Monday, March 1, 2010

Recipe #13: The Rice & Beans Project

Hungry? I bet you can have a decent meal set in front of you within minutes; leftovers from the fridge, a Hungry Man in the freezer. Even Pizza Hut is just a phone call away. We certainly live in a land of plenty, surrounded by abundance and easy access! But, as we all know, there are many places in this world less fortunate and the food is scarce. Hence, we did the Rice & Beans Project this past week, a reminder of how lucky we really are. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now, despite my husband’s playful protests. And my intentions were re-sparked recently when my college roommate mentioned a similar experience in her Making Disciples At Home blog. (Merci beaucoup Katherine!) The plan was simple; trade seven plentiful dinners for rice & beans. Why rice & beans? This is not only the staple food for the majority of the world (more than 50 percent of the world's population is dependent upon rice for 80 percent of its diet- according to, but it is also a cost-efficient way to save some money. By the end of the week, even my resistant husband had to agree, donating the money we saved on our grocery bill to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund was well worth the "sacrifice." (Click here for info about donations -including rice & beans- that are helping people in Haiti.) This little Caribbean country easily became our choice for donating, being as their need is so highly publicized right now. Whether it be an overseas area or right here in our neighborhood, we tend to donate/volunteer to whichever cause "moves us" at the time. And well, I guess this natural disaster has caught our attention. Each night this week we highlighted a particular region (Thanks for being a good sport Travis!) to further raise our awareness. Here’s what we ate:
  1. Sunday: Cajun-style white rice with Blue Runner New Orleans Spicy Red Beans, & water. (Travis gave it a thumbs down, but I found this simple meal to be rather good.)
  2. Monday: Chinese-style fried rice with green beans, & water. (Yummy!)
  3. Tuesday: Haitian-style white rice with kidney beans, & water. (Travis liked this better than I did. Adding ketchup seemed to help drown out the potent clove taste.)
  4. Wednesday: India-style Shere Khan Basmati Rice (from World Market) with the Chico cookbook’s lentils, & water. (Playing dress up was slightly more fun than the actual meal.)
  5. Thursday: Cuban-style Vigo yellow rice with black beans, & water. (We took this to my parents' house, and Travis was thrilled to eat it along with the spaghetti dinner they'd prepared! And, my dad cracked us up when he joked, "If you've been eating that many beans this week, then maybe you shouldn't come over!" HA!!)
  6. Friday: Mexican-style Vigo yellow rice, black beans, sautéed red peppers, jalapenos, onion, cheese, water, & some Dos Equis Lager to kick off the weekend. (And not the first time our sombraros have joined us for a meal. They turn dinner into a FIESTA!)
  7. (out of town Saturday & Sunday)
  8. Monday: African-style white rice with kidney beans, & water. (Chose this in honor of my coworker who leaves tomorrow for a 1-year journey in Rwanda. And yes Emily, as we talked about, it was indeed bland! Good thing you're taking along some treats...)

I highly recommend everyone give this Rice & Beans Project a try! It’s a chance to gain a tangible perspective on poverty and is a simple way of bringing an understanding to the complex issue of global hunger. It would be great in a lesson plan for kids! By the end of the week, we were definately tired of rice & beans, which was part of the goal in realizing how fortunate we are in our part of the world to have a bountiful supply of diverse foods. My husband & I agreed, this hands-on way of identifying with other cultures is an easy way to gain an understanding of (and a sensitivity to) global needs. And, its also a great way to be aware of (and donate to) worthy causes! We intend to make this an annual event!

~Rating of Lentils: 5 stars (out of 10)

~Quotes of the day: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…" Matthew 25:35. "At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality." 2 Corinthians 8:14.

~Music while cooking: Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack, Lost and Found’s Something, Guitarra, Solitudes India, & Spirit of Africa.

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