How To Receive Meals
The Healing Meals kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. It is a place filled with love, laughter, and friendship and of course, fabulous food that we all get to taste! It is a place where youth and adults share the experience of doing good work for others.
A typical kitchen day for me starts off with me sitting in a quiet corner before our volunteers arrive, reviewing the day’s menu and recipes. Then our team starts to arrive, beginning with our very important wash shift of volunteers. This group of VIPs wash all the produce for the day so that our next shift of Preppers can transition into chopping and roasting and sauteing and so on to create the foundation for our delicious menu. Following our prep shift, the Kitchen Team meets to discuss the upcoming cooking shift that finishes off the day, where our incredible youth and adult mentors work together to cook and finish off all the dishes, including lots of fun taste testing! The magic of each shift begins with a community circle that is led by Tracy Arnold, our Wellness Director. During these sometimes hilarious and equally poignant circles, each volunteer introduces themself and answers a question of the week. Questions range from silly to serious (example: If you were to open your fridge and have a conversation with your veggies, what would they say to you? Or, what is one way that you are helping the environment and what is one way that you could improve?). The day ends with a feeling of contented exhaustion and a smile.
A question that I often hear is, “How do you choose a recipe?” Recipe development and menu planning at Healing Meals is a creative and collaborative process. We create four weekly seasonal menus that rotate every month through the season. Our recipes are organic, nutrient-dense, whole grain and free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, refined sugar, and preservatives/processed ingredients. During the farming months, we are blessed with a lot of organic produce donated from local farms including Ferry Lane Farm (Simsbury), Holcomb Farm (Granby), and Halls Farm (Simsbury). Recipe development usually begins with me at home in my pajamas, sitting at my computer with a cup of green tea, and my sweet puppy at my feet. Some of the recipes are created by me, others are modified by me and our Kitchen Team to fit our criteria, and others are gifted to us by our affiliate groups and volunteers. My favorite recipes are traditional comfort foods that have been transformed to fit our healthy kitchen.
Typically, our new volunteers will ‘try on’ different shifts to discover where they feel the greatest fit, whether it be washing or chopping veggies or working with our youth to bring together delicious flavors. Wherever you find yourself at Healing Meals, we are so happy to have you join our family!