Pesto—a mouth-watering, almost magical blend of freshly grown basil, olive oil, garlic, cheese, and pine nuts. It’s quite the culinary experience these days. Perhaps the thought of it makes you recall a fantastic summer trip to Italy, an amazing restaurant, or an especially memorable meal.
To a young boy growing up in 1970’s East Bay suburbia, green “sauce” on spaghetti was indeed a magical, mysterious, and mesmerizing epicurean moment! How exactly did that spaghetti become green? What is in that secret packet? And WHY did it taste so good?
Of course, I was that young boy growing up in Livermore, Calif. with my two brothers in a single-parent household. Actually, there were dual parents during this particular time—two single moms with a total of eight kids and not much income.
We were on public assistance during this period. I don’t recall how much or for how long, but I do remember food stamps, government cheese, $1 per bag thrift store days, and a surplus bread store.
In order to stretch the budget, there were nights when us eight kids gathered around the pot of just-boiled noodles, under the moms’ urging, to watch them turn this ordinary spaghetti green. As they “stirred the pot,” in went the magic green powder from the secret packet. It was an astounding green, indeed! Much like our conviction in Santa Claus at the time, I assume we had to suspend some disbelief. I was the oldest, and I don’t recall being at all suspicious of any trickery on the part of the adults. Instead, the green spaghetti feast turned into a joyous and satisfying meal for 10.
That I recall this experience so vividly and so fondly is a testament to the impact of our childhood experiences, and the power of making a difficult experience pleasant. This is ever more important in a household where food is lacking.
Cleary, this is the genesis of the “Green Spaghetti Fund”—an effort by Alan and me to help raise critically needed funds for Sonoma County food assistance programs.
Remarkably, about 1 in 6 people in America face hunger or food insecurity, not knowing if they will have enough to eat. According to Feeding America, 49.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households in 2013, including nearly 16 million children. In Sonoma County, the Redwood Empire Food Bank reports that 82,000 people in the area face the threat of hunger every month.
The need is real. Agencies and programs helping feed these people rely on donations of dollars, food, and time to make a difference in the community.
Our hope is that the Green Spaghetti Fund will encourage you to make a donation to help provide food for people in need and to assist in building the infrastructure required to achieve that goal—all the while creating good nutrition with dignity.
We are happy to support the following organizations and hope you will too:
Thanks for taking the time to learn about the Green Spaghetti Fund!