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Guest post by Andre Roux, Director of 25 Farms, My CSA go to and Chef of Hunger, Faith & Food Conference…

Butter Lettuce
Kale

Hot off the heels of the Hunger Faith and Food Conference. 

Well, the conference was a success! In partnering with about a dozen non-profit organizations around Denver, we were able to make a meal for about 200 people. The only problem we ran into was that the biggest storm in a decade hit Denver and the city basically shut down. That put a damper on things. We still had about 100 people in attendance, but the meal moved forward nonetheless.

Above, are two pictures from the event taken by someone with a cellphone (weather prevented the professional photographed from showing up). The pictures and the plating aren’t great, but I’m confident we had the busiest lunch in Denver that day, so I won’t complain.   Both meals are made from rice and beans and the same base ingredients, but are radically different from one another. The basic meal is a SNAP benefit meal of rice and beans with commonly available condiments (a Have-Not meal). The other meal (a Have’s Meal) is a rice flour ravioli, stuffed with fermented black beans, creamy risotto cooked in a vegetable stock, smoked shiitake mushrooms, served with a sundried tomato mousse, and tomato-infused pepper oils. Again, the ingredients were almost identical for each meal, but we wanted to show-taste-touch-smell-swallow, the difference that access to resources makes in the lives of those who live in poverty and those who do not. 

Food is a very powerful communicator. How we eat can say more about how we live than what jobs we have, cars we drive, and friends we keep. For some of us, our eating habits can compete with our closest family and friends in describing who we are; the grab-and-go foods, the midnight-fridge-raids, family dinner nights, comfort food, and the junk food dancing in our mouths like nobody is watching! All of these are just a few ways food betrays our deepest intimacies and relationships with the outside world. Tell me HOW a person eats for 25 days, and I’ll show you everything you would want to know about that person. Our identities are right there in front of our noses: income levels, world location, education, job type, stress-level, free-time, family-time, food allergies, I can go on for a while and I bet you could too. There was a study a while back that demonstrated a correlation between people who parked by reversing into the parking space and people who were successful in life. Reverse-parkers demonstrate a higher than average ability to delay gratification and therefore are on average more successful in life.  Just imagine what your food says about your ability to delay gratification and be successful.  In a country struggling with an obesity epidemic, food is the biggest struggle we face with self-control while at the same time also the most masked systemic exploitation of eaters by corporations providing low-cost unhealthy food to the public and then claiming it’s just the public’s responsibility and lack of self-control that leads to obesity. These two pictures encapsulate food for me and express the tensions of it. While I’m not aiming for an art project here (some James Franco thing), I feel this tension in a food system that is both broken and beautiful, and cannot genuinely do one without exposing the other. It is the Ugh and Mhmm of Food. Jekyll and Hyde on a plate. 

In closing, I ask: What does the food of 25 Farms say about our daily lives? Our value of living wages? Of healthy eating? Of convenience? Of relationships? 

André

IN YOUR DELIVERY THIS WEEK!
Butter Lettuce
Kale
Swiss Chard
Green Star Lettuce
Romaine
Tatsoi
Mint
Blank

From The GrowHaus:
Butter Lettuce
Kale
Greenstar Lettuce

From Colorado Aquaponics:
Tatsoi
Rainbow Chard
Mint
Romaine Lettuce

WHAT’S COOKING?

Here’s what every salad needs:

Vegetables [Greens/Raw/Grilled/Roasted/Pickled]
+ Dressing [Vinaigrette/Creamy]
+ Crunchies [Seeds/Nuts/Croutons/Granola]
+ Optional Protein [Meat/Cheese/More Cheese]
+ Optional Extras [Herbs/Fruit/Grains/Etc.]
= Salad!

summer-squash-slaw-with-feta-and-toasted-buckwheat
Is Summer Squash Slaw a salad? You bet it is. Photo: Christina Holmes

The Veg
Look, it’s a salad. You’re going to need to put some veggies in there. 

Choose at least one, or as many as you want:
Greens: Raw greens are what most people think when they hear the word “salad.” And with good reason: Most greens are better eaten fresh. Choose tender lettuce leaves and greens, like spinach, Bibb or Little Gem, for more delicate salads; spicy or bitter greens, like arugula, dandelion greens, or chicory, for bossy vinaigrettes; or sturdy greens, like thinly sliced kale, for marinated and massaged salads.

Raw: Lettuce and greens aren’t the only ones who can go raw. Try using a vegetable peeler to make fibrous veggies more palatable (looking at you, asparagus). For crunchy vegetables, like kohlrabi, just chop them into bite-size pieces and throw them in. For usually-cooked vegetables, like beetsand squash, either slice them very thinly or grate them to make them easier to digest. 

Grilled: Grilling vegetables like alliums, squash, eggplant, and more, adds smokiness and, depending on how aggressive you get, a nice char. If you can dream it, you can grill it (yep, even greens)—so provided your Weber is at the ready, feel free to toss those veggies on the barbie.

Roasted: And, as the saying goes: If you can grill it, you can roast it. At least, it’s a saying now. Go easy on the oil, so your vegetables aren’t weighted down with grease.

Pickled: Pickled vegetables add a funky, fermented note, and bump up the flavor in a big way. Combine them with raw vegetables or greens for a one-two punch; they’re a bit too intense to make up an entire salad.

grilled-zucchini-and-leeks-with-walnuts-and-herbs
Grilled veg, a bracing vinaigrette, crunchy nuts, and fresh herbs? Yep, it’s a salad. Photo: Ryan Liebe

The Dressing
Without a dressing, your salad is just a sad bowl of vegetables. 

Choose one
Vinaigrette: A classic vinaigrette is made with fat and acid; traditionally, olive oil and either vinegar or lemon juice. But these days, you can get crazy with your vinaigrettes. Feel free to add warm bacon fat (it will solidify at room temperature), or experiment with a variety of vinegars and citrus juices.

Thick and Creamy: Hearty salads with big flavors can stand up to creamy, rich dressings like ranch or buttermilk. Not sure what dressing your salad can handle? This guide breaks it down.

collard-greens-salad-with-ginger-and-spicy-seed-brittle
Spicy seed brittle takes this collard greens salad to the next level. Photo: Nicole Franzen

The Crunchies
Having something to really sink your teeth into makes any salad feel more satisfying.

Choose at lease one, or as many as you want:
Seeds: Some of our favorite options: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds (go easy on ’em; too many can taste fishy), sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds.

Nuts: Toast them first to bring out their flavor, and chop them for easier bites.

Croutons: We like homemade. Use any old loaf you have on hand. Or, pita bread!

Savory Granola: We always keep a batch of this close-by. Cayenne and fennel makes it savory.

pomegranate-molasses-chicken-with-bulgur-salad
Chicken! Bulgur! Pistachios! This salad has a little bit of everything—and not too much of anything. Photo: Peden + Munk

The Optionals
You could certainly stop there. But why not make it a meal?

Choose as many as you want.
Fresh herbs: Add big handfuls of tender and soft herbs, like mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil. These work better with lighter vinaigrettes than thick dressings.

Fruit: Think beyond the berry. If it’s ripe and ready, why not? Choose fruits that are complementary in flavor to the rest of your ingredients. Yes, avocado counts. Equally tasty: dried fruit, like raisins, dried cranberries, or dehydrated apple. 

Protein: Cold leftover roasted chicken, hot and crispy ground lambpoached eggs, basically any cheese ever… a little protein goes a long way when it comes to rounding out a salad. But let the vegetables be the star; there’s a time and a place for an ax-handle steak, and it’s not on your kale.

Grains & Carbs: The easiest way to bulk up a salad is with a small addition of cooked grains, like quinoa, bulgur, couscousbarleyfarrowheat berries…you get the picture. Be mindful that the grains will soak up more dressing than the veg, so adjust accordingly.
Originally written by Rochelle Billow, published at Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/how-to-make-a-perfect-salad

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This slideshow includes photos from  Jyamrunz, about 1 month after the initial 7.8 earthquake April 25th. Dil’s wife and son, Madhu and Diwash, walked 2 hours on foot to visit with family, old friends, and neighbors and assess the damage.

Now, nearly two months post quake, thanks to your support and Dil’s diligence, tremendous progress to rebuild Jyamrunz has been made.

For me, a slight twinge of accomplishment pulls at my heartstrings when I look at these pictures, but I’m somewhat familiar with these faces (Dil’s family) and these places (in Nepal).

What is it like for you?

My wish is for you to feel that you have helped. With everyone’s generosity, we have raised over $8,000 USD in credit card donations on giving forward and received nearly $750 USD in cash or checks. All the money (less 7.3% for processing) has not only been wired directly to Dil’s bank account, but it has already been spent!

Diligence is an appropriate term to refer to Dil’s name and Dil’s character. Words cannot explain how altruistic this man is. (Hopefully, the gesture of naming my puppy in honor of him portrays my extreme level of admiration for this hero, Dil Sapkota!)

The money has already been spent because Dil worked diligently to provide shelter for his village before Monsoon season.  (Which has arrived this week, creating landslides which prevents all transportation to Jyamrunz 🙁 To get to the village is now a 5-6 hour trek on foot). Dil went out of his way to rent a truck, buy zinc roofs  directly from a factory.These roofs protect from the fierce rains.

Here is Dil’s direct account of the trip:

“The Zink  roof (Tin) is the most important support for the families as monsoon is ahead of them  that they are building their simple houses. The Zink roof demand is very high at the moment and we do not have enough production. So, I had to go to the factory  as  could not find zink in the shops and  would have  taken  so long till I get zink sheets but  Saturday I took the bus to low land of Nepal (Narayanghat) and able to buy 405 sheets of Rajesh zink and went to the village  with truck. As you see on pictures that was so fantastic to see families  getting  the  roofs now.
So far few  houses completed and  started living, some are half  way to finish  as they were  waiting for roofs and about 17 families are  on the process to build. They now need  bamboo  and  woods  to  complete the building. So, I am giving some cash for that. The next project is to help women who lost their husbands (Windows)  who need  more then others.
I also collecting  few  hundred  dollars from other people too,  so  we are supporting for 32 families and some widows.”
 His efforts are beautifully displayed in these photographs:

In all, Dil and his family’s dedication on foot, and your support emotionally and financially, has resulted in the following progress to rebuild the village:

  • 9 houses re-constructed (17 building)
  • Tent, tripling, foods & cash distribution on the first stage    
  • Zink Roofs for 32 families
  • 23 widows Cash distribution 
  • School building construction   
  • $300 fund for continued emergency support of village

Thank you! Thank you! Dhanyabad! Dil let me know in our last correspondence that the people of Jymarunz are asking how to honor all our donors: YOU.

For me, the experience of surviving this natural disaster has been transformative to say the least. I feel so soo far away and personally struggle with feeling like I am not doing enough to help. If my mother had not brought me Dil (the pup) a week after returning home, I would have flown right back. Perhaps its the martyrdom in me and I am dealing with that in my own way. Now this precious ball of fur has been dubbed “Statesider” and his unconditional love, and adorable face is therapeutic.

Me and Dil the Pup

Not an hour passes without me thinking of Nepal. The spellbinding peaks. The smiling people. The tragedy and the resilience. My mind flashes back to grandpa shuddering, crying in the cold dirt moments after the first quake; Eshish, the most brilliant young man (seriously MIT keep your eye on this 16yo) and I discussing politics between aftershocks; Trying to calm the terrified stranger grasping my shoulder and screaming as we huddled in the street downtown Kathmandu during the 6.7. There are magical memories too: Paragliding over Pokhara and feeling safe above the trembling earth for the first time in a week; Manisha’s smile as she opened her birthday cards and presents from Lauren, Samed, & me; Indulging in the first protein in 40 days- the excess smoked trout that the german woman downstairs could not sell at the closed market;  In the tented sea of 100 nepali neighbors, the man softly sharing jokes making parents chuckle as they swaddle their sleeping babies. Oh the humanness in us all is inspirational!

Sometimes I break down and cry when I am alone- humbled by life itself. Sometimes ebullience explodes in my gut- feeling as though I have been blessed with a second chance in life.

Every breath of my existence is now a breath towards purpose, progress, peace.

My point in writing this is to thank you. Please look at these pictures and know you have helped. Your support has evidently rebuilt a village, but is also helping to rebuild me.

I love you and I appreciate you.

Dhanyabad,

<3 Hallie LouLou

EEEEEE

You can also continue to support Dil’s Village here: Re-build  Dil’s Village

Share your EEE Moment! Your SEOT?

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This natural disaster is a recipe to change you, especially when you are a world traveler at the end of your journey who has escaped for one last spontaneous adventure to Nepal.
Flight over Kathmandu 3 Hours before Earthquake

Flight over Kathmandu 3 Hours before Earthquake

My flight landed 3 hours and 6 minutes before the 7.9 rocked not only my world, but our planet from Katmandu to Dehli.

Lauren, a travel companion met in India the month before, and I had booked an airbnb room for one night.

Lauren and I Landed- Excited to trek across Nepal

Lauren and I Landed- Excited to trek across Nepal

We were drawn to Dil’s Home Stays, located in Kathmandu, because of the rooftop view and positive reviews of Dil’s hospitality on AirBnB.

More than Just a Room in Kathmandu- AirBnB confirmation

More than Just a Room in Kathmandu- AirBnB confirmation

From the instant Dil picked us up at the airport we sensed his outrageously genuine character.

Dil- The most Hospitable Man on the Planet

Dil- The most Hospitable Man on the Planet

This hospitable attitude radiated through his home as his two polite and smiling teenagers Manisha ( Daughter 17)and Diwas (Son 14)

Manisha Lauren and I

Manisha Lauren and I

Diwas Lauren and I

Diwas Lauren and I

greeted us with fresh garden grow lemongrass tea. As we sipped this sweet concoction, thinking life was too good to be true, thoughts raced of the adventure ahead. However, Dil was quite insistent on resting at the house since we had endured a long journey from Rishikesh India and we hadn’t slept in 24 hours.

We and had just settled into our lovely bedroom when the quake hit.

Bedroom at Dil's

Bedroom at Dil’s

Both on our beds ready for a noon nap, we felt a tremor. Then the tremor did not stop, and adrenaline kicked in, and we both stared at each other and questioned- is this an earthquake? We were like scared puppies on all fours, legs out, arms spread, eyes wide, unsure of the world. What do two tourists who have never experienced an earthquake before do in a situation like this? Let alone in a foreign country? Instinctually, we clamoured to the doorframe and reminded ourselves to breathe. Like true millenials we googled, “what to do in an earthquake”, but the Internet was already wiped out. We moved into the living room. The tremors were so strong we could not walk without falling over yet somehow, amoungst the clanking walls, Lauren managed to smoothly move the heavy box TV from the glass table onto the floor as I awkwardly juggled a plastic vase.  (The significance of my contribution in saving important household items vs Lauren’s is laughable in retrospect!) We were thinking of Dil and his family and saving his home in these brief moments.

As we knelt with fright, holding hands, time seemed to stop, yet we realized how dangerous our situation was and that we needed to get outside quickly. We pushed thoughts of the house caving in on us away. Suddenly, our guesthouse owner’s 14 year old son Diwas rushed up the stairs. Our knight in shining armor, he gave us direction when we most needed it. His concern was helping his grandfather, Lauren and me down the 2 flights of stairs. This Nepali brother is so incredibly brave.
Chaos ensued outside in a whirlwind of mothers screaming, babies crying, and the entire community rushing towards the terraced dirt field. It seemed like minutes had passed and the earth was still reverberating violently. Once you are in a supposedly safe place where buildings will not topple and crush your body, your imagination starts to race. At least mine did. As the trembles forced me to the earth, my mother flooded my mind. She is all I could think of. What would she do if I died? I didn’t want her to worry about me. I wanted my mother, and father, and sister and brother, and everyone to know that I had lived a wonderful life and that I loved them. Then self preservation mode kicks back in… What if the quake gets worse? What if the earth cracks open at my feet? You construct survival scenarios in your mind and life moves in slow motion: if the blue building falls, I’ll go there; If that house topples over, I’ll grab the terrified little girl whose mother has hands full with two screaming toddlers. This first earthquake was a maze of memories flashing before my eyes and being frozen in the trembling world.
Suddenly, the senselessly shaking earth came to a hault. We had made it. At least for now. We had little idea what had just happened and didn’t for hours in that field. Two blond white girls (they considered me blonde, I know 😉 in a sea of strangers who instantaneously welcomed us and told us we were beautiful. Looking back, we probably were a cheerful distraction to what was happening. But we didn’t know what was happening. No information. No communicaiton. No electricity. No idea when the next tremor would come. And they did come. According to the USAID site, more than 20 aftershocks—ranging between magnitude 4.5 and 6.6—followed the initial earthquake that afternoon alone.  Unpredictably, every couple of minutes the ground rumbled and fear darted deep into us, every time like a knife re-piercing our hearts. You could hear it in the screams of little kids as their resilient laughter vanished into a run for their mother’s arms. This conundrum between panic and remaining calm is an exercise in self realization unlike anything I have ever known.
Through all this terror, Dil’s family was our strength.

Dil, Diwas, Grandpa, Manisha, Madhu and I finding hope post quake

Dil, Diwas, Grandpa, Manisha, Madhu and I finding hope post quake

Kathmandu View

Kathmandu View

Words cannot explain how grateful I am to be part of this Nepali family and for the protection they provided. They put us- Samed, Lauren and I (the pack), three American guests they had met moments earlier- first in every sense of the word. The entire neighborhood, nearly 100 Nepali people, and the 3 Guests, spooned on top of each other outside that first night, keeping each other warm, keeping each other safe. “Guests are gods in our culture” they proclaimed. 

The tents we "spooned" in

The tents we “spooned” in

For the next week, Dil, Madhu, Diwas, Manisha, Grandpa and the entire neighborhood ensured we were comfortable; feeding us plentiful meals, serving us hot tea, setting aside water for us to wash, and sacrificing their own resources even when devastating news from their home villages was trickling in.

Dill serving us breakfast on his rooftop 2 days post initial earthquake

Dill serving us breakfast on his rooftop 2 days post initial earthquake

Conversing with Dil

Conversing with Dil

Dil’s immediate family, his mother and brother, still live in his hometown of Jyamrunz, a village near Gorkha, the epicenter of the quake where images of extreme damage and casualty continue to flood the world news.  After four days of continual tremors and no communication from his village, a call finally came through. All 7 of us were sitting around their dining room table eating by candlelight (the power was still out), celebrating Manisha’s 17th birthday, when Dill’s phone rang. Luckily, his family and friends were unharmed but their was a quiver in his voice exclaiming that the house he had grown up in, where his mother still resides, and collapsed. He shared that no aid has been able to reach the village due to landslides and rain blocking the pathto where he grew up.

Pray for Nepal

Pray for Nepal

My heart sunk imagining his beloved mother standing in the rain, upon the rubble where she raised Dil’s 9 brothers and sisters. The images on the news now have such a piercing personal connection for me. Over dinner that evening, Dil shared stories of his entire family uniting in that house. There were over 50 grandchildren now. So many cousins and brothers and kids and granddaughters that everyone would have to eat dinner in shifts. He didn’t know how and where everyone managed to sleep in that house the nights they were all together. He smiled as he spoke of these jovial reunions. Then, solemnly he sighed: Thinking out loud he mentioned he might never see some of them again since the house was gone. We all fell silent.

Neighborhood Tents

Neighborhood Tents

Collapsing Buildings

Collapsing Buildings

2015-05-03 11.36.23

We watched this hospital collapse during the second big aftershock of 6.7 magnitude

What Kathmandu Looks Like

What Kathmandu Looks Like

The most impactful way we can thank Dil and the Sapkota family for their graciousness is to give back. Thus, Lauren, Samed, and I (The Pack) have organized a fund to aid Dil’s family and home village, Jyamrunz.  Therefore, in honor of your friendship with me, please do what you can to spread awareness to as many people as possible by spreading the love we received from our Nepali friends and by helping raise funds for the millions of thirsty, hungry and shelterless families throughout Nepal.
Dil’s family resided in Jyamrunz, near Gorkha, the epicenter of the earthquake, and our Pack is happy to say that we will be transferring funds to Dil’s account (in small amounts to avoid any Nepali government intervention aka taxing and bribing). This money will be used to buy clothing, food and supplies for the devastated families and hospitals in the region. I’m hereby assuring that not a single dollar will go to any other cause, you can hold me fully accountable!
The Pack: Lauren, Samed, and I

The Pack: Lauren, Samed, and I

If you can help, literally every dollar, dirham, pound, rial or rupee will help. The average Nepali makes around 120 – 150 dollars A MONTH. So your $20 is about 17% of the total monthly income of a working and fortunate Nepali. The nights are cold, people have already began protesting against their government because of slow aid to help, and families are hungry. It would mean a lot to me, The Pack, Dil’s family, and the nearly 30 million Nepali people if you contributed.

May God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna or whatever you believe in bless you and keep your families safe, healthy, and well.
Surviving a natural disaster like this instantly prioritizes what is most important in life- hospitality, gratitude, resilience, and uniting the greatness inside us all.
Thanks for sharing my personal experience.
This is only one story of the millions affected. You can read my fellow travelers stories here:
Samed: If you’re not moving, you’re slowly dying
Lauren Tyner: My Story
Stay posted for Earthquake Footage YouTube video uploads on the EEETHEWORLD YouTube channel
Share your EEE Moment! Your SEOT?

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