Every school day morning I stand in my chilly kitchen, sometimes pre-dawn, and make my kids breakfast and while they eat that, lunch. The elementary school starts at 8:00 and its about 7:30 when my ten-year old climbs up on the stool and sits down to her warm breakfast. It’s about that time too, that half a dozen kids from the apartment house down the block pass by our kitchen window. They’re off to school earlier than us, so they have time to eat breakfast there. These kids whose families are in need get free or reduced pricing on breakfast and lunch. I am so grateful we have a system that will make sure they get at least two meals a day. And I am doubly grateful that I am able to feed my children nutritious meals at home.
A warm breakfast in our own kitchen, while hair is brushed, permission slips signed, lost library books found. Usually eggs – scrambled or in a sandwich – sometimes oatmeal with warm berry syrup. And while they eat that, I pack their lunches. One peanut butter and jelly (don’t cut it please!) and two ham and cheese sandwiches, sometimes turkey for variety. They grab a banana, a granola bar, a cookie to go with it and shove it into their bags as they run out the door, just barely on time.
We are so lucky.
Today I have joined with other food bloggers around the country to raise awareness, and funds for a campaign to feed hungry children in South Africa. Called The Lunchbox Fund, the campaign is on its way to feeding nearly 4 million children in South Africa who go hungry each day. United under the umbrella of The Giving Table, we food bloggers hope to raise $5000 this week to contribute to the cause. $5000 would feed 100 South African school children one meal a day for a year.
As I know you are a person who understands the power of lunch, I urge you to join me. I have donated $30, ten dollars each in honor of my three children. If you all do the same, we could really make a difference. Click on the link below to see a video about the program.
The Lunchbox Fund from Leigh Wood on Vimeo.
I do believe that every meal can nourish our souls and our minds. In a perfect world every meal would. We’re trying to get as close as possible to that goal.
What’s your favorite lunch? I have a few, but high on the list has to be the classic cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s also a favorite with my family of course. I grew up with the soup that came from the ubiquitous red and white can, and my kids have often enjoyed the elevated version of that: Organic Cream of Tomato Soup from Pacific Foods. Better, but not great. Recently I’ve gotten them to expand their horizons to homemade tomato soup, even without the cream!
This Tomato Soup, full of the flavors of the South of France, is my current favorite, with or without the grilled cheese sandwich. I grabbed this recipe from The Splendid Table last week, when it was really cold out. It is perfect the way it is, I wouldn’t change a thing! As per the recipe, I did add a dollop of fresh goat cheese when I served it the first time, so did my kids. When melted and stirred into the soup, the cheese added the longed for creaminess. The next day I had it without the goat cheese, but alongside a grilled cheese sandwich embellished with sautéed chard – a lovely, grown up grilled cheese.
I don’t always like cinnamon in savory foods, but I am glad I didn’t leave it out. In this soup it adds just the right hint of mystery and warmth. I couldn’t get enough of it.
While the soup simmers, you can hop over to The Lunchbox Fund’s page on Causes. It only takes a minute to make a donation, and to make a difference. Thank you, from the bottom of their empty tummies.
Amanda Witter says
Thanks for sharing this great recipe and wonderful organization. I was wondering if you would mind sharing the olive oil you use. I read so many conflicting reviews on brands, country of origin I am completely confused.
Maria Stuart says
Hi amanda, great to see you the other night and to meet Bike. What fun!
I have been following all of this olive oil news with only half an eye. I know the gist of it is that most Olive Oil that says it’s from Italy isn’t really. And that the only thing to do is buy California Olive Oil.
Maybe so, but I use an Olive oil from a gourmet wholesale company called Provvista. They are in Portland and we order supplies for the Wine Bar from them. I’m pretty happy with it, it’s their name brand. I don’t know if you can buy it retail
I guess that doesn’t help much does it?
Emily Grosvenor says
I can think of no greater calling than feeding people.
Maria Stuart says
Me neither Emily. thanks
amanda witter says
So very true Emily.
Can’t wait to try this. I have several pounds of Roma tomatoes (skin on) in the freezer that need to be used up. Do you think they need to be skinned? I have a vitamix, so I assume not…..
Maria Stuart says
Hi Jen, Sorry I missed this earlier. The soup is delicious, you should definitely give it a try. The funny thing about Romas is that The Splendid Table specifically says not to use them in this soup. They don’t however say why. Too many seeds? You could certainly give it a try though. And I don’t think you need to peel them, but you may want to roast them first – for added depth and flavor.
Let me know how it turns out!
Maybe I will try it. The vitamix has the power to puree all those seeds.