Team 2 Good to Be True

Cooks for a Cause, Lexington, KY

Cooks for a Cause, Lexington, KY

At last weekend's Cooks for a Cause event, many hands made the most fun I've ever had in public. Those are the hands of some of the five members of Team 2 ("2 Good to be True"–my name for my team) in the photo above. The hands show our urgency as the "Hands Up!" deadline approached in the team cooking competition in Lexington, Kentucky. This grand event raised friends and money for God's Pantry Food Bank.

Thanks to a random selection process at an early planning meeting, I had the privilege and joy of working with team mates Scott Mayes, Becca Self, Denise Smith, and Andrew Tan. All of us cook, some of us have fantastic cooking toys, each of us is comfortable with the habits of ingredients, and all of us loved being able to help a good cause just by cooking with some new friends.

State Farm Agent (and Savoring Kentucky sponsor, I'm proud to say) Debra Hensley is the inventor  and organizing genius behind Cooks for a Cause. Debra was in such a constant state of motion during the event that my guest photographer (whir of the rotary beater to best man SK) did not get a photo.

Cooks for a Cause is the tenth Debra's Social $timulus event so far. Each event builds on months of planning, attracts hundreds of happy people, and shines a brilliant light on parts of our community that are new to nearly all of us. Each event bring energy and hope. Each adds to the connections that underpin strong local economies. Each has so many facets and ways of making a positive impact that short descriptions like this fail to show the events' full import.

In somewhat the same way, I cannot say exactly why I found participating in the cooking challenge with my four excellent team members so absorbing, fun, and rewarding. I can report that I had my gear loaded into the team's work space by 4:40 PM, and the next thing I knew, it was 8:40 PM. I had not even thought of sitting during those four hours. I can't remember any aches, pains, or weariness. Just focus. Beautiful ingredients, all the tools one can imagine, adequate space, and four like-minded, food-smart people finishing each other's sentences–and dishes.

We had committed in advance to have fun. Part of the fun came from pitting our cooking smarts against the wonderful cooks in four other excellent teams. I think it's safe to say the competition motivated us to want to cook well enough to make a contribution to the event. We wanted to honor the work, mission, and people of God's Pantry.

Even with our "winning isn't everything" premise, we still jumped for joy when we won "Best Second Course"–the main dish course. It made us happy that the fine panel of judges valued the delicious tastes we composed from the Mystery Box and shared pantry ingredients. To learn a bit more of the story of the evening, read the captions for these 33 action shots.

I live in a city-region filled with wonderful promise. Lots of people work toward community good every minute of every day. Yet there are days when doors of compassion and progress slam shut and discouragement takes over. My mantra on those days? "What would a great city do?"

For certain, a great city would invent and support events like Debra's Social $timulus and Cooks for a Cause. For sure, a great city would cherish Debra Hensley, Ouita Michel, Beth Hanna, Bob Perry, Cooper Vaughn, Sav Savané, Jill Bakehorn, Jerry Nichols, Megan Dobner, Marian Guinn, Dan Adams, the Lexington School students, the cooks, and the dozens of others who worked beyond all limits to bring Cooks for a Cause to a full, rolling boil.

From all I have heard since Friday night, we do. We cherish these precious people, and thank them for strengthening our fortunate, blessed place.

Photo Credit: Steve Kay—Thank you!