Enid Borden’s “aha!” moment came 10 years ago on a 97-degree day in the Appalachian Mountains when she and a colleague from Meals on Wheels delivered food to an elderly man. His cramped house trailer offered no air conditioning or plumbing, and he was clearly ill.
“We walked away and turned back to look at that trailer, and on it was a sign that he had written, and it said, ‘God bless America.’ That’s when the job became the mission,” recalls Borden, who stepped down as president of Meals on Wheels in July to assume the helm of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.
“Once you’ve seen what hunger looks like up close and personal, you can’t help but say, ‘I’ve got to do something about this,’” she adds.
The oldest and largest nonprofit group of its kind, Meals on Wheels began in England during World War II, migrated to the United States in the 1950s and adopted its current name in 1976. Today, the Alexandria, Va.-based organization helps feed more than 1 million people daily through a nationwide network of 5,000 senior nutrition programs.
Three years ago, Borden and her staff were grappling with ways to raise money for Meals on Wheels when they conceived the idea of a celebrity cookbook. “Made With Love” features recipes and personal stories from more than 100 contributors, including poet Maya Angelou (Jollof Rice), chef Mario Batali (Spinach and Goat Cheese Gnocchi), former first lady Barbara Bush (Baked Peaches Flambé), and actress Fran Drescher (Fran’s House Chicken). Proceeds from each sale go to Meals on Wheels.
“Linda Gray, who was in “Dallas,” said to us, ‘Gee, I didn’t realize that there was so much hunger, and these are my people. These are seniors,’” says Borden, who edited the book. Gray contributed her recipe for Roast Chicken, which she makes in her grandmother’s cast-iron skillet.
Amy Reed, a sales representative who volunteers with Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County in Fort Worth, Texas, saw firsthand the importance of providing meals for older people when her grandfather fell ill and became a client. To her delight, her mother’s nostalgic Christmas Morning Cheese Stuff recipe was selected for the cookbook, where it is sandwiched between professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter’s Mess Hall Dip and singer Jack Jones’ Pancake Soufflé.
“This was always one of the special staples of Christmas morning,” Reed says. “It’s one of my favorite things that [my mom] makes.”
Despite the book’s star power, Borden hopes it helps readers remember “how lucky they are to not be hungry and what a blessing it is for them to enable somebody else not to be hungry.”
The following recipes from the book—from Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, actress Susan Anton and former Iowa first lady Chris Branstad—are perfect for holiday breakfasts or desserts. As Borden explains, “This book is a little reminder to all of us that food should be shared with new friends and old, should be savored with delight, should be shared with those who are hungry, and most important of all—should be ‘Made With Love.’”
To order copies of “Made with Love” call (800) 343-4499.