COLUMBIA, Missouri-- I am game to believe a cape is just an apron worn backwards. I didn't laugh so much as nod when I read these words online. With so many grim situations in the news, we need our superheroes close to home. If you have my penchant of wanting to fix things now (stamp your foot if you agree) these are trying times. Not the least of our collective worries are the forced migrations of thousands due to conflict. Indeed, these are days to remember where we all came from, individually and as groups sometimes leaving terrible circumstances, through history. It's time again to offer welcome and to offer a moment of calm to those on uncertain journeys.
What makes a welcome in a new land is often how you feel when eating a meal. Are you embraced by the community? Are you warm and comfortable and and able to savor the soul of the place? Or, do you feel alone? Chefs and all good cooks know this story. How it ends depends on all of us.
The person who cooks brings a critical and always magical element to the table. As the wonderful community project, The Common Ingredient, implies in its name, love makes all the difference (click here to know more how we help the food insecure locally). As chefs have increasingly become activists, that cape-apron idea rises. World Central Kitchen--a nonprofit founded by chef José Andres provides food to communities in need-- and many other chefs also work on behalf of the food insecure. In addition, even without chef credentials, many have embraced food as activism.
I loved reading that World Central Kitchen offers schwarma and spinach as first meals to Afghan refugees as they land in America. Modest food, necessary sustenance, a simply powerful welcome. Those, perhaps especially children, yearning for comfort and a taste of home, must have felt the will of those cooks. I can only hope one of the memories the evacuees carry forward is this full-on show of care.
May you be able to help.
In whatever ways you can, whenever you can.
From Tricycle: "Forget about things done or left to do. Forget about deadlines and milestones, profits and quotas. Those will be taken care of—they always are. So don’t worry. Whenever a being appears in front of you, just love them. That is your focus. That’s where the real work lies." —Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, “Just Love Them”