Recipes in Cookbook Focus on Food Bank Staple Foods | Social services

The Second Harvest Community Food Bank tends to receive donations of rare ingredients that some people might not know how to incorporate into their meals. But now there is a solution.

Melissa Ryser, Development Specialist at Second Harvest, spent about a year compiling recipes to create “Pass the Plate,” a cookbook that uses common food bank ingredients.

“The cookbook was one of those things that we know we have certain foods that we hand out at times that people aren’t used to using… and therefore, we want to be able to give people a resource. of those ways that you can use this product that tastes good and it’s not complicated, ”said Ryser.

She said lentils, for example, are a staple food that is distributed to those who are food insecure, but many people don’t know how to cook with them.

“We get a lot of lenses, we give out a lot of lenses, but it’s not something in the Midwest that we use a lot or historically know what to do with,” Ryser said. “So there are a lot of recipes out there that use this type of grain, give you ideas on how to cook it and how to make it tasty. “

When people are given large amounts of a product, the cookbook has several recipes that show different ways to cook the same item.

The cookbook will be distributed to partner agencies that Second Harvest serves as a resource. That way, they can offer people new ways to use the products they receive.

“A lot of partner agencies are excited about this because there are so many questions about certain foods that we distribute that it will be a relief for them to be able to have a referral and something that can guide them,” Ryser said.

Ryser said the goal is to distribute the cookbooks to partner agencies by the end of 2021. Then they will work to put all the recipes on their website,, so that everyone. world can connect and have access to it.

This will coincide with the online Food for Thought program, where local cooks share recipes and demonstration videos on how to use everyday foods from food banks.

Most of the recipes in the cookbook come from other food banks or Second Harvest partner agencies. Ryser said that on the holiday, their partner agencies give tips on how to make holiday dishes from the foods they hand out, and many of those recipes are in the cookbook.

“How to make hot chocolate with powdered milk instead of a gallon of milk, that sort of thing,” Ryser said. “All of these ideas are included here. And so, people can use the product. Even if they are not used to it, they can find ways to use it.

A few personal recipes were also included in the book, one of Ryser’s favorites coming from his mother-in-law.

“My mother-in-law’s barbecue meatballs that I had to add to the cookbook just because they’re terrific,” Ryser said. “They are really good. These are ground beef, evaporated milk, oatmeal, and pantry staples, but put together they can be really good.

Second Harvest received the published version of the cookbook just in time for its 40th anniversary celebration in September. Ryser said the anniversary prompted staff to work on new ideas, such as the cookbook.

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