Tag Archives: tornado

Operation: Louisville

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This year is turning into a busy year for Mercy Chefs. As always, we are torn because we want to serve others, but to serve others there must be a disaster. Ideally, our mobile kitchens would get lonely. The real world always has something else in mind.

This week we are in Louisville, MS. Last week’s tornadoes his this area pretty hard. I’m thankful that the damage isn’t anything like we saw in Moore, OK last year. Our rotation just started work this morning, and our plans are to stay until Sunday. Mother’s Day. It’s also my anniversary.

These deployments are difficult for my family to cope with. Here I am traipsing the world playing chef, while Heather handles everything. Two of my three daughters understand why I keep leaving home, but my four year old princess takes it hard.

I have a tough time remembering that my family is sacrificing a lot for me to serve. I’m not some one man wrecking crew. If I didn’t have a supporting wife who was capable and willing to shoulder all of this added responsibility, my small contribution would be impossible. I am so thankful I have her.

Today’s sunshine turned my neck a nice shade of red and I’m getting rested up for tomorrow. A local volunteer actually hassled me since I’m from Louisiana. It was all in good fun, but I’ve been craving red beans and rice since he brought it up. Unless the menu changes, we are serving Salisbury steak for lunch and pork loin for dinner. I believe we are preparing lunch and dinner for 500 each meal. We usually serve upwards of 800 per meal, so I may have some time to kick back and catch some rays.

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Operation: Vilonia Part II

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I had a chance to pass food out in some of the affected neighborhoods today.  It is the same story no matter how many times you see a disaster.  Every time it makes you sick to see all of those hurting souls.

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It’s hard to put the experience into words.  Disaster relief can be very difficult, both physically and spiritually.  It is also a place where you can see the better side of humanity when you see strangers show compassion.

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Now it’s time to sift through the rubble to uncover the pieces.

The Brownies I Can’t Forget

There was a time where I had an incredible memory. I knew everything there was to know, or so I thought. The most vivid memories revolved around food. For the past three years or so, I have documented my life with food pictures. Most of my pictures are of my kitchen creations, but there’s also a smattering of other memorable meals.

These past three years it seems that my life memories are disappearing. I’m forgetting even the context of food pictures. Who made it, how it tasted, where it was eaten seems to be slipping. I’ve decided that I need to capture the context before these food memories disappear altogether.

This house is missing the ground floor.

January 2012–I headed to Trussville, AL to volunteer with Mercy Chefs to feed hot meals to the tornado victims. When I arrived, it was determined that Mercy Chefs wasn’t needed as Samaritan’s Purse had the situation under control.

I just drove nine hours from Shreveport . I wasn’t going to turn back so I was allowed to volunteer in the kitchen as a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer.

We provided most meals but some meals were served by local organizations. Grace’s Kitchen served up some delicious meals a couple of times during the two weeks I was there.

This trip is beginning to get fuzzy already, but I don’t think I could ever forget the cappuccino brownies.

I remember them vividly. I was sitting at a long table with maybe thirty volunteers, most of whom I had never met. I sat across from this guy that moderately resembled Harrison Ford. He was telling me that he was an electrician and he traveled and volunteered his time.

Maybe he was a plumber, I can’t say I wasn’t really paying attention. Something about being a former alcoholic and whatever else he was saying about carpentry or Hungarian ice wrestling. I was too busy thinking about these brownies to pay him much mind. I’m surprised he didn’t mention my glazed eyes.

These cappuccino brownies floored me. I knew I had to have them again. Fortunately for me, they posted the recipe on their website. I don’t even have to suffer through a conversation with some Blade Runner wannabe.

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My friend, Josh, shot the picture of the brownies. I was able to pay him in brownies.