The call is out to kitchen conjurers who can serve up a meal for a family of six for €5 to put their recipes to the test in a countrywide contest.
Entries must be nutritious, filling, tasty and within budget, and the five most tempting will be recreated during a cook-off between their creators in October after which they will be released for the rest of the public to try.
The challenge is the idea of World Missions Ireland, the Catholic Church’s missions branch which supports religious and lay people working in developing countries.
One of its campaigns is a drive to help its dedicated children’s charity, Missionary Children, provide one million dinners for children in developing countries, where missionaries have seen for themselves how families regularly perform modern day versions of the loaves and fishes miracle.
Jackie Pallas of Missionary Children said hunger remained the daily experience of millions around the world and the competition would serve as a reminder of the challenges they faced.
“While €5 may indeed be a very limited amount for people in this country, despite our own economic difficulties, it is a lot of money for impoverished families in so many parts of the world.
“During my mission trips to India, Uganda and South Africa for instance I have seen families prepare meals for just 20 cents. They stretched that money in the most incredible ways.”
Despite the serious message underlying the challenge, Jackie said fun would also be a key ingredient. “Cooking is the new passion in Ireland and very importantly it is one that families can do together.
“I know this challenge is no mean feat but there are so many ways in which food can be imaginative. We will allow for he fact that people will have lots of spices and other bits and pieces in their cupboards and they can use all these but we want people to go out and shop for their main ingredients with just €5.”
Well-known figures backing the cook-off include RTÉ rugby analyst Brent Pope, soprano Celine Byrne, Kildare GAA hero Dermot Earley and former Mammy of the Dáil, Mary O’Rourke.
As an army officer, Dermot Earley knows there’s truth in the saying an army marches on its stomach but he admits that up to now, troops wouldn’t get very far on his offerings.
“I wouldn’t be the best cook in the world myself but I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and experimenting.”
Recipes must be submitted by September 26 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to World Missions Ireland, 64 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6.