How to Use These Recipes
Over the years, Food Not Bombs developed certain recipes which were specific to the food available and the large number of people who needed food but could not pay for it. Some groups may find these recipes useful; others may want to invent their own based on the food available and the need in their area. These recipes are a selection: some easy, others more challenging; some for events, others for street actions. All are inexpensive to make and feed large number of people and, if prepared with care, taste great.
The suggested number of servings for each recipe is based upon a somewhat small serving, approximately 6-7 oz. per serving. If you serve a larger portion, be sure to adjust the numbers accordingly.
The suggested utensils needed are only the largest ones. Every recipe will need a sharp vegetable knife, a cutting board, assorted mixing bowls and spoons, etc. If you do not have access to large cookware, the recipes can be cut in half or quarters and several crews can operate simultaneously and produce the same volume. It is possible to feed four thousand people with 4 two-burner propane stoves and a hose for running water.
The times for prep work and cooking are for experienced cooks. If it is your first time with a recipe, then you can expect to take twice the time suggested. The prep time is for one person; the prep time can usually be shortened with more people.
All quantities are to taste. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Spices are light; if you or your community like food spicy, increase the amounts. Keep the salt light but use a small amount because it changes the chemistry of the recipe and let people salt and pepper their own portion. Use more of the main ingredients if you have them or if you can afford them.
The following recipes are based on the kinds of food you are likely to receive from your free food collection. Our recipes are vegetarian, with no dairy, eggs or meat. Try to collect organic produce when possible. These recipes are easy to prepare for beginners.
Bread and Pastries
The easiest food item to prepare for serving is the bread and pastries. After collecting day-olds and seconds from local bakeries, place the cut loaves in a large clear plastic container with lid. Attach a set of tongs to the container with wire or string. (It is easy to lose utensils so tying them down is desirable.) The tongs are used so people do not handle the bread with their hands.
Usually, you will collect a large amount and wide variety of fresh, raw vegetables. Most of these raw vegetables can be served as they are after a simple rinse. Many soup kitchens do not offer fresh vegetables at their meals. They are greatly appreciated by people on the streets so be sure to have them available in abundance. You can also make many different kinds of raw vegetable salads depending upon what kind of vegetables you receive on any particular day. Wash any vegetables which can be eaten raw and cut them into bite size pieces. Mix together, especially with cabbage or lettuce and serve as a salad. Add dressing, if any, to salad just before serving. Do not dress the entire salad at once. A dressed salad will not stay fresh overnight; it becomes soggy and unappetizing. Vegetables which need to be cooked can be used for sandwiches and soups.
Many vegetables, especially dark green leafy and root vegetables, can be washed, steamed, and served as they are. Chop vegetable into bite-sized pieces and place in a metal colander. Place the colander inside a large pot which has a small amount (a inch or so) of water boiling in the bottom. Cook until soft. Serve immediately.
In a sauce pan, saute garlic and onions in a small amount of oil. Add spices like oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, etc. Add fresh, chopped tomatoes and other vegetables like carrots, beets, green peppers, broccoli, etc. Cook until all the vegetables are soft and the sauce becomes thick. Stir often. Serve over pasta, rice, or bread, or use as a base for chile or vegetable stew.
Rice and Beans
In a large pot, saute garlic and onion in oil until clear. Add water and beans. The proportions are one part beans to two parts rice to five parts water. Add one teaspoon of salt for each gallon of water. Let beans boil for 45 minutes, less time if you soaked them beforehand. Add rice, one half cup of coriander or cumin per gallon, some pepper, and any vegetables, if desired, such as onions, carrots, or dried tomatoes. Cover and return to a rapid boil. Stir the beans up from the bottom at this point. Lower the heat and continue to boil over low heat until all the water is absorbed, approximately 45 minutes. Do not stir more than once after the rice is in.
Wash and cut up fruit and mix together. It is better for digestion to serve melons separately, but not absolutely necessary. (See footnote about mold.) Add raisins, nuts, shredded coconut, and/or sunflower seeds. Lemon juice can be used to prevent fruit from turning brown and add flavor.