Monday, December 10, 2007

Gourmet Cheese and Artisan Bread

Saturday morning J and I worked at our church's food pantry. We served about 36 familes and it was a great experience. We are signed up for duty once a month.

I don't know who has the job of soliciting the area grocery stores for their cast-offs but they do amazing work. We were handing out not just standard pantry fare of hamburger meat and chicken, but also quail, roast pork and filet mignon. There were the best brand names for fresh and dried pasta, roasted red peppers in fancy jars, and all sorts of ingredients for an epicurian's ideal kitchen. We had an entire line of gourmet cheese to distribute (brie, true parmesan, several varieties of blue, edam, herbed goat cheese, etc.), most $10-$25/lb, and a lot of that imported. Although I tried diligently to get the families to take their share of this amazing bounty and gave them easy ideas on how to use the cheese, a lot of them shied away from the cheeses they had never tried or heard of (They kept requesting American, which we ran out of very quickly while the Brie sat unwanted!!!)

We did not go into the assignment expecting to get anything but the satisfaction of helping others out of it. However, we were delightfully surprised to find that after the shift is over at noon, *all* of the remaining bread and dairy products [which are at or about to be at their sell-by dates] have to be tossed for health reasons. Therefore, they are open to the volunteers to take home.

So, in summary, we were able to take home several wedges of great cheese, along with my favorite Artisan bread (cranberry pecan loaf), other breads (whole grain sandwich loaves to put in the freezer, baguettes, etc), and bags of whole bean starbucks coffee (most families do not have grinders so the gourmet coffee builds up very quickly that Starbucks casts off to the pantry).

If we keep volunteering at the pantry, I don't think we will ever have to buy bread or gourmet cheese again.

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