The Common Ingredient is Love

Garlicky Tomato and White Bean soup pairs well with cornbread and honey. #TheCommonIngredient
Credit: Cathy Salter’s Garlicky Tomato and White Bean Soup–#The Common Ingredient

March 2020–Long lines at food pantries; thousands of people out of work and worried they cannot feed their families. 

March 2020–At home in Columbia, Missouri, Anne Deaton saw these lines, worried about the food insecure, and how she could help. Not content to just worry but, as always, ready to act, Anne got busy. She contacted fellow Columbians Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, Cathy Salter, and Robin Labrunerie, all culinary talents, writers and all founding members of The Common Ingredient (TCI). Barbara Schlemeier and Linda Cupp joined in along with Holly Enowski, their webmaster, and a website was born:

And not just any website. A website where people who could no longer share meals with family and friends could find recipes for future meals once the pandemic abated as well as act on their concern for those hard hit by COVID-19. Through the website these food warriors raised awareness about food insecurity, especially during COVID-19, and provided a way for people, like me, to donate to organizations serving those who need food. 

 “Yes, this was a very small action step that we could do from our home (and have fun doing so),” explained Anne, “as none of us felt, at our ages, that we could go volunteer at the food pantry or other food distribution sites when COVID began.” 

Anne Deaton, founding member of TCI.
Photo Credit: The Common Ingredient 2021 summer newsletter

It was also a way for those of us stuck at home to enjoy this virtual cookbook where the common ingredient is love–love for food, for family, for those who need our help.

What a resource these women have prepared for their online visitors–recipes, comfort food stories, tips and tricks (which I need), recipe submissions (yes, submit your favorite recipe and grow their collection), and a donation link to organizations serving the food insecure in Northeast Missouri. Future plans include ways to grow the site to include other states and organizations.

January 2022–Yes, these talented, energetic, caring women inspired me and continue to inspire. They could have just donated to Feeding America or similar organizations and said “Enough. I did my part.” But they didn’t. They continue to expand their efforts and declare to the world that they will help overcome food insecurity. I will join them. Will you?


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