Why Food Security Needs to be Tasty

Written by
FH staff writer
Published on
February 1, 2023 at 3:07:00 PM PST February 1, 2023 at 3:07:00 PM PSTst, February 1, 2023 at 3:07:00 PM PST

Have you seen the United Nations' definition of food security? Parts of it might surprise you! 

"Food security means that all people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life." 

In other words, it's not enough to ensure that all of us have access to food, we need to have access to food we actually want to eat! After all, food isn't just about calories, it's about culture. We preserve our way of life through our food—cultivating, preparing, and sharing delicious food that tells the stories of who we are. Perogies for the Mennonites. Poutine for the Quebecois. Smoked salmon for the Haida. 

Food for the Hungry works with our partner communities to increase food security for all families, both for today and for generations to come. This means teaching new, sustainable ways to farm; introducing new, more nutritious vegetables; and—you guessed it!—creating and teaching new recipes that incorporate those veggies in flavours and textures that make sense to a community's unique palate. You can be sure a plate in Burundi doesn't look the same as one in Cambodia!

FH staff partner with local health nutritionists to host co-operative cooking demonstrations like this one from last year in Rwanda. 

Participants — both women and men — brought ingredients to contribute that are readily available to them on a regular basis (as in, they have "physical, social, and economic access" to those foods) while FH added more expensive and less available items like fish and oil. Together, they prepped, cooked, and taste-tested brand new recipes. And, let's be honest, the meal had to be kid-approved to pass! 

Moms and dads took the recipes home and began incorporating them into their families' regular meal cycle. The result? A major boost in nutrient-packed meals that are already reducing malnutrition in children. By incorporating vegetables from their new home gardens, these families are also producing food that is available all year round - even in the dry season. A major win for food security! 

So, that's why FH Canada cares about recipes. Getting recipes right can be the difference between chronic hunger with all it's destructive effects and flourishing homes where children are well-fed and healthy. We share recipes with you, our supporters, because we also believe we can learn so much from each other by sharing our food. What better way to connect with a culture than by tasting it for yourself? 

To that end, here's a nutrition-packed recipe from Burundi prepared by Home Cook Edith.


• 1.75kg French beans

• 3 kgs potatoes (peeled)

• 500g pumpkin leaves (“Umusomasoma”)

• 3 tomatoes

• 3 red onions

• 1 ladle palm oil

• 1 tbsp salt


1. Gather ingredients. Harvest beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and pumpkin leaves fresh from the garden.

2. Prepare the kitchen. While preparing ingredients, start the fire. A fire with deep, hot embers is preferred (not large flames). Clean the cooking pan.

3. Prepare the ingredients and gradually add. Pull the beans from their pods, wash, and add to the cooking pan. Cook alone for 30 mins. Then, peel the potatoes, wash, and add. Strip the pumpkin leaves from the stalk, chop coarsely, wash, and add. Cook for an hour over a low fire.

4. Finish the dish. Wash and slice tomatoes. Wash and dice red onions. Add tomatoes, onions, palm oil, and salt. Cover pan and cook for 25 mins. 

5. Remove from fire and let rest covered for another 15 mins before serving. Enjoy with a smile!

If you're looking for a recipe that might be a little more tuned to our Canadian palate, check out this delicious stir fry from Bangladesh:

Gajor Alu Vaji