Last night for dinner we had Butternut Squash Soup and Greens (from our garden of course ... still kicking in spite of the snowfall last week) that I cooked the good ole' southern way, with ham hocks. It wasn't my family's favorite meal, but they ate up anyway. (I purchased 2 bushels of local butternut squash, so I'm currently playing a game with myself -- How to Cook Butternut Squash in 1,000 Different Ways). After our dinner, sitting down at the table with candles, conversation and even a back rubbing competition -- we started with the bedtime routine. Kids were tucked in and snoring away by 8pm.
So, imagine my surprise when at 12:10am Benjamin (9) comes wandering into our room and says "Mommy, I'm hungry!" Groggy and stunned with disbelief I say "You've got to be kidding Benjamin, it's midnight." (Benjamin went through a stage where he'd wake up in the middle of the night and come into our room to make some obscure observation, which wouldn't be a huge deal, but sometimes I struggle to go back to sleep once my mind gets going.) "No, really. My stomach is hurting I'm so hungry." Finally it starts to register in my mind. We didn't have any meat, dairy or grains for dinner and Benjamin had swim team practice that afternoon. Poor guy. He was hungry. "Uhhh, (trying to think, while still half sleeping) let's see, how 'bout the crackers that are still on the kitchen counter." "OK" and Benjamin leaves.
While I'm typing this, I can't help but be reminded that there are so many children and adults alike around the world and even in the United States, with the economic downturn we've been going through, who are going hungry. Now is certainly not the time to go overeating while others are going hungry and food banks are at all time lows -- when people need them the most. Save money with portion control (I recently switched to breakfast plates for dinners) and if you can, give to your local food bank. A lot of people actually buy something for the poor every time they go to the grocery store. Somehow, on a regular basis, I always forget until I walk by the food bank drop off near the exit of the grocery store. But, yesterday I remembered. I'm going to try to remember from now on. Really, it's an easy one. When we shop for food, we should be thankful that we can afford it, be good stewards of what's been given to us, and remember those who can't afford to eat three meals a day. For you local folks, Crossroads RI does a great job helping the homeless and the poor. There are all kinds of ways to help out -- and they are in need now, more than ever. Be well. Be thankful.