Sometimes help from charity organizations doesn’t go as planned.
The expat volunteers in San Juan Cosala’s Operation Feed program thought it would be great to add soy to the weekly despensas (food baskets) but it turned out that many of the families receiving the food thought this was dog food. So something had to be done, and cooking classes were instituted to rave reviews from the families.
Cheryl Kennedy took on the task of designing recipes that use the despensa items, such as soy and oats, in new and tasty ways. The extra ingredients needed for each recipe, such as chia seeds, can be easily and cheaply found right in San Juan Cosala. Last year, Kennedy and her husband Jon Seaborg, funded the cooking lessons by themselves. This year, with the assistance of Paula Odom, a grant was received from a vegan organization, The Pollination Project, which allows Kennedy to conduct five cooking lessons throughout the year and provide the 50 women in the classes each time with the ingredients for the recipe. From soy ceviche to chocolate chia pudding, the meals are outstanding.
The women look forward to each class and have been able to make the dishes at home over the fire in one pot. Kennedy is careful to recognize that the women do not have ovens and fancy equipment, so she orchestrates each lesson to be a one pot or one bowl recipe with little fuss but great taste. How about Soy Sloppy Joes or overnight oatmeal or no bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies? From the homes of Operation Feed families, the answer is a resounding “yes!”
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