Let's sit back for a moment and remember those less fortunate than ourselves. I think about food every moment of my life, but my thoughts are very different from some other people's out there. While I think about what to cook with Jerusalem artichokes, taste 15 different butters to decide which one I like best, go out of my way to secure a shaving or two of white truffles or splash out on my wedding dinner at Alain Ducasse's Louis XV, there are millions of poor people out there who wish they had so much as a cup of rice to feed their family of ten.
Of course I know that it's not going to do them any good if I stop eating - but there are ways of helping. England used to have a great tradition on the 2nd day of Christmas, where those who could afford big festive dinners would put out their left-overs in boxes for the poor to collect and feed their families with. Hence the name Boxing Day. Let's get back into that spirit. Even if the days are gone where you'd neatly pack the remains of your dinner up in a box, there is a way to do your bit for those who need it more dearly than you.
Once a year, in a tradition started by Chez Pim, the foodbloggers of this world unite for a world-wide virtual raffle in which proceeds are donated to a charitable cause. Last year's event raised over $17,000 and with the number of foodblogs and their audience having at least tripled in the last year, we are hoping to raise even more this time round.
And here's how it works: participating foodbloggers donate a prize (more on what I'm donating this year to follow) which is advertised on various Menu for Hope portals around the world. From there on it's over to you, really!
Readers can buy raffle tickets for just $10 each on a secure website, specifying which prize (or prizes) they'd like to win. The more tickets they buy, the more chances of winning, obviously. Winners will be announced on Chez Pim on the 15th of January and your prize will be shipped at no cost to you. All proceeds will be donated to the United Nations' World Food Programme - no foodblogger will ever touch the money collected, it will go straight to the UN.
(Please make sure you read the small print on either the EU portal hosted by food writer David Lebovitz or the donations page)
And here's what I will be giving this year:
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is one of the hottest tables in London at the moment — with sleek, modern design and an open-plan kitchen, it's gourmet cuisine in a casual, yet refined atmosphere and the talk of London...
If you dream of treating yourself (or someone else) to an array of what Joel Robuchon's world-famous kitchen excels at, this voucher for a tasting menu at the Atelier is for you. But you can also redeem it against any other selection of dishes when you visit. All you need to do is either book a table yourself or show up on the day (reservations are only taken until 7pm). Go on - spoil yourself rotten...it's for charity, after all! Voucher is for £65, only valid at Joël Robuchon in London, and must be redeemed by June 5, 2007.
To bid for this prize, visit the donation page on FirstGiving (Prize EU28)
As a joint donation from my friend the Cook Sister! and myself, we're offering our services as caterers for the day to help you throw a lavish cocktail party.
Picture the scene: A summery evening with the sun just touching the horizon; a collection of your dearest friends, all immaculately dressed; the sound of clinking champagne glasses and tinkling laughter; plate after plate of exquisite and expertly-prepared canapés being carried out of the kitchen and served to your guests. A fantasy? No - in fact, this could be your house this summer! The source of those exquisite canapés is two award-winning bloggers working away in your very own kitchen in the London area. As the lucky winner, you'll get the opportunity of having Jeanne of Cook Sister! and myself catering a canapé party for up to 20 lucky guests at yours! (To see examples of what we might be serving on the day, visit the canapé & fingerfood section on this site)
Included in the prize are our catering skills for the duration of the party, at least 12 canapés per person, and all serving equipment. You only pay for the cost of the ingredients: after a consultation on which canapés to serve, we will do the grocery shopping, prepare everything and do the washing up afterwards. All you need do is arrange a date with us: it can be any time in late June, early July 2007 or from September onwards, we'll do all we can to accommodate your needs.
Please email me on to check availability for the date of your choice PRIOR to bidding! To bid for this prize, visit the donation page on FirstGiving (Prize EU27)
But there are many more fantastic prizes waiting for you out there:
For all the prizes donated by European foodbloggers, visit David Lebovitz's site.
For more details and all the other prizes donated around the world (you can bid for those as well, as the donating blogger has agreed to ship anywhere in the world, unless specified otherwise), visit Chez Pim's round-up.
And remember: not only are you treating yourself to a great prize, you're supporting the United Nations' World Food Programme... go on, get bidding!