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Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen, Chicken Dumplings

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Well another month rolls into the third Saturday and I find myself at the Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen preparing a meal for less fortunate persons. Over three years now of doing this and I still like doing it. Little light on volunteers today as we only have five volunteers to get all the work done.
Worse yet, January is one of our lowest donation months of the year! So we have almost no donations for the week. So to the pantry for an inspection. I have to come up with a dinner and dessert for these folks.

Chef Rant On:
Ok folks I have said it before but it is worth repeating, if you donated during the holidays to help those less fortunate but have done nothing this month. I want you to know you are not fooling the deity you worship!
Whomever you worship knows if your December gesture to humanity was followed through into January. So my advice is don't piss your God off :grin:, donate every month! 'Nuff said!

Chef Rant Off:

Well I have the donations from all the restaurants that were organized to save their unusable stuff for us. So to the Boston's chickens in the freezer! Of course this means I need Chicken Pickers. Only job worse than this is Crab picking! But it needs to be done. I do get some complaints from some of the volunteers, to which I always respond "did you think you were coming to the Bahamas on vacation when you said you would volunteer at the soup kitchen?" Feeding those less fortunate is work, and it has to be done to get these people fed. So out come the chickens and into the chicken pickin' business the volunteers go!

Of course what the other volunteers don't ever remember is I have already been working on things long before they got there. I have the base started for the chicken and dumplings meal that will be served.

Onions, celery, and carrots have all already been prepped. The Southwest Cream Corn is already prepped and ready to go into the convection oven. I add the carrots to the tilt skillet and we begin to have the looks of a decent Chicken and Dumplings meal. On of the things that is important
at the soup kitchen is to get as much balanced diet type foods into these people. They already have problems, they don't need poor nutrition to add to the dilemma they face daily.

I was told that the entire beginning of the week is going to be light on volunteers. Heck I am there anyway, only have one catering later in the evening, so I slam together some other starts to meals for Monday and Tuesday's
crews. All the chicken carcasses will make a nice soup and a decent Chicken and Noodles dinner. So extra stockpots are started and I begin to render the life supporting nutrition out of the leftovers. Wing tips, bones, backs, necks, it all gives up itself to create another meal.

Finally I add the dumplings on to it and close the lid to let it steam to a finish!

Meanwhile I noticed a most unusual donation. 8 pounds of cut, steamed and instantly frozen rhubarb. With none of the bakeries have any leftover goods, I have to make a dessert. As usual, I will use this to sneak in another fruit on the clients! I will have to create it from scratch.
So I make a heavy cream cheese cake. (Now this is one rich cheese cake, since the cream won't be used by anyone else prior to going sour, I figure it is a perfect use for it.) I then work up a rhubarb, cranberry and orange compote for the cheese cake. We do not get gram cracker donated so the cheese cake will be scooped like ice cream into a bowl with the Rhubarb compote spooned over it.

In the end they ate it all. I like to think of that as a complement to the skills of the chef and the volunteers, but it may have a lot to do with not being able to afford food that most take for granted!

'Til we talk again, make sure you make that donation to your local soup kitchen! They need it badly, and while you are at it, post it on the calendar every month for the rest of the year. I can assure you it will get used to sustain a humane life!

Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
post #2 of 3
What you are doing at the soup kitchen is great. volunteerism is very rewarding, and getting in touch with those less fortunate than you helps put one's own life in perspective. I second your suggestion that more people get involved - in whatever cause best suits them - with contributions of time, money, or goods.

post #3 of 3
Kudos to you and your crew Chef. Volunteering your time and talent is a reward in itself like no other!

Thanks also for the rant and to Shel for the reminder!
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