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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Food for thought...

After weeks of failed attempts to get together with pals Karena and Jill(and Jill's new amour, Keith)we finally got them all together here last night. The tamale pie was not quite right, but the company and conversation were so good, I don't think anyone noticed much. Lots of chattery catching up at first, and then it all turned to Keith, who we only knew a little bit about. He's an artist, has been a park ranger, spent lots of time at the Grand Canyon, and also just happens to be one of the founders of Food Not Bombs, back in 1980. He's a real live peace activist, and has been arrested many times, beaten and tortured (yes, really) at the hands of US officials, and imprisoned - all because he gives people food. I won't go into too much of it here, but you can check him out for yourself at Food Not Bombs, and Keith McHenry. What I know is this is a guy with strong convictions, and a true calling to do good in the world. He feeds people. Peacefully. And the US government sees him as a threat... silly creatures. One example is Hurricane Katrina. While the Red Cross was hauling in enormous amounts of donation money, and making excuses, Keith was on the phone, rounding up food, and personally distributing it to the people of New Orleans from his blue bus. Soon the Red Cross was giving people the Food Not Bombs toll free number when they called asking for assistance... Keith is like Gandhi with a cell phone and the organizational skills of the royal wedding planner. He makes things happen, and makes no money doing it. I think he's as close to a holy man as I'm ever likely to meet. After all he's been through, he continues his work, with a totally peaceful attitude and a twinkle in his eye. Want to help him? I know I do. But most of us aren't activists. I've never been to a peace demonstration, never gone along with the local Taos folks who march at Donald Rumsfeld's home here, and I'm quite sure I'm not going to volunteer to get arrested and tortured. But our money talks. Where we spend it has great power. Keith has an easy way for us to help Food Not Bombs continue its work for peace and justice all over the world. Check out the website. See what they're about, and then click on the A Dollar For Peace link. One dollar makes a difference. Everyone can do something...

Now if you still want to know about my tamale pie, I'll tell you!
I started with an old recipe from my childhood friend Luann (thanks Lu!). It called for two pounds of ground beef, which is not what we vegetarians tend to eat, so I made a mixture of onions, zucchini, yellow squash, rice, beans, nuts, olives, corn, and tomatoes to replace the meat. I mixed in red chile sauce and cornmeal, and stirred in some beer to keep it from getting too thick. Then I layered it in a baking pan with lots of cheese... and that's where I should have stopped. I made the mistake of adding a cornmeal topping that came out too dry. Should have just added more cheese on top and baked the thing. It was tasty except for the topping. So there you go. You're on your own with this one. You can probably tweak it to make it better. If you do, please leave us some notes in the comments area!
Food Not Bombs, my friends! Carry on!

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