Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dirt Cookies Instead of Air Sandwiches

They're not supposed to taste good. After all, they're called dirt cookies. Bright Hope International, based outside Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Ill., is selling "dirt cookies" as a symbol of poverty around the world. The nonprofit offers a package of six cookies for a donation -- of any size -- but stresses that $50 can provide a Haitian family of six with food for a month and the ability to plant their own garden.

"Eat dirt so they don't have to," the Web site proclaims.

Food shortages and escalating prices have made the poor on Haiti so desperate they eat the dirt cookies, made of clay, to alleviate hunger pains. Bright Hope's dirt cookies are 100 percent edible but they're not sold for the taste as much as for raising money and spreading awareness. With ingredients like shortening, salt, coffee, buckwheat flour, teff (an Ethiopian grain), cocoa powder, corn starch and terramin clay, the cookies won't tempt your palate, but they will give you a good idea of what poor people in places like Haiti have resorted to eating.

- Mark Hrywna

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