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Food for good

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Thinking this past week about St. Joseph's Day (did you know he is the patron saint of pastry chefs? Neither did I), and it's charitable, as opposed to culinary, traditions, I was reminded that one aspect of the holiday traditionally has been that a feast is prepared in honor of St. Joseph, who answered the prayers of the people of Sicily in the Middle Ages, bringing them rain after a terrible drought. Part of this tradition is that food, or donations received from those partaking of the feast, are given to the needy.

What can we do, though, if not holding our own St. Joseph's Day feast? Currently, I know of two efforts to do good through dining out (and if anyone knows of other such efforts, please let me know).

One is via the Chicago Diner, the meatless Lake View eatery that often incorporates disaster relief efforts into their menu. Through April 1, $1 will be given to Japanese earthquake relief efforts from every Titanic BLT burger or Lucky Leprechaun Shake sold at the Chicago Diner. The proceeds will go to Direct Relief International and AmeriCares, each of which is working to provide disaster relief in Japan.

Another type of charitable effort has been taking place at Outback Steakhouses. So far, Outback has given more than $1 million to Operation Homefront, a national non-profit providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. The money is raised through the contribution customers, when they order items from Outback's Red, White and Bloomin' menu. You can still help add to that $1 million figure, as this menu will be available at Outback through April 5. If you can't make it to an Outback before then, you can also visit Operation Homefront's website if you want to learn more and help that organization out.

There is alot we can do to help each other out. These are two little ways we can contribute something, but it is something, and collectively, our efforts just may be significant somehow.

The news was announced via email this afternoon: After 40 years, Don Roth's Blackhawk in Wheeling, is closing.

The surf-and-turf restaurant of Spinning Salad Bowl fame will serve its last meal on New Year's Eve.

"With my 90th birthday on the horizon and none of my children in a position to assume responsibility for the family business, it will be better to close Don's last restaurant while it still is a going concern," said Ann Roth, Don Roth's widow, in a statement.

About the blog

Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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