Tag Archives: Share Our Strength

Food Bloggers Against Hunger

Today, along with more than 200 other food bloggers, I am devoting my post to the issue of food hunger in the USA. I do this not just because as a restaurant reviewer I am literally paid to eat, but for a reason that up until now I have shared with almost no one.

English: Saltine Crackers by Nabisco.

English: Saltine Crackers by Nabisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a child, my parents struggled to put food on the table for me and my six siblings. A typical breakfast when I was five consisted of Saltine crackers smeared, barely, with butter, and coffee cut with evaporated milk because fresh milk was too costly. My siblings and I still joke about the ketchup sandwiches we had for lunch. We ate pasta at minimum three nights a week, often four, and often with only olive oil and garlic. The recipe at the end of this post pays homage to this.

Hunger in the USA

The statistics are staggering:
– 1 in 4 children don’t know where their next meal will come from
– 50 million American kids will go hungry tonight
– Food stamp recipients are allowed $4 a day. (What did you pay for your coffee on the way to work this morning?) And Congress is looking to cut back on food assistance programs!

To get some idea of the seriousness of the situation, check out this trailer for the film documentary ‘A Place at the Table.’ (It’s short and includes music by Mumford & Sons.) The film features Tom Colicchio, among other celebrities. If Tom thinks this is an important issue, don’t you?

Craft - Chef Tom Colicchio

(Photo credit: ZagatBuzz)

A Place at the Table is showing in limited theaters, but you can view it on demand through iTunes and Amazon.

A Call to Action

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Private sector programs and charities are not enough; policy change is required. Join Share Our Strength’s effort and send a letter to Congress today demanding action. I have.


Why this recipe today? Well, my daughters – even the picky eater – happily ate it as children; it’s quick, cheap, easy to make, and utilizes inexpensive pantry staples; it’s delicious and reminds me of my Italian-American heritage.

1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 clove garlic, chopped (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 35-ounce can whole Italian plum tomatoes, crushed by hand or chopped, liquid included
1 tablespoon olive oil (or more, enough to cover bottom of pan)
Salt, to taste
1 pound shell pasta, cooked according to directions

In a large skillet or wide-bottom pot saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat until garlic just begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and pepper and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (still bubbling), for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have lost their metallic taste. Add beans and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meantime, cook pasta. Drain and add to bean mixture and simmer, tossing gently, for 1 minute.
Serves 4 to 6.

Spring Dining & How This Year’s Taste of the Nation in Princeton is Different

2oth Year for Share Our Strength’s Princeton Benefit will be a Locavore’s Dream

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve been attending this event over the years – in Princeton or elsewhere around the state – you know the drill. Tastes of great restaurant food and great drink – wine, beer, and spirits. Nifty foodie-centric auction items. You know that 100% of your money goes to an excellent cause because nationally Taste of the Nation has raised more than $73 million to fight childhood hunger.

Jim Weaver

Jim Weaver (Photo credit: pplflickr)

This year’s event mixes things up a bit. Sure, there will still be impressive restaurants (Elements in Princeton and Michael White’s Due Mari in New Brunswick to name just two). But it will also be a celebration and reunion of sorts for the pioneers of our state’s locavore movement, whose stories are captured in the book Locavore Adventures. In it, chef Jim Weaver relates how he and a small group came to found one of the first Slow Food chapters in the US, and introduces readers to the wildly diverse cast of characters whose businesses have changed the way New Jerseyans and the entire New York metropolitan area eat.

Among those with products on hand for tasting: Atlantic Cape Fisheries (which brought the Delaware Bay Oyster to national attention), The Bent Spoon, Griggstown Quail Farm, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Mosefund Mangalitsa, Salumeria Biellese, and Zone 7.

Other key differences and changes this year:

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location: Tre Piani Restaurant in Forrestal Village off Route 1 – Jim Weaver’s own place, and the site of the first meeting of what would become Slow Food Central NJ

Day and time: Sunday afternoon, May 20, from 2 to 5 pm. (In the past Taste has been held on a Monday evening)

For a complete list of participating restaurants and vendors (I have only scratched the surface here), and to purchase tickets visit www.strength.org/princeton/

The Spring Dining Issue of US 1 is Out!

I’ve had the privilege of writing the cover stories for US 1 newspaper’s spring and fall dining issues for years now and the latest issue has hit the newsstands. In it I profile the folks behind six Central New Jersey ethnic restaurants – a couple of which you’ve read about in this blog (Alps Bistro & Mercer Street Grill) the rest of which are new finds that I haven’t featured previously: Antimo’s Italian Kitchen, El Tule, Ploy Siam, and Tete. Bon appetit!