Happy Chanukah and Merry Xmas to all. Regardless of what you celebrate, I am hoping you are celebrating something and sharing time with those you love.
This has been a crazy year in the Zimmern house, and I always like to take some time and spend it at home when the holidays roll around. We are going to do latkes one night, kindle some Chanukah candles, stash presents under the tree, and all the other symbols of the season that allow us to mark the year. By the way, I have all my holiday recipes at andrewzimmern.com and at Food and Wine Magazine if you need some good ones.
But more importantly, it is a time to be grateful. Grateful for our health, our family unity, and our friends. I am grateful I have a job and wish more Americans had one too. I am grateful I have food on our table. There was a time in my life when I didn’t have food, or a job, or my health, and every day that I do I thank the Almighty Czar of the Heavens for those gifts. I have a family that loves me and I love them, and I know that many feel the tug of estrangement as the saccharine and maudlin commercialized Santa Machine rolls onward. If this feels familiar to you, it’s OK; it gets better.
Of course, I want to get all up in your business about homelessness and hunger issues, about help you can find right now if you are an addict or an alcoholic, but how about I just tell you about a group I got really chummy with this year that could use some help?
Open Arms is a local organization that makes sure that sick people get nutritious foods delivered to them at home. As its website so simply states, “It's a simple notion: People who are sick should not be without food. Yet it happens every day that people in our community with life-threatening illnesses find themselves unable to shop or cook—and, often, without the support network to help. Open Arms is the only nonprofit organization in Minnesota that cooks and delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutrition needs of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, MS, ALS, cancer and more than 42 other diseases.” It also works with communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing food and technical assistance for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
I love this agency and it could use your help, as the winter months drag on its clients needs grow. So please, do what you can to help today by going to the website.
And finally, Nona Aronowitz wrote a superb essay on the ethics revolving around how restaurants treat their workers. Remember 10 percent of the national work force is in this industry. Same old, same old until the wrap, where she brilliantly pointed out that, “Food service workers are a group spanning from college-educated rich kids to undocumented immigrants. Ten million of us hold these jobs, and we're staying in them longer and longer. If the future rests on the polo-and-apron economy, it only makes sense that we keep tabs on it—and chow down at the restaurants that are treating their workers right.”
If that doesn’t convince you I don’t know what will. Happy Holidays.