SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge–Day 26

By Sharron R. Blezard, June 26, 2010

Food Rescue Edition

Today was a cooking day. I had some vegetables that needed to be used, so I steamed a head of cauliflower and made a nice dressing for it with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, and a little sugar. I also sautéed some squash and made a chicken enchilada hot dish (i.e. casserole). That all turned out great.

I still had a lot of seasoned black beans left, so I decided to make Katy’s Black Bean Burgers. Click here to visit her blog and try the recipe. Of course, I’m out of bread, and there are no crumbs in the freezer. What to do? Being a dutiful daughter of the South, I did have cornmeal on hand, so I got the bright idea to use corn meal in place of the two cups of bread crumbs. In theory I guess it was an o.k. idea; at the worst I thought I’d end up with black bean fritters. About that time daughter dearest comes strolling through the kitchen and asks with raised eyebrow and turned up nose, “What’s THAT goop?” When I told her black bean burger mix, she rolled her eyes and said, “Who in their right mind makes burgers from beans?” Before I could reply she issued forth a snort of disgust and beat a hasty retreat to her computer.

Long story short, the first burger fell apart. Katy, what did I do wrong (aside from the corn meal substitution)? Rather than stand there and risk messing up a whole bowl of “goop,” I decided to punt and make/create black bean and tomato cornbread. I added a can of tomatoes with green chilies and poured it all into a pan to bake. Now it’s rising just fine, and hopefully it will turn out better than my burger attempt. What will probably happen is a lot of individually frozen slices that I’ll heat with a little cheese and serve with salsa and a dollop of sour cream. No doubt it will look a little funky, but it ought to taste just fine—even if the teenager curls her nose in disgust.

The simple fact is that I dislike food waste. In fact, I can’t stand to throw food (i.e. money) down the drain or in the can. Food waste has been real concern and consideration during the SNAP Challenge this month. How could I justify throwing away a whole bowl full of beans, onions, green peppers, eggs, garlic, seasonings and corn meal? That’s a lot of food waste. So, I’m improvising, and I will eat it regardless of how it looks. Hey, maybe I can pass it off as gourmet! O.K., that’s not likely to happen, but I can dream, right? Dreams don’t involve one red cent of my remaining SNAP budget.

Do you have any stories of food waste saves or ingredient improvisations? I’d love to hear about them while I’m munching on black bean and tomato cornbread.

State of the Pantry

We spent $2.43 on store brand tomato paste and family-size tea bags. I had planned to make a vegetable curry but changed my mind. At least the tomato paste will keep and is a good staple to have on hand. Ice tea is cheap and refreshing on hot summer days. My friend also brought over a bag of cherries that she didn’t want to go to waste. Yum!

Website(s) of the Day

Here’s a great sketch “Roy’s Food Repair” featuring John Candy, Valerie Bromfield, Paul Simon, Dave Thomas, and Carrie Fisher. Click here to view and have a good laugh.

If you really have a food flop, click here for Linda Larsen’s article “How to Fix Kitchen Flops” at

Photo by emrank used through a Creative Commons License. Thank you!

About the Author

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Blezard is an ELCA pastor currently rostered in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. See more posts by .

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