Monday, February 21, 2011

Help Bay Bucks and I'll feed you

Pickled veggies

One of my long-time volunteer activities is serving on the board of our local currency initiative, Bay Bucks. I have no qualifications to be on this board other than an inability to say "no" when asked to help a good cause. I made a C in Economics in college and my understanding of this subject has not improved significantly in the intervening years. Even on a micro level, my relationship with money is not unlike my relationship with cars: modern culture forces me to use it, but I'd rather pretend it doesn't exist.

At some point, I will write a blog entry about the value of a local currency and why a tiny group of volunteers here in the Grand Traverse region are stubbornly plugging away to keep Bay Bucks circulating. This is not that post.

Carrot-raisin raita
Black-eyed peas & spinach

As I mentioned, I have limited skills to apply to the actual administration of a functional currency. My contributions are more of the "worker bee" variety. Today, for example, I hosted the board meeting and prepared lunch. Later, while washing dishes and contemplating my Bay Bucks "to do" list, an idea occurred to me. (Jump to the end for the pitch).

Except for dessert, every item on my lunch menu was a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail. Most were described as originating from the Punjabi region. Each dish was simple to make and all but two could be prepared in advance. The overall effect was delicious, with the mint-walnut chutney being a particular hit.

Mint-walnut chutney
Pumpkin cheesecake

I had made the pumpkin cheesecake for Christmas dinner and loved it so much I was eager for an excuse to do it again. The recipe is available online. It is particularly delicious with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Sadly, my photography skills are not on the same level as my cooking skills. You will have to take my word that lunch tasted much better than it looks here. Not pictured: jasmine rice infused with tomato paste and garlic and maté iced tea. Also, thanks to Stephanie for contributing a delicious herbed gouda, mixed olives and a zatar bread.

At today's meeting, I committed to helping raise much-needed funds for Bay Bucks. Ever since we launched the currency in 2005, our all-volunteer organization has operated with almost no income. We've reached a point where we need to hire some professional services -- particularly an update for our website -- to keep this project viable.

Asking people for money may rank even lower on my skills list than does economics or photography. Even when my kids had school fund-raising projects, I was so intimidated by accompanying them to sell candy or wrapping paper that I would just write a check to the PTO, or buy the quota of Girl Scout cookies myself.

Since I can't buy myself out of this fund-raising obligation, I have hit upon an idea to trade one of my only skills for help for Bay Bucks. So here it is:

For anyone who will donate $100 to Bay Bucks, I will be so grateful that I will prepare a fabulous dinner for you and a guest at my home. Foodstuffs will be organic and accompanied by excellent local wine. Conversation will be pleasant and interesting. I should note that the IRS does not share my gratitude for a Bay Bucks donation; it is a non-profit, but not a 501c3, which means donations, while highly appreciated, are not tax-exempt.

We will also gladly accept donations in excess of $100, even large foundation grants.

Dinner anyone?


  1. If I had money and lived in TC I would gladly donate to this most worthy cause, especially since I have not yet mastered Indian cuisine and a change might be nice. ;-)

  2. Thanks, Lisi! And Indian is not necessarily the menu. It would probably be more French-inspired.