The Madeleine Brand Show for November 18, 2011

How does Occupy LA eat?

Serving Occupy LA food

Kevin Ferguson

A member of Occupy Los Angeles serves Jennie Cook's catered meal for fellow demonstrators.

Occupy LA Food

Kevin Ferguson

Macaroni and cheese, provided by Jennie Cook for Occupy Los Angeles

Jennie Cook

Kevin Ferguson

Jennie Cook, of Jennie Cook's catering


Over a month has passed since members of Occupy L.A. first set up tents in front of City Hall. But with the camp's future in question almost daily, essentials like food and water are often overlooked. One L.A. caterer has cooked up a creative solution.

Jennie Cook, chef and owner of Jennie Cooks Catering in Glasell Park, cooks and delivers food to the Occupy L.A. camp site.

"I think it's really important to create the conditions for change, which is what I think they're dong. Because I believe that right now the system is not working for us. And it's something that I can do," she says.

Residents of Occupy L.A. are not allowed to cook food at the camp site and few can afford to eat out three times a day. So they rely on donations: pizza, leftover bagels, trail mix, a box of raw zucchinis. The scarcity of food makes Cook's deliveries crucial to sustaining the movement.

Cook prepares gourmet dishes like arroz con pollo, vegan pot roast and macaroni and cheese. She loads her SUV with hot boxes and drives downtown where she takes a total of three minutes to unload the 125 pounds of food. Protesters flock to the food, eager for a hot meal.

Once the mission is complete, Cook returns to her kitchen to resume her usual work of catering birthdays, bar mitzvahs and weddings.

But she will be back on Thanksgiving day with turkey for the protesters.

"I'm not a wealthy woman, but I am always processing food for people to eat and fill their bellies and be happy," Cook says.


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