Chow Your Source for Everything Delicious

By Sarah E. Teller

OAKLAND MEALS ON WHEELS is a chapter of the nonprofit organization Meals on Wheels America, in business for over 30 years. “We serve people 60 years of age and older, providing both home-delivered and congregate meals,” explained Oakland’s Vice President, Steve Haveraneck. “Depending on need and qualification, we provide a hot home-delivered meal five days a week. We also provide some clients with an additional cold meal and weekend meals as well. We serve congregate meals in Hazel Park, Ferndale, and many other cities.”

The Oakland chapter specifically caters to those in South Central and Southeast Oakland County, including Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, and Troy. “All meals are produced by our staff at our central kitchen located in the Troy Community Center,” Haveraneck said. The center is located at 179 Livernois Rd., Troy.

There is an increasing need for the service Meals on Wheels provides. Older adults living at or below poverty are nearly twice as likely to be unable to live independently and, with an aging population and the number of senior citizens living in the U.S. set to double by 2050, there is an immediate need to serve those who are homebound and unable to provide for themselves. The Oakland chapter prepares and delivers a thousand meals per day to homebound seniors. But, the purpose of the organization is not only to deliver meals.

“The nutritious meal, friendly visit, and safety check we provide helps seniors cope with the three biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation, and loss of independence,” the company’s website states. “Our mission is to provide seniors with the daily delivery of hot nutritious food delivered by a caring person interested in their safety and well-being.”

THE ORGANIZATION COULD NOT OPERATE without the help of volunteers. Haveraneck explained, “Volunteers are essential to our program. We simply could not function without them. They come from the communities we serve and provide help in either producing or delivering the meals. We run Michigan State police background checks on all our volunteers.”

Oakland’s volunteers become involved with the program for many reasons. “People volunteer out of a desire to serve their community and help senior citizens who are less fortunate than themselves,” Haveraneck explained. “The volunteers typically find this to be a very rewarding experience and we have many that have been volunteering for a decade or more!”

Members of the community can easily sign up to serve or make donations. “We are grateful for any and all help we receive from the communities we serve,” said Haveraneck. “We can’t do it without community involvement. We are ready, willing and able to serve anyone who qualifies, 60 and over.”

Meals on Wheels is funded by the state and federal government as well as by donations from meal recipients. Normal hours of operation for the Oakland chapter are 5:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Those interested in receiving meals, volunteering or donating to the cause should call 248-689-0001.

ONE IN SIX PEOPLE IN THE METRO DETROIT AREA faces hunger or food insecurity at some point in their lifetime. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to obtain sufficient food for their households. There is a very real, consistent need to provide help to families, ensuring they have enough resources.

“Our food helps some close the gap on what they earn and how much it costs them to live,” said Forgotten Harvest’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Chris Ivey. “For others, we are their main source of food for the family.”

He explained, “Forgotten Harvest is community supported and community focused. Our vision is one where these communities work together to end hunger –creating individual, neighborhood, economic, and environmental health.”

The Oak Park-based non-profit is Metro Detroit’s only food rescue operation and estimated to be one of the largest and most efficient operations in the country, providing more than 41.5 million pounds of food to over 260 partner agencies. Forgotten Harvest is a member of Feeding America, delivering resources to more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies.

“THIS NEED SHOWS NO SIGNS OF DIMINISHING in the foreseeable future,” Ivey said. “The problem is not the lack of food but the ability to get that food to the people before it ends up in a landfill. Forgotten Harvest rescues surplus or ‘ugly’ food that might otherwise go to waste and uses it to feed people who would go hungry without our service. This food is provided free-of-charge to anyone who expresses the need for help.”

Forgotten Harvest’s volunteers come from all over the Detroit area. “As of now, most of our volunteer opportunities are filled up. A lot of people want to help this time of year,” Ivey said. “Our need for volunteers is a year-round challenge for us. Thankfully, we had over 18,000 volunteers last year that provided over 77,000 volunteer hours. Without them our organization simply couldn’t do what we do every day.” He added, “Our volunteer workforce gleans and repacks the rescued food into family-sized portions, and then we are able to distribute that food to Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County shelters, farmers’ market style food pantries, and agencies throughout the entire 2000 square-mile Metro Detroit area.”

The key is cross-departmental efficiency. Ivey said, “Because of the efforts of our food sourcing, logistics, and volunteer teams we can keep our fleet of 35 trucks on the road six days a week picking up from over 800 food donors such as grocery stores, farms, processors, manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, dairies, restaurants, caterers, entertainment venues, and sports arenas. Our trucks roll out of our warehouse starting at 7:30 A.M. and are not done until after 6 or 7 at night.”

As 2019 approaches, the organization has identified a new goal. Ivey explained, “Our goal moving forward of the Right Food, Right place, Right Quantity, Right Time will set us up for the future to be able to make the biggest impact on the community we serve by creating an enhanced, more sustainable food security network with nutrition food equity.”

The Forgotten Harvest warehouse is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M, and Saturdays 8:00 A.M.-4 P.M. Monetary donations can be made at

Marian McClellan, Mayor of Oak Park
Honey Garlic Butter Salmon
Even the kids ate this one.
•      1/4 cup melted butter
•      4 cloves mashed garlic
•      1/3 cup honey
•      juice of one lemon
•      salt
•      pepper
•      2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Have salmon filet at room temp – cut in serving size slices. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine: 1/4 cup melted butter, 4 cloves mashed garlic, 1/3 cup honey, juice of one lemon. Put fish on large foil and pour sauce over them – salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley. Close foil tightly. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Open foil and broil to caramelize the top for 5-7 minutes. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle tops with fresh parsley.
My favorite food is fresh young corn on the cob with butter and salt. One of the kids in my class said in his family you tried to eat your height in corn cobs! Rich, chocolate ice-cream comes in a close second. I’m afraid I’m a food snob, so I like fresh, healthy food, but interesting menus. If they use cilantro and caramelized onions, I’m in.

Amy Kruppe, HP Schools Superintendent
Foam Custard
A family recipe from my grandparents: Good, Southern holiday spirit.

Foam Custard
• 3 quarts of milk
• 1 dozen eggs , separate
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 tsp. corn starch
Put all of the milk except 2 cups to boil. Stir the egg yolks to boil. Stir the eggs yolks, sugar and corn starch and 2 cups of milk together. Then pour in boiling milk and stir constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat egg whites till stiff and then fold in custard. Do not beat. Let cool and then add 2 tsp. vanilla.

Baron Brown, Ferndale Police
Hamburger Soup
My favorite meal at a restaurant is the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse ribeye, medium rare. Nothing else on it or with it…maybe a small Caesar salad as a starter. It’s the second best thing, next to my wife of course, about my wedding anniversary.

Hamburger Soup
• 1 lb ground beef (browned and drained of grease)
• 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp chili powder
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
• 1 packet of sazon seasoning
• Very finely chopped jalapeño (add seeds for extra hot!)
• 1 Potato-1/4 inch cubes
• 1 Small onion-finely chopped
• 1 Small shallot-finely chopped
• 14 oz can of beans, pinto or garbanzo are my favorite
• 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
• 2×14 oz cans of your favorite low salt chicken broth
• 1 bag of your choice of frozen veggies for soup
• 10 sprigs of finely chopped cilantro
• 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
Brown meat. Remove from pan and pour out grease. Cook shallots and onions in remnants of grease in pan until they become almost translucent. Add all spices and jalapeño. Cook until spices become fragrant, 5 mins. Add canned goods, do not drain beans. Add two cans of water…maybe 3 based on how big your soup pot is. Bring to a boil. Simmer over gently rolling boil for 20 minutes or until beans start to soften. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes over simmer. Add bag of frozen veggies and cook another 10-15 minutes over simmer until potatoes are soft. For last 5 minutes add in the cilantro. Eat with warm tortillas and a spoon of homemade salsa.

Jim Poole, Lead Pastor Renaissance Vineyard Church
Sloppy Jim
If I’m eating out, my fave date night spot is Assaggi Bistro. The owners are hospitable and the prices are right. Starters are bread with oil. A bottle of the Lebanese red wine. And I love the gnocchi for my main dish. Espresso and a dessert to share are not uncommon.

If it’s family dinner at home and I’m cooking, top of the list is Sloppy Jim. This is a variation on the sloppy joe recipe my grandma taught me growing up as a kid, renamed, since “Sloppy Granny” doesn’t quite sound appetizing! This recipe has plenty of flexibility for your preference.

Sloppy Jim
• Worcestershire sauce
• mustard
• garlic powder
• ketchup
• oregano
• basil
• Italian seasoning • seasoned salt
• minced onions (optional)
I start with a pound of ground turkey or beef, browned in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with Worcestershire sauce. Once browned I add large amounts of ketchup and small amounts of mustard to form the sauce, with some extra Worcestershire sauce to taste. I let this reduce, adding in dashes of oregano, garlic powder, basil, Italian seasoning, and seasoned salt to taste. Minced onions are also a possibility. Once the flavor is right, I turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until the taste and temperature are right. Sloppy Jim works equally well over spaghetti, or buns for a more traditional approach. I’ll often serve with fries, green beans, asparagus, even sometimes a summertime corn on the cob.

Erik Tungate, Oak Park City Manager
• 1 bag Oreo cookies
• 1/2 stick softened margarine
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 6 ounces instant vanilla pudding
• 3 1/2 cups milk
Crush one bag of Oreo cookies. Combine 1/2 stick of softened margarine, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 8 ounces cream cheese. Combine 6 ounces of instant vanilla pudding and 3 1/2 cups of milk. Add 1 cup of Oreo crumbs to pudding. Combined pudding and cream cheese mixture. Add 12 ounces of whipped topping. Layer in order, end with Oreo crumbs on top: Oreo crumbs/mixture/Oreo crumbs/mixture.

Raylon Leaks May, Ferndale City Council
Banana Pudding
• 2 boxes of instant, vanilla Jello pudding (3.4 oz boxes).
• 1 box of vanilla wafers
• 1 large tub of Cool Whip
• 6 medium bananas, sliced
• Whole, skim or 2 % milk is fine
• 8 X 9 rectangular baking dish or disposable aluminum pan
Take about 5 vanilla wafers and crush them up in a bag. Prepare instant pudding as directed on boxes and pour into the pan. Place sliced bananas, in row formation, in the pudding. Place whole vanilla wafers on top of the bananas and keep interchanging between bananas and wafers, layer style and until the bananas and wafers are no longer able to be covered by the pudding. Spread a layer of Cool Whip over the pudding, completely covering the pudding. Sprinkle vanilla wafer crumbs on top of the cool whip. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, allowing wafers to soften.

Chow 2019 : Colton Dale, OP Community Engagement Pumpkin Cookies
• 1 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tspn baking soda
• 1 tspn baking powder
• 1 tspn cinnamon
• 1 tspn pmkin pie spice
• 1/2 tspn nutmeg
• 1/2 tspn salt
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup pure pumpkin
• 1 egg
• 1 tspn vanilla extract
Combine wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Refrigerate dough for 4 hours. Scoop into one inch balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375F degrees for 11-13 minutes.