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Posts Tagged ‘lasagna’

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Photo: via Good Morning America
Michelle Brenner, pictured here in an undated handout photo, has been dubbed the “Lasagna Lady” in Gig Harbor, Wash., for making her grandmother’s lasagna and donating it to first responders, laid-off neighbors, and others.

Isn’t lasagna one of the all-time most American comfort foods? It’s the kind of thing you deliver to someone who has just had a death in the family. It has pretty much all the food groups, too.

This is a story about a woman who really loves baking lasagna and decided to use her stimulus check to feed people after she was laid off.

As Cathy Free reported at the Washington Post in June, “After Michelle Brenner was furloughed from her job at a menswear store in Gig Harbor, Wash., because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, she turned to comfort-food therapy.

“Brenner, 45, made herself a huge pan of lasagna using her grandmother’s recipe. Then, in a moment of pride after shopping for groceries (including frozen lasagna) for some of her neighbors, she got on her community Facebook page and wrote that frozen, store-bought lasagna could not compare to the real Italian homemade deal. …

“ ‘If any of you want some fresh homemade, no calorie counting lasagna, please let me know and I will gladly prepare it,’ she wrote. Brenner set aside her $1,200 stimulus check to buy ingredients, and the requests soon began to trickle in. [Soon] so many people started showing up, including strangers, that Brenner lost track. …

“Nearly three months and 1,200 pans later … about eight hours a day, seven days a week, she helps feed people in her community — from hospital workers and first responders to single parents struggling without paychecks. …

“Initially, Brenner set up a pantry in her front yard where people could pick up an assembled lasagna and bake it at home.

“But when the requests began multiplying faster than she could restock her refrigerator with ground beef and cheese, the president of the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club offered the clubhouse kitchen for her project.

“ ‘We saw what a great thing she was doing, and we have this nice commercial kitchen that wasn’t being used because of Covid,’ said [the] club’s president. …

“After Brenner used her stimulus check to buy lasagna ingredients for her first 60 giveaways, she decided to start a Facebook fundraiser that quickly netted more than $10,000 — enough for more than 500 pans. Then people began donating what they could — from $1 to $100 — when they picked up their orders.

“ ‘When word got out on social media, people from all over the world started donating to my cause,’ said Brenner, who is single and moved to Gig Harbor from Port Orchard, Wash., six years ago.

“People have contributed more than $22,000 so far, and she said she hopes ‘to be making lasagna for many months to come. … It’s a pan of love,’ said Brenner, who has been living on unemployment assistance since she was furloughed. ‘A lot of the people I make lasagna for have lost their jobs,.’ …

“When she initially started filling her grocery cart with lasagna ingredients, other shoppers sometimes raised their eyebrows as she was clearing store shelves of lasagna noodles and canned tomatoes, she said.

“Then a neighbor dropped off a specially designed T-shirt at her house one day that read, ‘Lasagna Lady.’ The name stuck like wet noodles flung on a wall.

“ ‘Now when people see me loading up, they know that I’m not hoarding,’ she said. ‘And when there’s a shortage of something, like ground beef or pasta, all I have to do is put the word out and somebody will find it for me in another county.’

“She expects to return to work at some point this summer but said she’ll still make time for lasagna.”

More here.

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