A taste of the Tasting Cafe

Marty Meitus's longtime job as food editor disappeared with the Rocky Mountain News last February. But she's been putting her down-time to very good use: She created a pilot program for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC), which offers nutrition education and counseling for low-income parents and caregivers of young children, and issues vouchers for very specific nutritious foods.

Meitus's idea was to create a place where WIC clients could sample foods, almost as if they were at a Costco or a Sam's Club, while visiting one of the Tri-County Health Department facilities in Aurora. And with the help of a grant, last fall she created the Tasting Cafe.

We would make over the conference room with cute signs about food and display bushels of produce to make the Cafe seem inviting, Meitus writes. You know that home-selling trick in which you bake cookies to create an enticing smell? That seemed like a good place to start -- only we'd offer whole-wheat blueberry muffins instead of cookies.

And what muffins: Meitus called on Michael Bortz, who runs City Bakery, to help out. But Meitus also came up with crowd-pleasing recipes of her own, including Chicken McMarty.

You'll find the recipe, as well as Meitus's inspirational account of her venture, in this week's Cafe section of Westword, where we've been publishing an assortment of features on the local food scene while we continue the hunt for Jason Sheehan's replacement.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

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