Monday, November 16, 2015

Steamed Boston Brown Bread and the Kids I Feed.

It's getting rather tricky trying to get ready for the holidays and cooking for the kids every day but so far I'm balancing it out.  I've been asked some questions about what exactly it is that I do so I thought I would answer them today.  But first, this is what the kids are eating today.  Good old fashioned steamed Boston brown bread. I am making them baked beans with hot dogs and Boston brown bread goes so well with them. It's really simple to make too.  I use pudding molds but traditionally, coffee cans are used.  Here is the recipe from King Arthur Flour:


1 cup whole cornmeal
1 cup pumpernickel flour
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (optional but good)
2 cups buttermilk, nonfat yogurt or sour milk (1cup of milk can be soured with 1 tablespoon of vinegar; let clabber for 5 minutes)
3/4 cup dark, unsulphured molasses


Mix the cornmeal, flours, baking soda, salt and raisins together. Combine the buttermilk and molasses and stir them into the dry ingredients.

Place the mixture in two greased 1-pound coffee cans or one 2-quart pudding mold, filling them about two-thirds full. Cover these loosely with foil that has been greased on the inside (to prevent sticking) and secure with rubber bands. You can grease the inside lid of the pudding mold as well.

Place the cans, or mold, in a kettle or saucepan on top of something (crinkled aluminum foil or a stainless steel vegetable steaming insert will do nicely) to keep the can off the bottom of the pan. The kettle should be deep enough so its lid can cover the pudding container(s).

Fill the kettle with boiling water two-thirds of the way up the cans. Cover, bring the water back to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Steam for about 2 hours, adding water if necessary.
I steam it for more like 3-4 hours.
In the small town which I have adopted, there is an after school program for teenage kids.  The town is one of the poorest in the country.  There is hardly any money at all for this program and there certainly is no money for food of any kind. These kids arrive after school at 3:30 and are there until 6:30.  I have never met any of these kids but I am told that they say that the lunch they receive at school is mostly inedible.

I can't wrap my head around how hungry these kids are when they arrive at the center.  I am pretty sure they are getting next to nothing, if anything, for breakfast.  How are they supposed to sit and do homework and study for 3 hours after school with no food? I remember how hungry I was when I was their age.

So, each day except for Friday when they aren't there, I provide them food.

There are 18 very hungry kids that attend.

There are so many hungry people out there that I would love to be able to feed.  I've tried my best for years making meals for underprivileged families and cooking for 2 years for the homeless shelter.  Nothing has come close to the satisfaction I get from feeding these kids.  They eat everything I send to them.  They share and always make sure that each of them get the same amount.  Sometimes when one of them is sick, another one will take their food to them at home. They have such an interest in the food I send and are very curious to hear stories about its origins and how it is made. This is the second year I've done this.  And though I can't feed everyone, I know each day that I am making 18 kids very happy. It's a drop in the pond but at least it's a drop.