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Pantry Cooking: first week with the kids!

The Pantry program is pivoting!

To-date, it’s been all about the food: preparing delicious, healthy meals for the pantry customers from the items in the food pantry itself. This has been a lot of fun, but now that students are back in school, we’re adding mentoring and teaching to the mix.

Each week, high-school students who are volunteering at the Goodman Center (and who hope to get a good paying job working at the center) will join Slow Food volunteers and Center staff. We’ll still cook delicious, nutritious meals, but we’ll show some Madison young people our skills, our tricks, and our love of food.

This Week

This week, Matt Feifarek, a few last-minute clutch volunteers, and the kids joined together to make good use of a wealth of tomatoes: we made a big pot of fresh soup, and added some fresh broccoli, Mexican-style boiled pinto beans, garlic bread, and a donated dessert cake to round out the plates.

(Sorry no pictures this week! — I was too busy cooking!)

UMF #3: India House with Neeta Saluja

On Monday, September 10th, Urban Market Forage visited India House on Gammon Road. We were guided by Neeta Saluja, cooking teacher and author of the Six Spices cookbook, as well as the lovely husband and wife store owners, Prabakaran and Jansirani. If you want to discuss biochemistry with Prabakaran after shopping, that’s an option too. He arrived from Tamil Nadu in the early 1990s to complete a doctoral program at the UW.

As with Viet Hoa, our tour started in the rice aisle. We learned about regular and aged Basmati, about Sona Masosori, about long, medium and short grained rices, and the regions in India where you are most likely to find them. Then on to grain flours; large bags and small, for making chappati, roti and poori.

The shelves are lined with a dizzying array of jars and bags, boxes and packets. Relishes, chutneys, pickles. Spices and teas, snacks and sweets. Dried beans, peas, lentils, and their respective flours.

The produce section is cursory, consisting primarily of staples like garlic, onions, ginger and chilies.

Along the back wall, an enormous refrigerated section. Overwhelmed by all the choices on the shelf? Want an easier introduction to the seductive flavors of the Indian kitchen? Grab some frozen palak paneer, some naan, and some kulfi (ice cream) for dessert. A Bollywood movie perhaps? They stock videos too. The owners are extremely friendly and helpful, so don’t be shy about asking questions!