Menu for Hope II—A Jar Full of Prayers

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It's easy to get caught up in daily life. Bloggers especially. We're passionate. We're obsessed. All on top of hectic and jam-packed lives. But from a quiet corner, a home office, or the general peace of a house full of activity, we share.

I can tell you from just my short existence as a food blogger, the network of extraordinary people I've encountered is staggering. And I'm very proud to say that as a new link to this network, we're mobilizing, shifting gears, to lend much needed support.

In a world where news is condensed to a convenient 15 minute interval, people in Northern India and Pakistan are still making their way out of the rubble. The news cameras were there to tell the world of the catastrophic events when an earthquake hit. And just as quickly, it fell off the newsroom radar. Unfortunately, things cannot be rebuilt in the span of Headline News.

Through Menu for Hope II we're doing what we can from wherever we are in the world. With a $5 donation, you can enter a raffle to win a prize donated by a food blogger.

These range from homemade goodies to one-of-a-kind treasures—all thoughtfully contributed by the food blogosphere. You can donate more than $5 and get more than one raffle ticket. None of the money passes through our hands. 100% goes to UNICEF and their relief efforts.

Check out the list and donate here.

Post a comment on the FirstGiving site (where you'll be donating) what you're bidding for.

My contribution is on the homemade end of the scale—a jar of homemade Buddha's hand marmalade. What the hell is a Buddha's hand? (You can see pics of the raw goods here.) Well, in one word, it's heavenly.

It's a bizarre looking fruit—a knubby base of pale yellow rind with many slender fingers radiating out. Pick one up and you can't help but to close your eyes. To smell and think—what is that scent? A distant cousin of citron, it smells, well, citrus-y. Orange, grapefruit, and lemon peel. But more even-keel, with a smoother fragrance rounded out with honeydew, vanilla, and a touch of jasmine. Visually, the fruit is a monster, but the olfactory senses detect a real beauty.

Like quince, it isn't something to be devoured in its fresh state. It shows off its edible beauty with some heat. Most recipes either candy it or make preserves out of it. But in its raw state, the fruit serves as an offering to many Buddhist altars and holy sites, hence it's name. The fruit's "fingers" look as if they're in prayer. A photo will be coming soon...

According to my fruit research, Buddha's hands actually originated in Northern India. So, in a way, the winner will not only get something unusual, exotic, and tasty. But also get a sense of a far off place—a mountainous paradise long revered for its lakes, peaks, flowers, and beauty. A flavor familiar to many others who now need our help.

So when you, lucky winner, open up the jar, inhale that wonderfully uncategorizeable scent. And with each spoonful, offer a prayer of goodwill and relief. A jar full of prayers.

UncategorizedVanessa Chang