Our homeschool co-op is meeting on Thursday. We’ve decided to have a heritage days of sort, and we’re to bring a food dish that somehow marks our heritage. No one really knew what to bring, so it was decided that we could just bring a dish from our growing up years. Or a dish we make that our children love.
A dish from my growing up years? It was not difficult to think of the dish I most remember growing up.
What is this fine culinary dish? you ask.
Why, ’tis Hamburger Helper without the hamburger. Because some weeks and months a pound of hamburger was too much for my single mama’s budget.
We ate it and loved it.
Josh and I were talking about Hamburger Helper yesterday and he asked when was the last time I made it. It’s been at least 17 years. I don’t make much of anything from a box anymore (except maybe brownies) (oooh! and even those I made from scratch the other night!)
So I was talking to my mom about the co-op meal plan and told her I may say something about it via FB, and to please not take offense, but know that I jest.
But I decided against joking about Helper Helper. Why? Because while Helper Helper may be a thing of my past, what if it’s a reality for someone on my friends list? What if a pound of hamburger is too much for one of my friends to buy?
This thought got me all worked up. How could I have a friend who cannot afford a pound of hamburger, and I not know it? Because if this is the case, I’m a poor friend. I was thinking back to the years where groceries were scarce. The worst time I can remember was living in the fifth wheel and the Icky House. My mom was trying so hard to pay for heat, that there wasn’t much left to pay for the food. Did my friends know? If my girls were in public school right now, would they know if their friends were hungry? Because I want to know. I want to feed them.
I remember in 8th grade (cannot believe I’m about to tell this story), sitting in the cafeteria with my friends, my friends who had the cool clothes, and the right Keds (with the blue label, not the green label like I wore), they had ski lift badges on their coat zippers, and all the Aqua Net required for the highest bangs. My friends had the best of the best. (I’m still not sure why they were friends with me.) Anyway, burritos were on the lunch menu. I think they were always on the lunch menu. I am sitting there without a lunch tray, and my friends around me with theirs. As two friends were talking, I snagged a bite of one of their burritos. She caught me as I put the burrito down and then she punched me.
Now I wasn’t just hungry, but mortified.
I would hope if my girls were ever in that situation, the one where they had the food, and their friend did not, that they would not punch their friend, but share. Give. Knowing that once they were home, they could have a snack. Or are kids just oblivious? Do kids not notice? I’m well aware that kids aren’t just going to come right out and say, “hey, I’m hungry over here, can I have a bite of your lunch?”
I was humiliated in the cafeteria in 8th grade, but I learned a lesson on compassion that day. Feed the friends who are hungry.
My heart hurts thinking that anyone is hungry. I know it happens all too often around the world, and probably in my very own neighborhood. So if we are friends, if you are reading this, and I have access to you, then I need to know. You can message me, you can text me, a direct message on IG. Whatever, however. But you do not need to be hungry. Your kids do not need to be hungry.
I want to help.