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My name is Tasha, and you can find me every Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst in Toronto. I'm usually the one shouting "free food!" at people, handing out flyers and having conversations with curious passersby while my co-participants dish out food. I currently do most of the organizing and promoting of the Toronto chapter of Food Not Bombs.
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is a group that recovers food that would otherwise go to waste and shares it with the public without restriction to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment. The food is always vegan. We do this in order to cater to as many dietary differences as possible and to start discussions about the violence that animals in the food industry face. FNB was started by anti-war activists in Massachusetts in the 1980s, and now has expanded to include chapters in over 1,000 cities worldwide.
My first experience with Food Not Bombs was while I was living in St. Catharines two summers ago. My partner at the time and I had been looking for good volunteering opportunities in the community and we found a Food Not Bombs business card on the counter of Rise Above, which is St. Catharines' local vegan bakery-turned-restaurant (and also venue for lots of awesome events). After the first serving, I was completely in love! Food Not Bombs combined all my passions: food justice, anti-war/poverty/capitalism activism, community building and veganism. When my academic career brought me back to the big city the following year, I was excited to be part of Toronto's FNB chapter.
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the Toronto chapter was on hiatus, and people were scrambling to try and get it started up again. I proposed a meeting time and place, rounded up some people through the Facebook page and just like that the Toronto FNB was back organizing.
It's been a ride! It was rough at first, as we couldn't decide on a permanent serving spot and the kitchen that had been lent to us was hard for more than two people to move around in, although we had some incredibly fun times there. Now we're using the kitchen at APieCalypse Now! Vegan Bakery (thanks Jenn!) which generously gives us the space we need, supplies and a permanent location. Every week new people show up to cook, to serve or just to talk.
We have awesome adventures and meet people with all sorts of stories at Food Not Bombs. It's a really great way to connect to people through a common interest (who doesn't like free food?!) and engage them in conversations about issues they may not have given much thought before. There's always much fun and learning to be had! If you want to join in, email [email protected] to sign up to the mailing list or ask any questions you may have. You can also look us up on Facebook.
FNB tends to improvise most of their recipes based on available ingredients, but here's my go-to easy and delicious vegan mac & cheese!
Mac n' Cheese Recipe
You will need:
Elbow macaroni (enough to serve about 4 people)
1 cup Earth Balance or other vegan butter/margarine
6-7 tbsp flour
1 cup non-dairy milk
4-5 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper
- Boil water. You can make the sauce within the time it takes to cook the macaroni!
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Once it is liquefied, gradually
- Add the flour, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Let it heat up until it bubbles a bit
- Add the milk. Heat until boiling.
- Turn heat to medium-low and gradually add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (I like to use lots of pepper). Stir constantly. You will see/feel the sauce start to thicken. Keep stirring until it has reached desired consistency.
- If you want, add turmeric for a cheesy yellowy colour and a nutritional kick. Mix & enjoy!
- Optional last step: pour into a baking pan, mix with cut up veggie sausage, top with bread crumbs and bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes.
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