Bake Olympia!

Bake Olympia, Olympia’s food blogger bake sale, will be up and running tomorrow, friends! After months of planning, meetings, coffee dates and many emails, Olympia food bloggers are converging at Arts Walk on Friday night to raise money for the food bank. Yahoo!

I had a chance to visit the Thurston County Food Bank yesterday while they were setting up. The space where the food is displayed is bright and open, so different from other food pantries I’ve visited. And there is fresh produce. So different, as I said. They even had some local rhubarb (this is my kind of place).

The first summer after I moved to Ohio, I worked at a food pantry around the corner from our townhouse. As volunteers, we pre-packed paper grocery sacks with a prescribed number of items, according to a list taped to the wall. Two cans of soup. One loaf of bread. One box of cereal. One frozen vegetable. And so forth.

It wasn’t difficult to imagine the disappointment when people got home and unpacked their bag. My son, I could hear one of the mothers saying to herself, won’t eat this beef stew.

I’m grateful that our food bank allows people to choose their own foods, picking which bunch of bok choy looks best today, which type of dried beans or loaf of bread will work in their household.

That is an incredible freedom. We talk a lot, as people involved in and smitten with food, about information – labeling ingredients properly, identifying the country where a cabbage was harvested. But there’s also access. And not only access but the right to reach out and pick up a red pepper, see that the skin is broken or bruised and choose another.

I’m proud we’re supporting the food bank, to help in a very small way to make food available and food choices possible for more people. If you’ve never visited or donated, Arts Walk is the perfect time to become familiar with their space and mission. They’ll be open (they’re number 20 on the map) and available to answer questions or, I presume, sign you up for a shift.

On a personal note, I can’t wait to meet you. Stop by the booth, on Columbia between 4th and State, eat a cookie, say hello and buy a raffle ticket. (Yes. There are prizes.)

I’m making cookies. Ginger cookies with chocolate drizzled on top. And garnished with this:

God’s honest truth is that the candied rhubarb flavor doesn’t really shine next to the spice of the cookie. But it’s so pretty (and local) that I can’t help myself.

To candy the rhubarb, I followed this recipe, heating sugar and water in a pan, slicing the rhubarb into ribbons, briefly soaking and laying them flat to dry in a warm oven.

Enjoy your weekend and pray for the rain to dry up!

9 thoughts on “Bake Olympia!

  1. It is truly incredible that the Thurston County Food Bank takes fresh foods and distributes them. More food banks should do this! Good luck with the bake sale!

  2. Oh Jenni….you tempt me so! I may have to move to Olympia! Such a smart way to bring lots of joy and good food to all. Peace and love to the movers, the shakers, and especially the bakers!

  3. What a wonderful cause.. I can’t wait to see your photos of the event!! I hope you raise as much money as you hope to. We are so fortunate to have access to gourmet foods.. I feel so blessed in life.. xo Smidge

    • Thanks, Smidge! I hope we’re able to raise a lot of support for the food bank, too. And thank you for the reminder – my camera wasn’t on my list of things to take along. I’ll be sure to share them!

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