#hungeraction month

September is Hunger Action month, and so ye ol blog is going orange in support. Here's why:

Just over a year ago, I was exhibiting at a conference for a tech company that I occasionally work for, one that creates software to track and treat foster children in major US cities. I went to dinner one night with colleagues - this guy and one of the nation's leading experts on foster-child care and treatment. We sat talking and a few minutes after our food came, when Jim and Janet were just getting started with theirs, I realized that mine? It was gone.

So now I'm totally freaking embarrassed, like I am every single time this happens in front of people howthehelldoesthiskeephappeninginfrontofpeople? let alone a Harvard grad and a seriously big-deal colleague, and so of course Jim diffuses the situation for me like he always does - by finding a way to compliment me for it. "Shannon eats fast, like it's her superpower fast." Janet looked at me, smiled, and said, "Aaahh, you're food-insecure." I minimize the whole thing, saying, "I'm just a fast eater. My brother is a fast eater, too. We're fast eaters." and she said, "Oh, honey, no you're not." She pointed at her full plate, then my empty one, and said, "THAT'S food insecurity."

I am your average thirty-something, middle class, slightly overweight, white mother of three kids and a dog, and I am food insecure, from growing up so far below the poverty line we couldn't even see it.

And I didn't even know it. But now I do, because I was able to talk about it. And you know what? I don't feel so ashamed about it anymore.

There are so many stories I have to tell about growing up right next door to middle class white suburbia and literally starving. I want to tell you about the woman who, out of her own pocket, made every hungry child in our neighborhood breakfast one day a month. I want to tell you about the people who showed up on my doorstep one night with a bag full of Thanksgiving dinner and changed the direction of my life. I want to talk about how caustic silence is, how easy it is to question yourself and blame yourself when you're surrounded by a bunch of people who refuse to acknowledge the emaciating elephant in the room. 

I want to talk about how important it is to acknowledge the emaciated elephant in the room, and do something - anything- about it. I weighed 45 pounds in middle school and no one questioned it. That's not okay.

I want to talk about how easy it is to help the 1 in 5 children in America right now who are thanking god right now that school is back in session, because they at least know they'll get one hot meal a day until their next break. I want to talk about the changes schools have made to help those children never know the shame I knew of being the free lunch kid, helping them not make the choice to go hungrier because they can't bear hunger and ridicule. 

September is Hunger Action month, and I am so super proudly donating my time, my blog, my social networks, and my stories to Feeding America to help spread awareness about the hunger crisis in our country. 1 in 5 children know what I know, and that is 1 in 5 kids too many. No one should know what I know, not here, not waaaay over there on some other continent, not anywhere. 

Giving people access to food, especially real food, is life-changing. Showing people there is no shame in needing is life-changing. Helping people - tossing good, real, whole food into the donation tubs, or working at the food bank, or giving your kids' teacher some snacks to hand out to a kid she sees didn't get any breakfast again - is life-changing. Giving $1 to help organizations like Feeding America feed up to 8 families, that is huge. Talking about these issues in your community, with your neighbors and friends and peers and colleagues and children, this changes people's lives. Helping a parent feed their kids without them having to ask you for that help first tells those parents and those kids that they matter to you, they matter to someone, they are worth something

Anything makes a difference, and everything matters. Visit Hunger Action Month's info page at Feeding America to learn how you can help. Turn your avatars on Facebook and Twitter orange here, to show your support. 

Talking about this also changes lives. I'll be posting about this regularly through the month. I hope you're able to join me. 

Things I Suck At, and Things I Don't.


Turns out, I'm just too lazy to post on my blog every day. So it goes. 

It's been a long time since I've posted a Super Saturday Supper, mostly because it's been a long time since I've attempted to be a blogger, and somewhat because geez, food blogging blew *up* and I am after all poor, humble hipster, but partly because I've been guilty of more of this than I care to admit.

I'm trying to do less of all of those things.

So I cooked some this week, and this

turned into this

and it's all the Pioneer Woman's fault. The recipe is here and it is *stupidly* good.

As for tonight, well, let's just say that maybe I hate bacon, but I sure do love me some dead pig.

There is no recipe for that. It's made of win and brown sugar and some other shit.

I suck at food blogging.

Next week, the full Thanksgiving menu goes up, even if it ends up just being soup. I'm kind of on a soup kick. Sue me.

My standard Thanksgiving full menu is here

My variations of the turkey and potatoes are here.

Recessive Genes

I am really nothing at all like my mother, which is convenient for me because I hate that woman like she's a member of the Judean People's Front, or still uses Internet Explorer. I don't look anything like her, I don't sound like her or walk like her or write like her or anything. Of course, I haven't seen her since 1992, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that I'm off the hook on this one. Except we do share one little quirk....we cook alike.

I say this as if my mother ever cooked, which she didn't, but once or twice a year some Church Royalty Dude would come through town and she'd offer to host him (Yes, him. Always him. Fucking patriarchal cult) at our home for a meal. This would be the one day a year when we ate real food. We loved Church Royalty Dude, because he meant hoagies and Pepsi.

She always cooked something, because she believed that if you had a guest, you cooked, and yes I totally got that trait from her, too. She'd make these amazing, complicated dessert things, or whip up a stew, or make some sort of salad or dip or something and it was always great, always from scratch, always seriously complicated, and she always did it effortlessly. Maybe she'd just stored up a years' worth of energy in her ass, I don't know. What I do know is that, though she didn't, the woman could cook.

You could just never, ever ask her to heat up a tv dinner. That thing would resemble a brick in a war zone by the time she was done with it. Ask for macaroni and cheese? You might as well call the CSI people to help you find it later. She couldn't make anything easy, ever; she just didn't think that way.

Guess who inherited something from her mother after all?

When I buy Kraft Dinner for my kids, I have to buy four boxes because I will, without a doubt, burn or boil to mush the first two boxes without fail, every time. Once, my kids' godfather's mom had 1of3's birthday at her house and asked me to bring ice cream sandwiches, just ice cream sandwiches, and I can't even being to think of the words I'd need to use to describe the monstrosity I brought to her house.

I cannot make cookies. COOKIES, PEOPLE.

I can bake anything. I can make the most complicated pastry, but not a chocolate chip cookie. I can bake the most amazing beef roulade you'll ever put in your face, but ask me to make a simple pot roast; go on, I DARE YOU. I can make homemade green chili that will make you cry out to the virgin Mary for mercy, but this one time I tried to make a homemade marinara and yeah, we're still having nightmares about that one.

I once made a fantastic meatloaf and cooked it on a styrofoam tray. I wish I was kidding.

I couldn't have inherited the green eyes or the jet black hair or the perfect fingernails or the nose that didn't look like a coat hanger, oh no...I had to get her mad kitchen skills. Thanks, really. On the upside, I'm not batshit crazy and I have had sex since 1981, so I'll live with my refrigerated cookie dough and take out chinese and call it even, I suppose.

I'd have really liked that black hair, though. I mean, look at it.

Yes, that's my mother. Shut up.