Today, we continue to explore the transformative power of food.
A portion of the sale of Greyston Bakery Brownies and Cookie Thins purchased through Whole Foods Market support Whole Planet Foundation, a non profit unique in that 100% of donations received directly support marginalized communities, a feat made possible by Whole Foods’ contribution to the Foundation’s administrative costs. Whole Planet Foundation channels the resources towards micro finance institutions in 61 countries, including the United States, which support hardworking individuals in their pursuit of self-sufficiency and economic stability. Imagine the impact, however small, of our brownies and cookies! We are overcome with joy when we reflect on it.
We know that food can serve as more than just a way to generate much needed funds, though. Food connects families, neighborhoods and cultures and can bridge the gap between different communities. This weekend, we grabbed our beautiful and incredibly inspiring copy of the Whole Planet Foundation Cookbook, Liberation Soup and other Recipes from Microentrepreneurs Around the Globe, and got to work cooking two (we wished we could have made them all!) mouthwatering recipes. Each page offers a perfectly crafted culturally specific recipe shared by women and men who have benefited from micro loans. Many of these inspirational individuals have opened their own restaurants and have chosen to share a recipe from that restaurant. Others, who have used their loans to start a variety of businesses, are represented by recipes that define their culture. Each instruction page is accompanied by a photograph of the original inspiration and her/his story. If you don’t own this cookbook or haven’t yet seen it, do yourself a favor and stop by Whole Foods to pick one up.
We made an Ethiopian Style Chickpea Stew called Berbere Stew inspired by Letegebrial, a woman in Ethiopia who used a small loan to support her chickpea roasting business. The recipe provides insight on how to roast chickpeas- cover them in olive oil and roast for 16 minutes. We will never eat our chickpeas any other way.
After sautéing the onions and garlic in olive oil, we added the combined spices and stirred until fragrant. At that point, we added the chickpeas and chopped potatoes and carrots, cooking for about 45 more minutes, until the vegetables were tender and had absorbed all the flavor.
The sweet paprika, sea salt, garlic, allspice, pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cayenne pepper and ginger filled the house with an incredibly enticing aroma making it difficult to wait the full hour of simmering time. It was well worth the wait, though. The almost sweet stew provided the perfect meal on a cold day.
If only you could smell the stew cooking as you are reading this!
We also made Nsima, Malawian Corn Patties, to accompany the delicious stew. Felicia, who shared her recipe used her micro loan to make and sell corn patties. She now has a permanent selling location within the weekly market, which has increased the stability of her business. The corn patties, which were made with corn meal, salt and water were delicious but difficult to make, requiring arm strength that we did not possess. Ten minutes of constant stirring proved incredibly challenging, making us appreciate Felicia and her business even more! We finally gave up and fried the patties for the last two minutes in an attempt to achieve a similar color to the patties presented in the picture.
Check out the Berbere Stew Recipe here!