Menu for Hope V: December 15 - 24

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Menu For Hope 2008I'm going to try not to sound like a grandma-in-a-rocking-chair here, but indulge me for a moment: I joined the food blog community in its infancy. When I started my blog over five years ago, there were just a handful of us around. I don't think that any of us imagined what this blog community was going to become, or predicted the explosion of food bloggers worldwide.

So, what's bringing on all this nostalgia? It's the announcement of the 5th Annual Menu for Hope -- a worldwide fundraising effort by food bloggers for a designated charity. This is an event that really highlights the magnitude of the food blogger community and its impact around the world.

This year the charity of choice is the United Nations World Food Programme, with the funds specifically going to an important school lunch program in Lesotho.

Menu for Hope is hosted by Pim of Chez Pim, and is the annual major fundraising event for food bloggers. Last year, the event raised over $90,000 for the Lesotho program.

The event is a raffle, with each ticket costing $10. Everyone can participate. There are dozens of prizes this year, broken into areas of the world:

West Coast
East Coast


Each year, the prizes get more exciting and more innovative. There are many ways to strategize your prize choices -- some choose to find the prizes with a low number of bids to increase their chances of winning. At first glance, here is my wish list for prizes I'd love to win:

Dinner for 6 at Contigo, with sommelier service by Alder of Vinography. (In Praise of Sardines, prize code UW14). Brett Emerson of In Praise of Sardines is opening his restaurant in Noe Valley within weeks. This prize will allow you and five friends to have dinner at this Catalan-inspired restaurant.

Knife of your Choice (Steamy Kitchen, prize code UE01). Win a chef's knif of your choice from New West Knifeworks.

Two boxes of Macarons from Petites Bouchees (Veronica's Test Kitchen, prize code UE04). I am a sucker for well-made macarons, and the prize of 48 macarons is too tempting to pass up.

Bo Ssam dinner for 8 at Ssam Bar (Momofuku - UE15). There are a couple of prizes that I would be willing to travel for, and if I won this dinner from Momofuku, I would be on a plane to New York City in a split second.

Lowel Ego Two Light Set (Kalyn's Kitchen - UW10). This is a great prize for all the food photographers out there. I'd love to have this prize for my indoor food photography.

Dinner with Eric Asimov (The Pour / NY Times - WB02). I get sweaty palms even imagining having dinner with Eric Asimov, but what a fun dinner it would be!

A case of small production wines from Raymond. (Raymond Vineyards - WB22). This is a carefully selected case of wine from Raymond Vineyards.

There are dozens more prizes to choose from, so please take a look for yourself and decide what to bid on! You can find out more details about Menu for Hope on Pim's site.

To donate to Menu for Hope:
1) Choose your prizes and note the prize codes.
2) Go the the First Giving site for Menu for Hope
3) Specify which prize you'd like in the "Personal Message" section according to the rules on the First Giving site.
4) If your company matches charity donations, check the appropriate box.
5) Check the box allowing the page owner to see your email address for the purposes of contacting the winners.
6) Check back on Chez Pim on January 12 to see who won!