Oh, Beans!

By Jean Blish Siers *

World Food Day, celebrated this Sunday, October 16, isn’t some foodie event about finding the most obscure cheese or the darkest chocolate. It’s not recognizing that there isn’t enough food in the world. It’s about acknowledging that there is plenty of food in the world, but that not everyone has equal access to that food. It’s about good food that’s wasted instead of eaten. It’s about making sure that everyone who is hungry gets fed. So it’s a great day for those of us at Society of St. Andrew!

According to the United Nations web site: On 16 October 1945, 42 countries assembled in Quebec, Canada, to create the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Their goal was to free humanity from hunger and malnutrition, and to effectively manage the global food system…

FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October to commemorate the founding of the organization in 1945. Events are organized in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

It’s heartbreaking that more than 70 years later, there is still great hunger disparity in our world. World Food Day is an opportunity to pause and think about our own food usage. For example, the U.S. diet is heavily reliant on meat and dairy, both of which are inefficient in delivering nutrition to populations based on resources used to produce them. Much of the world relies on rice, beans, and other grains and legumes to provide the bulk of their sustenance.

Americans waste 40% of the food produced; it doesn’t have to be that way. We can be more conscious of what we buy and how we prepare it. We can lobby Congress to pass laws making it easier and more efficient for farmers, grocers, and distributors to donate food. Many European Union nations have passed legislation making it illegal to for grocers and distributors to throw out food that others could eat. Think of the savings here if we could take that step.

In the meantime, on Sunday, prepare a Simple Supper of rice and beans. Share it with friends and neighbors. Then take the money that you would have spent going out, or on buying more expensive meats and dairy products, and donate that to a cause working to fight hunger, such as Society of St. Andrew.

To get you started, here’s a vegetarian Cuban Black Bean dish I made for company the other night. We licked the bowl clean!

Happy World Food Day!

Cuban Black Beans

  • 1 29-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup (or so) chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the bell pepper and onion in olive oil until it starts to soften. Add the cumin and stir it around with the vegetables for a minute until it starts to smell good. Then add the oregano and garlic and stir. Add the black beans and mix together. Then add the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low for about half an hour, covered, to get everything nice and soft. If it needs more liquid, add either water or more juice. Serve over white rice, with a salad, and fried plantains. Makes 4 servings.

* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator.


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In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

Photos, videos, and other images in which I, or a registered family member, appear that are taken during gleanings may be used by the Society of St. Andrew for news coverage, newsletters, reports, displays, and for other print, broadcast, web, or electronic news or promotional purposes.

I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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