Chard drama at Cook for a Cause
Our Fourth Cook for a Cause Day on Sunday was a lot of fun, and we made a lot of food, and my feet hurt a lot. For this edition we cooked Moroccan meatball tagine and braised chicken with chard. I chose those recipes because I thought they were interesting and people would enjoy learning how to make them, especially learning how to use up chard, which is a leafy green that everyone with a garden or CSA share is trying to get rid of by the end of the summer, and most people don't know how to cook. So I figured I would show everyone how to deal with chard, as a public service.
At least, that was my plan. However, on Saturday afternoon our Sysco order arrived without the 30 pounds of chard we were supposed to get. Apparently the chard supply truck broke down and they didn't bother to inform me earlier that the chard wasn't going to show up. If you haven't had the pleasure of trying to find 30 pounds of chard between Saturday afternoon and Sunday at 7 am, when you are working in a restaurant until midnight, it's not really possible. We actually had a couple of big chard plants growing in our garden, which were volunteers from last year, but when we collected all of those leaves it was only a little more than one pound. Thirty pounds of chard, loosely packed, can fill a Mini.
I called everyone I could think of who might have chard in their garden, but no one else had any growing yet (meaning our chard was a miracle?). Then I sent an e-mail to all the Cook for a Cause volunteers asking if any of them had chard, or a similar green, that they would donate. I had a fantasy that this would work out like in a cheesy movie, where every person would bring in three leaves of chard, and together, we would have more than enough! [inspirational music swells in background] But in my real life, no one brought in any chard.
I ended up combining our garden chard with some from the grocery store, plus a bunch of arugula we also had growing in our garden, and then I harvested a couple of pounds of dandelion greens from my yard (I have a lot of dandelions, and at their peak I bet I could get 30 pounds of dandelion greens, but unfortunately I just mowed my lawn last weekend--which is unusual because I mow it less than once a month). Between all those greens, it worked out fine.
All told, we donated about 500 servings of great food to the Carpenter's Cupboard food bank. Thanks to everyone who helped!