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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Volunteer Day

I know that it is bad that I haven't volunteered in many years, but I am, along with my children, going to start today. Officially we did this last Tuesday, but that was the food bank. Our assignment is actually in the kitchen of the First Baptist Church (I hope lightening doesn't strike me down!) making dinners for families in hotels.  Having been homeless before I know how hard it is to cook anything, which makes food banks fairly useless. I can only imagine being homeless with kids. I am not sure who puts them up in hotels, it may be a government agency, but I am pretty sure that they are waiting for government assisted housing. No matter how long it takes to get on that housing list, they only get a certain amount of time in a motel waiting. After that they are on their own and hopefully have a phone and address so they can be reached when they get housing.
The last time I volunteered was when Pippy was in kindergarten. I was a classroom helper one day a week and an assistant to the librarian a day or two more. Not much I know, but given my conditions at the time, it was pretty good. I really loved the kindergarten though, but I don't think that I could have handled it full time like the teacher did. She had a lot of undiagnosed kids in her room. I don't throw medical labels on anyone easily, but there were at least four in her room that were extremely distractible, much more so than the average five year old. I also shadowed a child who may have had autism. They were all super sweet though, and I loved helping to guide them in activities and reading aloud to them. They were very well behaved for me, which gave me some confidence. Great kids.
Now, for last nights dinner. I used things from both the vegetable box and from the food bank. The eggs, powdered milk, cheese and fresh artichokes all came from the food bank. The chopped broccoli and onions were from the food box. I go back and forth about the food box. One one hand we really can't afford to be eating organic, local vegetables. On the other hand, I don't want my kids to eat things with pesticides and my beliefs dictate that we try to eat local to save on green house gases. So, we will be getting it for as long as we can manage. It does help us to eat far more vegetables, which is really good.

This would have looked nicer had I taken the picture while it was still in the cast iron pan, but I forgot to do it. This is a frittata, or as the Spanish would call it, la tortilla de espanol. It is six scrambled eggs beaten with the powdered milk and cheese poured over cooked artichoke hearts (may I say that was bothersome and I got poked a few times, all in good fun!), onions and chopped broccoli. Once I poured the egg mix in and it started to set up I sprinkled some quartered grape tomatoes on the top (also from our food box) and set it under the broiler to finish cooking. Paige ate it all and asked for seconds, which we didn't have but still, yay! I mean who would have thought my picky eater would even take a bite of such a thing, never mind want more.

A word about my cast iron pans. I am very attached to them. They were handed down through the generations and even though they had to be stripped a couple times due to misuse, there are now a slick surfaces on which even eggs hardly stick too. Fat still needs to be used for both keeping things from sticking and to keep the pan seasoned though. I know for a fact that my grandmother had these pans and it is possible that my great grandmother also used them. I have a set of the smallish skillet, a chicken fryer with a lid and a very small one that I love using for cornbread. I thought for ages that I couldn't cook red sauce for pasta, come to find out, tomatoes don't love cast iron. Live and learn.


  1. Tomatoes love iron; they love to EAT it! LOL! I found that out the hard way, too!

  2. I couldn't understand why sauce was so difficult for me. Now I understand why my mother's tomato based meals tasted so gross. Well, she isn't the best cook either, but this was extra special yucky.