The Best Meal I Ever Served

by Isabel Laessig (Isabel Foodie) · 5 comments

in Blog, Weekday Supper

Maybe it wasn’t the tastiest or fanciest or even a meal served on my best china. But this was by far the most nourishing meal I have ever served.

I volunteered to prepare and serve dinner at Pinellas Hope, a local charity, with other parishioners from our Church.  I had no idea that this would turn out to be one of the most memorable meals of my life.

It was just delightful working in a kitchen with wonderful people preparing a meal for 200 unknown strangers.  I have to say, this is the first time in all my years of cooking that I was preparing a meal for such a large crowd.

We browned, we chopped, broiled and sauteed for 3 hours.  I have a whole new appreciation for chopping green onions.

I chopped them all without even cutting myself!

Shortly after we arrived, I came to the realization  that most of these individuals were no different than you and I.  Just as I was realizing that this situation could happen to almost anyone, I recognized someone who I knew very well.  I would never have imagined she had fallen on hard times.  She is one of the happiest, pep in your step kind of individuals that I know.

I have always said that what separates great cooks from good cooks is not the ingredients, it is our passion to nourish souls!

It was our pleasure to serve!

I am not sure whose soul was nourished more, the residents or mine.  Until this day, I always thought charity as simply being nice to people. Thank you Pinellas Hope for teaching me that it is so much more.

Food is Love …. and it can help change lives


  • 2 tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Pepper finely chopped
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 29 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 15.5 oz. Can Kidney Beans
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder

Add Olive Oil to heavy skillet over low heat.

Add onions, peppers and garlic and saute gently until soft and slightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients.

Cover and simmer over low heat about 2 hours or place in a slow oven and bake 2 hours.

Makes 6 to 8 servings, since I didn’t think you would be cooking for 200!

Did I tell you about the Texas Toast?[/capti

[caption id="attachment_83" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Chili was Delicious!


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen January 23, 2012 at 6:14 am

What a lovely post. You are so right about us all being just a few hiccups away from being on the streets ourselves.


FamilyFoodie January 23, 2012 at 7:15 am

Maureen~Thank you so much for the comment. This experience was truly an eye opener and one that I am so glad I was a part of.


Eileen Gross WineEveryday February 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I’ve fed the hungry before and it’s one of the all time best experiences in my life.
Cheers to you and all you do!


FamilyFoodie February 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Truly a rewarding experience… made me thankful for so many other things in my life!


Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) June 22, 2012 at 12:59 am

Inspiring. Food IS love!


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