This post originally appeared on The Perfect Pantry.
Wahoo! It's opening day for Menu for Hope, now through December 25.
We're so excited to offer bid item #UE15, generously donated by The Spice House in Chicago: a deluxe gift box of ten Ethnic Chicago Neighborhood spice blends, plus a wonderful cookbook, Chicago Cooks.
Menu for Hope is an annual food bloggers' fundraising event created by Pim Techamuanvivit. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired her to find a way to help; to date, Menu for Hope has raised nearly $250,000 in support of the UN World Food Programme.
This year Menu for Hope will support a new initiative of the World Food Programme called Purchase for Progress (P4P), which enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation. These farmers learn better farming practices and increase their income, which helps their local economies and creates more jobs.
Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join together to offer food-related items for the Menu for Hope. Anyone can buy tickets to bid on gift certificates, home-cooked goodies, cookbooks and more. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual ticket to bid on an item of your choice.
*** The Perfect Pantry is offering the ultimate item for pantry lovers: a deluxe box of ten spice blends, plus a Chicago cookbook and culinary history, all donated by The Spice House. Bid item #UE15 can be shipped anywhere in North America. ***
Last summer, during the BlogHer conference in Chicago, my friend Kalyn and I visited the Old Town location of The Spice House -- and, lucky us, we met the owner, Patty Penzey Erd. Yes, she is the daughter of the founder of The Spice House (which her parents opened in 1957) and the sister of the founder of Penzeys, so she knows her spices.
The Spice House carries the whole range of familiar herbs and spices, and also many that were new to me, including vadouvan and Japanese seven-spice and dried tomato powder.
One of their most popular gift boxes, perfect for anyone who's ever been to, lived in, or wanted to visit this great American city, the Ethnic Chicago Neighborhoods deluxe gift box contains ten spice blends representing the city's unique culinary traditions:
- Old World Central Street Seasoning: Central European style seasoning made from thirty-two ingredients. Great for vegetables, chicken soup or paprikash, potatoes, steak, hamburgers, goulash.
- Old Taylor Street Cheese Sprinkle: Named for Chicago’s oldest Italian neighborhood, this blend features garlic, rich Romano cheese and Italian herbs. Makes heavenly garlic bread, or toss with pasta and butter, sprinkle on garden salads, or mix in sour cream for potato dressing.
- Lake Shore Drive Seasoning: A luxurious seasoning made from herbs that have been freeze-dried rather than dehydrated. This sophisticated process gives them a fresh, light, delicate flavor and texture. Wonderful for steamed or broiled fish or chicken.
- Bronzeville Rib Rub: Named for the area of Chicago which, in the first half of the 20th Century, was a vibrant community populated by African-Americans, many of whom had arrived from the South. A Southern-style seasoning that makes the best dry rub for baby back ribs, fantastic on chicken and in barbecue sauces.
- Milwaukee Avenue Steak Seasoning: Named for a street with a strong Polish/Slavic affiliation, this blend has a nice smoky garlic pepper flavor for steaks, chops, ribs, chicken, fish.
- Greektown "Billygoat" Seasoning: Mediterranean flavors including lemon, garlic, and Greek oregano, great for dipping sauce, marinade, or sprinkled right onto meats and poultry. Make roast chicken the way they do at the Greek church festivals, or make a marinade for lamb shish kabob. I love this in turkey meatballs.
- Bridgeport Seasoning: As early as the 1800s, this neighborhood was famous for its Irish heritage. With its herb and cheese flavor, Bridgeport seasoning is good on potatoes, chicken or fish, eggs or artichokes.
- Back of the Yards Garlic-Pepper Butcher's Rub: This mixture of coarser spices is designed to flavor almost any meat.
- Ukrainian Village Seasoning: An all-purpose vegetable seasoning, blending the old-country standbys of black pepper, onion, salt, and garlic mixed with a touch of the new-country red and green bell peppers. Delicious on eggs and chicken, or in buttermilk/sour cream mixtures for ranch-style salad dressings. Great for potato salad.
- Pilsen Latino Seasoning: Named for an area of Chicago with a strong Hispanic/Latino population. A good amount of chile pepper dominates this mixture, making it terrific for salsa, chicken, beans, burritos, rice and beef.
And there's more: Owner Patty Erd has included in our bid item a copy of Chicago Cooks, which includes contributions from Chicago's top female chefs and food professionals, a culinary history of Chicago, plus 75 recipes for some classic Chicago dishes (chicken Vesuvio, anyone?).
Best of all, item #UE15 can be shipped anywhere in North America.
To bid on item #UE15 or any of the items offered by foodies around the world, here's what you need to do:
1. Choose a prize or prizes from the Menu for Hope at Chez Pim.
2. From there, go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.
3. Please specify which bid item you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item; please use the bid item code.
Each $10 you donate will give you one ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 -- 2xEU01, 3xEU02.
4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we can claim the corporate match.
5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
Note that The Perfect Pantry doesn't collect any money; everything goes directly to Firstgiving.com, and from there to the UN World Food Programme.
Check back on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18 to see if you've won the items you had your eye on.
Remember, each $10 you donate earns one ticket for an item of your choice, so now's the time to place your bids. It's tax-deductible, and fun, and the items donated this year are amazing.
Thanks to our East Coast regional host, Helen of Tartelette. And thanks to all of you for participating in Menu for Hope. Bid often, and have fun!