Food Fighters

One of my life’s great privileges is brewing the morning’s first cup of coffee and bringing it to my lovely wife Amy. And I like starting the day with the process of making that coffee. I prefer the coffee from my friends Riccardo Pereira at Due South and Will Shurtz of Methodical Coffee, and I’m also a fan of the oak roasted coffee beans from Summer Moon in Texas. I measure out 12 grams of beans per six ounces of water then grind the beans into the consistency of something just past kosher salt. Our Bonavita brewer heats the water to a proper temperature of 195 and brews a magnificent cup. After I turn the coffee pot on I let the dogs out, hang out with them for a bit and marvel as the sun is chasing away the morning stars, head back inside and feed the dogs and by then the coffee is ready. I enjoy starting the morning with a familiar process and managing that process gets me encouraged for the day ahead. And bringing her a perfect cup of coffee first thing in the morning is something I enjoy doing for my wife. And when I’m gone, that’s what she misses the most. If you’re not married, that may sound inconsequential. It’s just a cup of coffee, right? Well not to me and not to her. It’s a daily display of love and commitment and its meaning is at the heart of our marriage. We are here to serve one another, in marriage, in business, and in life.

And that’s why I’m returning to Poland for another tour with World Central Kitchen. My first tour with WCK ended up being an amazing experience and an incredible display of hospitality and service. In Poland I met people from across the world that had come to help, and in helping what they were really doing was serving their fellow men and women. There is no pay for volunteering with WCK or any of the other myriad of relief agencies, there’s only people serving people in need.

In the American South, we have a custom of bringing food to those that have lost a loved one. And I’m certain that custom is not unique to my home. Surely this is customary in many other cultures throughout the ages. So all I’m really doing is honoring that respected tradition of bringing food to a solemn event. I know, I’ve been listening to the updates and the last few weeks the threats from Putin have become more ominous. And perhaps that means his inner circle has also become more unsure of their leader? I do know that the more we (you, me, the EU, NATO) help Ukraine, the more dire Putin’s position becomes. I hope and pray his inner circle collapses sooner rather than later.

Recently some folks associated with WCK crowned a familiar term to the volunteers, Food Fighters. When I was there in March, one of the chefs I was working with, a guy from Virginia, told me his kids thought he was a super hero on the order of Iron Man. I thought about that and answered him with “I’ve never used my skills for so much good.” And he grinned and replied, “Same here, brother.” Food fighters, indeed.

What a shame there isn’t an actual Iron Man. A guy that can fly across the planet and quickly make the awful, horrible things right. Where is that guy when the world needs him the most? Until Iron Man shows up, all I can do is head back to Poland and make applesauce.

~ John



4 Responses

  1. Safe travels chef! I hope this is all over soon but until then you guys are the real life super hero’s.

  2. John thank you for your gift of giving and caring. Our retirement community in Greensboro has a weekly prayer service for Ukraine. Please be safe and May God bless you. Lou and Buzz

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