Last week was the first week of the summer program here at MAP, and you know what that means! Yes, the summer lunches have begun again! This summer, I am one of two Farm to Table specialists so my job is to facilitate meal planning with new youth and to help cook every Friday.
The meal theme was Middle Eastern - we served Tabouli, Dal, Baklava, and green salad with sides of rice and Nan bread. It was a really good start to the summer! I was head Tabouli chef as I brought the recipe to the lunch menu.
Overall, I think our first summer lunch went very well as there were no accidents and the food was great, but we were expecting 50 people and only about 30 showed up. Needless to say, we had a lot of leftovers! But that is not necessarily a bad thing because this week we will use the leftover rice to make rice pudding- Yum!
I enjoy working in the kitchen a lot! We arrive at the church on Richmond/Utica at 8am on Fridays, and get all of our ingredients out. At 9, the new youth arrive so we go over kitchen safety with them and we show them where everything is in the kitchen. Once they pick dishes to work on together, we - the specialists – jump in wherever it makes sense so that the cooking process runs smoothly.
One of our goals as Farm to Table specialists is to use as much food from our Youth Garden as possible. Doing so reduces summer lunch costs and provides MAP Youth with an example of how a local food system works. In order to feed our entire organization, we set aside a budget of $200 every week. This budget allows us to buy things that we do not grow on our Youth Garden, things like: rice, lentils and honey. In order to measure our cost effectiveness, we calculate the cost of our lunches based on how many people we served. Last week we were able to feed our entire organization at a cost of $3.60 per person.