Slow Food Volunteers: A Look Back at Cooking at Fisher House
We are about to announce our next visit to cook at the Puget Sound VA Fisher House, and so want to share this report back on last year's successful volunteer dinner.
In October, we enjoyed our second annual outing to cook a volunteer meal at the Fisher House at the Puget Sound VA Hospital.
The Fisher House system exists to provide a place to stay - plus support and comfort - to families of veterans currently receiving medical care at a VA Hospital. Making a volunteer meal there is a great opportunity for people who look to cook! The Fisher House kitchen is large and can accommodate a group of about 5-8 people to prepare a meal onsite.
The home-cooked meal can help out the Fisher House families by saving the time and expense of cooking for themselves while also taking care of a loved one, coordinating visiting hours, and the other stresses associated with having a family member in the hospital.
In October, three Slow Food Board members (chef Varin Keokitvon, Emily White, and Leslie Seaton), cooked with three truly awesome volunteers: Sonya Morrison, who recently relocated to Woodinville from Spokane as part of her work with Patit Creek Winery; Heather Stimmler-Hall, a friend visiting the States from Paris (she was only a couple days into her trip to the States, and landed in Seattle just hours before we cooked!); and Ron Askew, Executive Chef at Forest Ridge School in Bellevue, 2014 regional representative at Terra Madre, and SFUSA representative to Edible Schoolyard Academy.
Varin developed a delicious menu: braised chicken thighs with olives & preserved lemons, mashed potatoes with garlic, roasted root vegetables, salad (with pomegranate, candied walnuts and goat cheese), baguette slices with tuna with tomato lardo sauce, and pumpkin spice cream puffs.
All of us had an excellent time helping out wherever needed and tackling different parts of the menu: chef Ron took the lead with the main course, Sonya got to work on the salad, Leslie chopped up root vegetables, Heather filled the cream puffs and Emily gave them the finishing flourishes of drizzle and cacao nibs. Varin was busy with a little of everything and keeping the cooking moving forward, and everyone helped with serving and clean-up.
Fisher House had a full house that night, and it's hard to overstate what a great feeling it is to serve a tasty meal to people who could use a break. We love cooking at Fisher House and recommend this as a great volunteer activity for anyone who likes to cook.
Thanks again to our most excellent volunteers! Slow Food Seattle really enjoys these service activities, and we'll be sure to let our members and readers know when we schedule our next opportunity.
Some other great food-related volunteering to consider...
PCC's Bulk Food Packaging Work Parties - recommended by Slow Food Seattle friend Daphne, she brings her whole family (including 5-year-old Ro!) to the work party. Your local PCC schedules monthly events to package up bulk food for a nearby food bank.
North Helpline - recommended by Slow Food Friend Nazila, this food bank lists open volunteer shifts on its site.