Written and Developed by Cathy Collins
As it gets colder, my thoughts always turn to the belly warming foods like biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, and omelets for breakfast. The problem is I am not inclined, nor do I have the time every morning to stand over the stove and fix these hearty breakfasts for my family. I do try to make time to cook on my days off and this recipe is no exception. My daughter and I spent a morning making LOTS of them. We made these pockets almost entirely from ingredients received from the local food pantries and accomplished 2 things:
1) We spent the morning together and had a nice visit. Time with family is always important to me and I’ll take it when I can get it.
2) We made something warm and filling to eat and neither one of us will have to stand over a stove and cook breakfast every morning.
The Pantry Pockets were nearly free (we did buy shredded cheese and butter for this). Nearly free is a good thing when money is scarce and we still need to survive somehow. The cost is the time and energy it took to prepare.
The Pantry Pockets were inspired by my 22 year old daughter’s love for Hot Pockets, biscuits and gravy, and extreme desire to NOT cook for herself. I was also inspired by a friend’s brilliant idea about what to do with “crumbles,” (he said he uses refrigerator biscuits, spaghetti sauce and cheese and makes a calzone with the pizza crumbles…I’ll have to have him show me how he does it one of these days) and the abundance of food pantry ingredients I have.
It’s interesting work, shopping at food pantries and trying to make nutritious, tasty, satisfying meals. There is an art and skill set needed for this type of survival. The next time you scoff at the people in the food pantry line… think about it…
Would you stand in line for nearly 2 hours in bitter cold weather to get food to feed your family?
Would you take the time necessary to cook things from scratch so you and your family would have something to eat?
When handed shelf milk, baking mix, crumbles and powdered eggs could you make a meal?
What about 5 plastic grocery sacks full of questionable quality green beans? Or three 5 lb. bags of red potatoes? Would you know what to do with these or take the time to prepare them?
Could you suck up your pride and accept help?
Could you hold your head up, knowing you were doing the best you could and the face of criticism and judgment of total strangers and extended family?
Think about it… could you do any one of these things?
Those who “shop” at food pantries must do this every day.
Creating recipes and sharing them with others is a token of my gratitude, my return for the abundance of kindness shown, my payment in kind for the fresh fruits and veggies, the bags and bags of red potatoes, the raisins, peanut butter, canned salmon, breads, pinto beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, canned fruits and veggies, shelf milk, crumbles and all the other food provided by government agencies, corporate entities and generous citizens.
Who knows, maybe someday I will write the Food Pantry Cookbook and donate the proceeds to local pantries and food assistance programs. For now I am thankful for what I receive.