Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
A few weeks ago, we spotlighted restaurants that said no kids allowed.
It turns out that several kids out there have things to do besides worry about getting shut out of steak houses in Pittsburgh or Mexican fish spots in Houston. They’re busy figuring out how to feed hungry children around the world, fight child slavery and get rid of Styrofoam.
So let’s have a big round of applause for these extraordinary kids, and support everything they’re doing.
Marisa Miller is a married mother of two who never imagined she'd find herself relying on the kindness of others to feed her family. As a former chef, her life was filled with abundant food, and her husband had a lucrative job. Between the two of them, an organic, grass-fed, sustainable and delicious life seemed assured.
But things changed. Her husband left that job to pursue a career in a field about which he was passionate, and in the height of the recession, his salary was cut by 60%. The family became food insecure in a matter of months.
Their household income is just above the qualifying levels to receive SNAP, WIC or any other kind of assistance. After bills, Miller has just $100 left over for food, gas, clothing, band-aids, toilet paper and other necessities. She supplements her grocery-buying with trips to her local Sacramento, California, food pantry and an awful lot of thoughtful, creative cooking and meal planning.
"No one is living off Top Ramen in this house," Miller told Eatocracy in an e-mail exchange.
Here's what she had to say about dignity, practicality and perception when you're struggling to feed your family.
Depression is a daily struggle for millions of people, and stigma around the illness only adds to the burden. Emma Thomas' Depressed Cake Shop campaign is helping make conversations around the taboo topic a piece of cake.
"The concept is: make gray cakes, sell gray cakes and create a platform for discussion and media coverage," said Thomas. "And I think that's what we've done."
The London-based PR specialist and creative director became increasingly aware that people in the creative community around her frequently suffer from depression, but don't always have the freedom to discuss this with people in their professional or personal lives.
"If you go to the doctor and you're depressed the doctor will sign you off with stress so depression isn't on your record," Thomas said. "If you return to work after having the flu, people don't judge you forever. But if you have depression and you return to work after being down, you're judged forever."
Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger passed away in January after a year-long battle with cancer that inspired a non-profit dedicated to supporting members of Atlanta’s hospitality industry. Over the years, Eatocracy had the good fortune of spending time Ryan and Jen Hidinger through their culinary endeavors; first, in their Grant Park home for their Staplehouse supper club; and in 2013, when the Hidingers launched the Giving Kitchen, a non-profit that supports members of the culinary community who encounter unexpected financial hardship.
The Giving Kitchen will be funded in part by a brick-and-mortar restaurant slated to open in 2014.
Ryan and Jen Hidinger have welcomed hundreds of strangers into their Atlanta home, 10 people at a time, for the supper club inaugurated as Staplehouse in 2009.
With each five-course meal, the husband-wife team built a devoted and diverse fanbase while Ryan Hidinger, a chef by trade, honed his skills in the kitchen and Jen Hidinger got a crash course in restaurant management.
Four years and nearly 200 meals later, the Hidingers are one step closer to their dream of opening a restaurant. They finally have a space in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward, just a few blocks from the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They also have a unique model that guarantees they’ll never get rich off the venture. Instead, 100% of profits from Staplehouse restaurant will go to a non-profit the couple started that supports members of the culinary community who encounter unexpected financial hardship.
At holiday time, food pantries abound with donations from big-hearted, charity-minded citizens. The rest of the year can be a lot leaner.
But that doesn't stop the 460,000 people (including 178,000 children) in the Maryland Food Bank's service area from needing to eat for the other 11 months of the year. To call attention to the shortfall, the group teamed with local architecture firms to create eye-catching sculptures out of stacked cans of food. The results are currently on display at a popular shopping mall as part of the AIA Baltimore 2013 Canstruction design competition.
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