Several weekes ago, I learned that a mother whose daughters are and have been members of our 4-H Club has been diagnosed with cancer. As I do when a crisis hits, I turn to the comfort of food. I feel the need to cook for whomever is hurting and try to make everything better with a casserole...I only wish the fix were something so simple this time. For several days, I let the knowledge of this family's struggle sit with me as I wondered exactly what to do...this was bigger that a casserole. I know that this lady is a very private person and was not sharing her diagnosis with many people yet. I don't know her very well and I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable or overstep my bounds so I contacted a mutual friend and together we formulated a plan. I wanted to have the kids in my cooking project prepare multiple meals for the family's freezer. Last Saturday was the day and we went to work. I worried about this meeting more than usual and wanted it to be organized and smooth. Lollipop Pop and I had already figured out what food to make, but I needed a plan of attack. I sat down with my recipes and began making tally marks for things like number of carrots, celery, shredded cheese, etc. I then created a master list and time line which I taped to the cupboards about the work stations. As a kidnick completed a task, they crossed it off and moved on. (I took a picture of this, but must have deleted it)
It worked like a charm and gave the kids a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that they were contributing to something larger than just chopping carrots...and they were. Not only were they prepping items to be added into a specific recipe, they were adding love, compassion and support to a family in need. Throughout the day, I would find myself talking to one kidnick or another. They asked questions and shared their thoughts with me. Most of them have been touched very closely by this devastating disease and I have could not be more proud of a bunch of kids. They are remarkable now and I look forward to witnessing the type of adults they will become. They will be awesome!
Here is a list of what these 6 kids prepared and links to some of the recipes.
Chicken Soup (from scratch)
Baked Oatmeal (Terrific for breakfast or a snack... I thought I have posted this before, but can't find it...I will share the recipe soon)
Ham Filled Crepes (The kids made this at our last meeting. It was fun to see them make it on their own this time)
Taco Meat (I can not find the original recipe source...ground beef, cooked rice, Peach/Mango Salsa and Black Beans. We froze this in 3 cup servings)
Ravioli Casserole (I will share this recipe soon)
I also made a batch of sugar cookie dough to freeze.
In addition to preparing, packaging and labeling these items, they jumped in and dried the dishes as I washed and in no time, the kitchen was put back together...just in time for the Mini Member Meeting that I scheduled...seriously, they are fantastic young people!