

“cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. and cooking done with care is an act of love.”

-craig claiborne

 

butter on your birthday.

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“i was 32 when i started cooking; up until then i just ate.” -jc

happy memorial birthday to julia child,

american chef extraordiniare , rebel, eccentric, pioneer, lover of all things butter

and the one who brought the art of french cooking to america.

“with enough butter anything is good.”

-julia child

“miss child is never bashful with butter”

-phil donahue 

 

jc -i plan to whittle a stick of butter into a smaller stick of butter today in your honor. 

 

 

image credits: (b/w) google. com, (color) butter sculptures, pennsylvania state fair

 

 

 

toast.

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I’m not gonna’ lie, i’m pretty good with toast.

 

“What is the right way to cut a piece of toast?”Diagonally, insists the narrator in NIcholson Baker’s novel “The Mezzanine.” It creates a “triangularly cut slice” which in turn yields “an ideal first bit.” With rectangular toast, you must “angle the shape into your mouth, as you angle a big dresser through a hall doorway.” (Dwight Garner, NYT book critic’s new essay on the literature of breakfast food.)

“i have trouble with toast. toast is very difficult.

you have to watch it all the time or it burns up.”

-julia child, master chef (1912-2004)

 

credits: New York Times, Dwight Garner, Nicholson Baker,”The Mezzanine”, google images

primavera.

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watched a live cooking lesson

with chef isabella

working from her home kitchen

making pasta primavera

she’s italian, passionate, spirited, direct

naturally hysterical

i learned some techniques

as well as

her recipe, hand gestures, italian numbers, and lots of improv skills

at one point in the lesson

part of her burner broke

she just cursed and moved to another

there was a live feed for the 500 of us who were watching

at one point, her husband, pazzo, who was helping

made his own funny comment to the viewers on the feed

pazzo to everyone:

“omg, lmao. $100 says that stove is gone when the quarantine is over…if not sooner!”

no wonder they are married

no wonder it was all so fun

no wonder i’m going to make pasta primavera

brilliant, every minute.

“i’m not sure I’d write a good cookbook, but I might make a good cooking show.”

-christopher walken