Welcome to the #CCSKitchen: The making of a hashtag

Edit: November 16, 2023. In our offices, we spend a lot of time thinking about food, talking about food, sharing food. In 2020, all of that disappeared, along with any chance to gather with either colleagues or family.

Planning for the approaching holidays, we got to thinking back on our pandemic hashtag #CCSKitchen and the responsibly distanced community allowed us to share. Even three years later, there are some spectacular recipes here!

Check out some of the gems on X, #CCSKitchen and happy Thanksgiving!


How do you connect during a pandemic? 2020 signaled the end of the days – at least for now – of sitting on our Community Solutions office windowsill, watching the construction project across the street and collaborating.

The shift to fully remote working on March 13 was jarring…how would we stay connected?

Community Solutions is a small office – just more than a dozen people spread across two offices across the state – a small think tank where collaboration and communication have always been key.

So the shift to fully remote working on March 13, 2020 was jarring – for our office and thousands of others across the country who had to do the same thing.

It was in this atmosphere of uncertainty and trepidation that, with St. Patrick’s Day pictures of a Rueben and avocado toast, #CCSKitchen was born into the Twitterverse.

It’s that sense of community that’s led to nearly every staff member sharing their meals with our office and with the world.

The first documented use of the now famous (at least in the halls of Community Solutions) hashtag was on March 17, just four days after our office closed for what we thought would be maybe a month or two.

While we normally cook up great policy ideas when we’re together in the office, we haven’t been able casually drop by, say hello and talk like we used to. The #CCSKitchen allowed us to connect around a common experience, and show off our skills.

And that first Reuben post, coming from Public Policy and Advocacy Director Tara Britton, said that “joining in #CCSKitchen with my colleagues has been a great way to learn more about everyone, including their favorite foods. This is one of the ways we’ve continued to collaborate while being socially distanced from one another for going on nine months.”

And it’s that sense of community that’s led to nearly every staff member sharing their meals with our office and with the world.

Now, more than nine months later, rather than a fad the simple hashtag has become a way to connect with our Community Solutions family. A simple way to share not only our ideas but our families, friends and food.

“We tell stories with food, that is one of the cool things about working at Community Solutions. Usually, between our research and policy analysis, staff would congregate in the kitchen to discuss their latest food finds and favorite recipes. Missing this part of our culture, when the #CCSKitchen hashtag was created I happily joined in with a recipe that is one of my favs, Fried Corn and Tomatoes with Johnny Cakes (fried cornbread),” said Communications Coordinator Eboney Thornton who also kindly shared her recipe below.

Fried Corn and Tomatoes with Johnny Cakes (fried cornbread) Recipe

Ingredients:

Sweet corn (drain if frozen or canned)
Tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Vegetable oil or meat grease
Cornbread or Cornbread mix (Jiffy)
Eggs
Milk

Directions:

Corn and tomatoes:
  1. Dice your tomatoes and put them aside for later.
  2. In a frying pan, pour enough oil or grease to coat the bottom and heat it up until it shimmers across the surface. Once hot, add the corn and season with salt and pepper. Let t fry for a few minutes then stir.
  3. Then add your dices tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are sautéed or fired to your liking.

Fried Cornbread:

  1. Follow the instructions on your cornbread box.
  2. In another frying pan, add your oil or grease. Heat up.
  3. Once hot, pour a little batter until it makes a small pancake. When you see the little bubbles around the outer part of the pancake, flip to brown the other side.

Scroll through our #CCSKitchen photos which feature the culinary creations of many of our Community Solutions staff members, their families and friends of the organization. Want to join us? Just include #CCSKitchen on your social post!