Recently I watched the new documentary, A Place at the Table Produced by the same studio that brought us Food Inc (which I’ve watched multiple times), this documentary follows three families struggling with food insecurity and hunger. In America. America. The wealthiest nation in the world.

Many of us associate hunger with images we’ve seen of famine victims in faraway places like Africa. We don’t think about it being right here in our own front yard, but it most definitely is. I knew before I even began watching that I’d likely shed a few tears. What I didn’t realize is just how angry I would be.

Normally I don’t get political here on the blog. But I’m frustrated. I’m horrified. I feel the need to do something. So here I am, asking you to join me in taking action. How can you help?

Super easy assignment: Watch the movie!


Trailer of A Place at the Table:


If you live here in Nashville, we’d love to have you join us for a special screening in a few weeks:

What: A Place At The Table Screening and Food Advocacy Fair

When: Monday, April 29, 6 p.m. (film will begin at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Downtown Presbyterian

154 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN, 37219

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and a small food advocacy fair in the church’s fellowship hall. There’s a good chance we’ll also have some local chefs involved to prepare inexpensive, healthy dishes. Details are still being worked out, and I will definitely provide them to you as I know more.

~UPDATE~ visit the Eventbrite page to get all of the details of the event and purchase tickets!

For those of you that don’t live in Nashville and want to see this thought-provoking (and hopefully action inducing) documentary, here are a few ways you can do so:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/ZVvEPk
OnDemand: http://on.fb.me/XbxtaC
Google Play: http://bit.ly/10XSwAG
iTunes: http://bit.ly/APATTiTunes

Click here for a list of screening cities.


Another super easy assignment:

Take a few seconds to fill out this form and send it to Congress, telling them to protect the federal nutrition programs that feed our nation’s children.

When you watch the movie, you’ll understand that much of the problem is that our government is and has been subsidizing the wrong products. Chips, sodas and processed foods are cheaper than fruits and vegetables. It’s insane! Something has to be done.



Turkey Sausage and Spinach Ragù on Parmesan Polenta

When I went on my usual trip to the grocery store this weekend, this movie was certainly on my mind. One fact that kept running through my mind as I navigated the aisles: Food stamp participants are only allocated $4 a day to survive. I wanted to create a recipe that would work on a budget, yet still be healthy. The cold hard truth: this was hard. Extremely hard.

While I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from, I’ve always been mindful of how much I spend on food, often creating menus for the week based on what’s on sale at the time. I do my best to not let anything go to waste.

Most of the items I purchased for this particular recipe will stretch over multiple meals. Only part of a bag of spinach was used. A fraction of a bag of polenta. Half a jar of marinara. There is still leftover onion, sausage, and garlic. Tomorrow I’ll probably throw together an egg casserole with a few of those more perishable items.

As I do so, I’ll once again be thanking my lucky stars that I don’t have to worry about my child going hungry. And I’ll be hoping and praying that my voice and my actions will help get food into other children’s mouths so they can grow, flourish, and lead happy, healthy, productive lives. Because everyone – no matter what circumstances they’re born into – deserves that opportunity.


Turkey Sausage and Spinach Ragù on Parmesan Polenta

Serves 4. Adapted from Cooking Light


3 (4-ounce) links sweet turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 1/3 cups water, divided
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup instant polenta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté for 8-10 minutes, until no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan; drain all but about 1 tablespoon of liquid. Return to medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in sausage, marinara, and 1/3 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. With about 3 minutes remaining, add chopped spinach to the ragu. Stir to combine.

Bring remaining 2 cups water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low. Gradually add polenta, and cook for 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Serve with sausage mixture.

Some other recipes that are healthy and budget friendly:

Tomato Cucumber Farro Salad

Feta, Spinach and Mushroom Penne

Curried Lentil Soup

Parmesan Kale Salad

One Skillet White Bean and Sausage Stew

Chickpea, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Sage Roasted Pork Tenderloin* with Beans & Artichokes

(*tip: buy pork tenderloin when it’s on sale for deep discount and freeze. I often get them when they’re buy 1 get 1 free)


13 Responses to “A Place at the Table: A Call to Action”

  1. 1

    alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] — April 8, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

    Love your honesty and approach in this post. The recipe looks delicious, too!

  2. 2

    Food Bloggers Against Hunger | sweet betweens [blog] — April 8, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    […] – Eat . Drink . Smile : Turkey Sausage and Spinach Ragù on Parmesan Polenta […]

  3. 3

    Carra Jacox — April 8, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

    I’m going to make your ragù tonight! Thanks! Thanks also for the great film recommendation!

  4. 4

    Blair @ wild-and-precious.com — April 8, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    yay!! i’m in Nashville!! will you keep us posted/reminder via twitter about the date. would love to try to make it over there!

    p.s. heck yes i want to go to iron fork!! ;)

  5. 5

    Rhonda Hendricks — April 8, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    I loved food Inc. and would really look forward to watching. Thanks for sharing the recipes!

  6. 6

    Janice — April 8, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    This looks great…can’t wait to try. i would also love to go to iron fork!!

  7. 7

    Beth — April 8, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    turkey sausage and spinach ragù on parmesan polenta looks incredible… I love a good healthy recipe & love a good, healthy and cheap recipe even more. I think I’m going to try this very soon. Yum!

  8. 8

    Jack Stalker — April 8, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

    Got it now, Beth! Thanks! And this recipe looks delicious too.


  9. 9

    Allison — April 8, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

    This looks divine!! And also, would love those iron fork tickets!

  10. 10

    Zadie — April 8, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    If you feel strongly about food security issues, you might consider signing this petition to the Tennessee General Assembly opposing the proposed “Starve the Children” legislation. This bill would reduce parents’ TANF benefits if their children do not perform well academically in school. Of course, this ignores the fact that it’s awfully hard to do well on a test when your stomach won’t stop growling.

    More information and a petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/gov-haslam-lt-gov-ramsey-spk-harwell-and-the-tn-general-assembly-vote-no-on-hb-0261-sb-0132-reduction-of-tanf-to-families.

  11. 11

    Nashville Food Bloggers Against Hunger | Healthy Food Guides — April 9, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    […] Eat. Drink. Smile.: Beth posted a budget-friendly recipe for Turkey Sausage and Spinach Ragù on Parmesan Polenta, noting that leftover ingredients can be used in many other dishes to make the dollars for this one go pretty far. […]

  12. 12

    Evi — April 16, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    Great post about this! Just like you, I got really frustrated and angry after watching the movie- that no one is doing anything! Probably the biggest problem I have is that children may not know when their next meal might be- I cannot even imagine. Great recipe post, and links to others! Glad that I could participate in this with other awesome bloggers!

  13. 13

    sweet betweens » Food Bloggers Against Hunger — June 8, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

    […] – Eat . Drink . Smile : Turkey Sausage and Spinach Ragù on Parmesan Polenta […]

Leave a Comment