Local vegan radio show Animal Voices invited me to speak about grocery shopping and pantry cooking during the weird and uncertain times of this coronavirus pandemic. What plant-based ingredients should we always have on hand in the pantry? How do we use what we have to compose pantry meals that are not just nutritious but also flavorful? How can vegan cooking bring comfort in these challenging times? She wanted to know it all, and although I don’t have all the answers I think it made for a lovely conversation.

You can listen to the interview starting at the 25th minute of the show, although I also recommend catching the first interview with Grace Wampold about growing your own food. Listen below or get it on iTunes.

You can also listen directly from their web site here: Animal Voices’s “Being Food Resourceful During Pandemic Times: Growing Your Own Produce, and Vegan Pantry Cooking with Brigitte Gemme.”

If you prefer reading to listening, I transcribed the interview for you. Here it goes!

Animal Voices host Alison Cole: For our feature interview today we are excited to welcome back local vegan activist and food consultant Brigitte Gemme on the show. Brigitte’s mission is to support people who want to feed themselves and their families home-made plant-based meals, cooked mostly from scratch. She feels that it’s the right thing to do for health, for the planet, and for the animals, and she is passionate about spreading the food love via her food consultation service called Vegan Family Kitchen. Brigitte is here today to give us her best tips on how to dive into vegan pantry cooking in these uncertain times of self-isolation and social distancing.

Hello Brigitte and welcome back to the Animal Voices show!

Brigitte Gemme: I’m so glad to be here, it’s good to talk with another human being, especially an adult at this time. So thanks for having me on the show!

AV: Thank you so much for coming back on the show today Brigitte to speak to us about how to cook from your pantry in this time of covid-19 where we are limited in getting food these days. First of all, how are you and your family doing at this time. I know you have two young children, Spring Break has just ended, how has that been for you?

BG: I’m not saying it has not been challenging, but really I am counting my blessings. We are going to lose some income but we’ll be fine, our home is big enough for the kids to run around and… fight. So I really appreciate our luck right now. The tricky thing for us is that just before Spring Break actually we were on a trip to Vietnam, and so when we came back, at the beginning of Spring Break, we were for two weeks not able to go out and get our own groceries. I’m kind of picky when it comes to shopping and also I have to test recipes that I give to my clients, because I have a meal planning service, and so I was relying on the kindness of my friends and neighbors to keep us stocked and it made me a little bit nervous. It was especially scary when I got a text message from my friend, who was at the grocery store, saying that there was only silken tofu left on the shelves. And that was a disaster because I really was looking forward to cooking a lot of tofu that week. But you know, we are making-do and surviving.

Top 10 plant-based pantry ingredients… and then some.

AV: People have been buying out the supermarket shelves, they have been literally bare of many items as you pointed out. And restaurants have been mandated to shut down other than offering take-out or delivery services. I know that I am not even interested in going out these days to have a stressful experience of going to the grocery store, and I don’t trust restaurant food to be sanitary enough. So I have regulated myself to embracing my fully-stocked pantry and diving into the cans of non-perishable goods and into the depths of my freezer to see what is there and what I can put together. And because I know that you’re the expert in this area, Brigitte, I have been thinking about you. I wanted to have you on the show to give us some tips on how to successfully and easily cook from scratch with our pantry items. Can you start by telling us what are your top pantry items to have and why we should have these food items, staples in our kitchen, especially in times when we need to make a little food go a long way.

BG: There is really, for me, a list, and everybody’s list will be different. But for us we have a list of about 10 pantry items that I really feel the need to keep stocked at full-jar level at all time. For us, those are: chickpeas, black beans, red lentils (that really can go into anything and disappear, but still provide extra nutrition), and usually I like to have a fourth legume that is stocked, whether it is French green lentils or black chickpeas or pinto beans. Some other legume. So I try to always have four. And then I need, well, we love our carbs, we don’t have a problem with that, but we try to keep them very nutritious and a bit complex, so brown or red rice are our top one. I like red rice because it cooks a little faster but it is also whole. We love to have quinoa. We love to have pasta and I have to admit, not whole wheat, that’s the one thing that I am not giving up. Note that spaghetti takes a lot less space for weight than, let’s say, rigatoni, so we like to have a lot of spaghetti. Asian noodles, something like a soba noodle, that is dry, that we keep at hand. And then a few other things that will round-up a meal: canned tomatoes (they can be made into anything), the really big 28-oz cans. Some nuts, perhaps preferably walnuts or almonds, that we can use in many different ways, and that was ten. I have a bonus item, which is raw cashews. In a jiffy it will make an amazing sauce, especially if you have a Vitamix blender, a high-power blender, or Blendtec. Sunflower seeds or some other seeds like hemp or pumpkin seeds can also stand-in for cashews, but… to a point. And those will cover pretty much all lunches and dinner. And for breakfast I also have to add rolled oats, we go through a lot of those. I also use them to make pancakes and other things. When I have all of these, those 10 + 1 ingredients, and it’s important of course, some fresh produce… Frozen can stand in, but fresh produce at the moment is still not a problem so I hang-on to that, it’s possible to improvise practically endless pantry-based meals. Of course, I love to have tofu, that’s really important for us.

How to cook a vegan meal using pantry ingredients

AV: What tips do you have for being creative in the kitchen with these types of pantry staples, which I’ve written all down by the way! Good resource there. You’ve got the pasta, the beans, maybe some sauces, canned tomatoes… This brings me to thinking about your Vegan Pantry Challenge, which you might like to talk about, or basically just talk about the fun of being able to dive into your pantry to figure out what you’ve got there and what you can use, what can I make.

BG: Yes, I love the pantry challenge! I run it twice a year as a more organized thing, but your listeners are welcome to join anytime by going to veganfamilykitchen.com/pantry. Since most people are stuck at home right now anyway, and have some extra time on their hands, of course they could spend more time watching great documentaries on Netflix, but doing a kitchen inventory, which is the number one step of the pantry challenge, is something I really warmly recommend. The goal of the pantry challenge is to commit to cooking from what we have in the fridge, freezer and pantry, so basically the situation we are in right now. But what is really the core of the challenge is the inventory. There is a step-by-step method available for download on the web site, but basically what it means is taking a couple of hours, for someone people it will be less, for others it will be a lot more, but to take absolutely everything out of the fridge, of the freezer, or the pantry. Toss things that are no longer edible, and I am afraid there will be some of that. Cleaning the shelves and the bottom of the jars that are left. And carefully putting everything back in while taking notice of what is in there. That’s a really good time to realize that we have a bunch of ingredients that are maybe less common but that are absolutely delicious flavor-bombs. And I know a lot of people who stock, for example, seaweeds of various kinds, or maybe some fancy spice mixes, like garam masala, or really nice fruity or aged vinegars, and so let’s take them away from the back of the shelves and bring them to the forefront to make sure to actually use them.

The method I suggest for making dinner in the pantry challenge, but it’s good at anytime, pandemic or not, the deciding factor when starting a meal should always be the same: what is in the produce drawer. What needs to be eaten right now? What is at its peak or a little bit past the peak so it’s important to use it while it’s still time. Is it a crunch veggie that I should stir-fry with a lot of high heat, or is it a root vegetable that will need a long simmering or long roasting to free its sweetness. And then once you have picked your produce you can combine that vegetable with a master seasoning, one of those that you found during that inventory process.

One example, let’s say, tamarind paste. I often find tamarind paste at the back. I love it! It has a great sweet and sour punch to it, but I really don’t use it half as often as I should. So let’s say I found bok choy in the produce drawer, and I have the tamarind paste, that will be my highlight ingredient. The rest will be supporting actors, really. These other actors should be chosen because they contrast in texture and in color, so it makes an appealing meal that’s well-rounded from a nutritional perspective. I mean, do your best, right, but… Ideally we like meals to include a complex carb, some bright vegetables, protein-dense foods, and a little bit of naturally occurring fat, whether it’s even just a sprinkle of nuts or even sesame seeds on top for example. Every meal also as much as possible should have a green it in, it’s Spring so it should not be a problem at the moment to stock that.

How to make a really good pasta dish from pantry ingredients

AV: I understand that the stores are getting low or empty on pasta sauce. Assuming you don’t have any jars of tomato pasta sauce in your pantry, but you have a lot of pasta, what would you do as an alternative to make a sauce for that pasta.

BG: I find that really funny because I don’t remember buying pasta sauce probably in the last 10 years! I understand that onions have also been running low, however my store had plenty of red onions, so I always make sure to always have onions, garlic, and ginger at hand. Ginger not so much in an Italian-style dish, obviously, but with onion and garlic you can start any recipe. Carrots and celery are good for starting a pasta sauce that will really take it out of this world and make it really delicious. As I said, canned tomatoes are great to have but really they are not absolutely necessary. It was my husband’s birthday last week and I made what was possibly his favorite dinner which is pasta with roasted vegetables and there were lots of roasted vegetables, I was lucky to get a lot from a friend who went shopping for us, and I also had a little bit of olive oil and I roasted some chickpeas to go with it. It made a perfect meal. I would not have wanted to have tomatoes in there. I think it would have distracted from the flavors of the vegetables. It’s not necessary. We always think of pasta as kind of an Italian dish but in a pinch it makes a great noodle to go with an Asian-style stir-fry, especially if they are whole-wheat noodles. Whole-wheat spaghetti makes a really good stand-in for noodles. Don’t try to pass that to your Korean mother-in-law, if you have one! But in a pinch it makes a great meal as well. We don’t have to stay inside the boxes of traditional ingredient combinations.

This is also a time when we can think of cooking as an experiment. And I find that especially useful with picky eaters. My kids are 4 and 8. They are starting to be a little bit more open-minded but we still treat eating as an experiment. Let’s “try this and rate it,” take a bite and compare it to other ingredients you’ve eaten and things like that. I think a lot of adults are also a little bit picky even if we don’t think of ourselves that way. But if we think of the meal as an experiment, we observe the process, we take notice of what goes in the meal, and we observe the results, and we just finish our plate!

Amazing vegan creamy sauces using pantry staples

AV: I usually just eat it and think: “that was really good!” and onto the next thing. That’s because there is just so much amazing plant-based food that you can make. If you have a good amount of ingredients, which I do right now, but I also have a heck of a lot of pasta and I’m pretty sure it’s going to come down to “what can I do with this pasta now?” I’m wondering if you can share with our listeners about uses for cashews because, being in the vegan cooking world, we know what to do with our cashews, maybe other people don’t… Tell us about the magic of cashews and their versatility.

BG: I want to acknowledge first that cashews are a little bit of a tricky thing. Unfortunately, harvesting cashews and especially processing them, they need to have their shells removed, and it’s a very toxic process. It’s really tricky. So I have personally tried to reduce them and buy the most ethically-correct cashews I can find, and they are quite expensive, so I combine them usually with other seeds. We have neglected the power of especially pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds. They also make great additions, again especially if using a high-power blender or at least soaking them in advance. They do have a little bit of a green tinge to them compared to the cashews that are a perfect creamy white. So basically any nut can be used like this, even pistachios. So when I am looking for comfort food, especially on a Friday night, what I’ll do is noodles, and I will stir-fry some veggies, and then I will put in the blender a handful of nuts, it doesn’t take very much, and maybe, if I’m doing something Asian, soy sauce, a little bit of rice vinegar, a little bit of sweetener like maple syrup or maybe half a pitted date… Then a pinch of salt, little ginger, little garlic, and add some water and blend that for a minute. It makes an amazing nutty sauce. It’s also good with peanuts. If you don’t have a high-power blender, you can even use either almond butter or peanut butter to start a really amazing sauce. And the same thing can be done for an Alfredo sauce. Alfredo used to be my favorite pasta sauce.

AV: Me too!

BG: …before I went vegan, and then it was a couple of years before I realized I could make it even better. What I do is… I use a little bit… First, I put the ingredients in the blender. Again, a handful of cashews or also almonds work really well there, or a combination of nuts and seeds. A little bit of nutritional yeast, which a lot of us will have in the pantry in plentiful quantities. A little bit of garlic and onion powders, if I have them, a little bit of miso paste if it’s been found in the inventory, or a pinch of salt, pepper, maybe paprika, and then I add some of the cooking water from the pasta. It’s super hot, so I don’t need to heat up the sauce after blending. I just blend it all together. You have to be careful blending the boiling water with the nuts, but it doesn’t take that much so it won’t overflow the blender. And it makes such a crazy good sauce! I just drain the pasta, saving some of the cooking water, and then I put the pasta back in the pot with the creamy sauce that I made in the blender, and I add if I can a couple of cups of arugula, or whatever greens I have at hand that will basically melt, wilt into the pasta with the sauce. I stir that. It’s SO good!!

AV: Sounds good! Do you have a recipe available for this Brigitte?

BG: I actually have not posted that ever because there is… it’s the kind of thing that changes every time, I just open the pantry and take a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But I should definitely post a template for making that recipe. And the great conclusion to that dish is to add, on the finished plate, a sprinkle of a mix of nutritional yeast and walnuts. I call it “Vegan Parm Nuts,” that is on my blog. It’s just a cup of nuts with a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a little bit of garlic powder. Fresh garlic can be used too, but it becomes quite pungent after even just a day in the fridge, so that’s why I like to use garlic powder. With a little salt, it makes an amazing topping, and also boosts the nutrition of the dish. It’s really quite yummy!

How to add flavor to vegan pantry meals

AV: What are some other key condiments to have on hand for spectacular flavor?

BG: What I really like personally – I am prone to have a preference for a cumin flavor profile that can either go the Indian way by adding ginger, garlic (it should be everywhere! Garlic, garlic, garlic!), adding cumin, ginger, turmeric, maybe ground coriander, and that makes more of an Indian kind of dish. But then with the cumin you can also have oregano and a little bit of chili pepper powder and that gives you more of a Mexican mix. And I think a lot of a people are a little bit shy with spices. I don’t know if it comes from a background as – many of us were omnivores previously, and meat and dairy products and eggs have a lot of fat in them, and the fat acts as a flavor multiplier. So you don’t need to put a whole lot of spice for example to really get a bigger punch. Whereas many vegan dishes are naturally much lower in fat, there is no fat infused in tofu in any way comparable to meat, for example, so we should not be shy about adding extra spice. I mean, go progressively! Maybe taste that chili powder ahead of time before you put a whole tablespoon in your dish. I think we need to not be too shy with those spices. Many of them are not expensive at all, so we need to use them. And also they don’t go bad-bad, but they do lose their edge over time, so we should run through them and not just wait for special occasions to use those spices.

Another ready-made condiment that I really like to have at the back of the fridge is a big jar of kimchi. Traditionally, kimchi which is basically Korean sauerkraut, it’s a little bit spicy and crunchy, but often unfortunately it is made with either anchovies or shrimp paste. But if you live in Canada, anywhere pretty much, there is the Rooster brand which is I think the Loblaws store brand, and to my non-Korean palate it is very delicious and it happens to be vegan. I really quite like it. It’s important not to overdo it, it’s quite salty, but it will enhance any Asian kind of dish with a little bit of complement of texture and the spice punch.

Comfort food cooked from the pantry

AV:  I am wondering about comfort food, you have already spoken about some. Comfort food for me speaks of… two weeks ago, I had a pancake night. It was late at night and my friend was with me and I wanted pancakes. That’s what we had! To me that is a comfort food. We had that with tea. Last week I had to dig into my pantry, I was craving chili. I am one of those people that will go to the store to buy a can of chili because I am super busy, but I couldn’t find any! I thought, hey! I have all these cans of assorted beans in my pantry, Alison, it’s time to make some chili. That’s what I made. And I am wondering what are your comfort foods in your family, perhaps you could give a couple of ideas of easy comfort food that our listeners might enjoy, especially if you have kids, because kids like comfort food all the time, but we especially need it in stressful times.

BG: Food is always comfort, to a point. I have heard people say “Food is not love.” But, no! Food is love. It is love! You should not have too much of it, but it’s still a loving gesture. That peanut or nutty sauce I describe is definitely a go-to for us, especially if time is short, because you just can throw it in the blender, you don’t need to think about it too much. Sometimes, I am thinking that I’d like to order noodles, but then I realize it will be faster and better if I make that peanut sauce myself. The one thing I do if I have more time, and it’s definitely popular with the kids, it’s popular with omnivores, it is my vegan version of my mom’s Bolognese sauce, on spaghetti. It’s also good also to serve on Portobello mushrooms that are roasted, or it’s good on polenta, if you happen to have cornmeal in the pantry that’s a good way to use it. I always start a big pot with a really big onion, no onion is too big for me. Some celery, some carrots, and lots of garlic. And then I add whatever Italian-looking vegetable that I have, especially mushrooms if I can find them. And then a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, the big cans. If I feel like something a little meaty needs to be added, I might roast a block of firm tofu. I crumble it with my hands, mix it with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, a little bit of maple syrup for sweetness. Then I roast that up for about half an hour. It adds a really nice extra chewiness to the sauce. After simmering all together for half an hour, it makes the house smell amazing and it creates a really nourishing dish. My kids like to have the sauce on the side, they eat it like a stew, they like it to be blended all together so they don’t see the pieces of vegetables, but they still love it. It’s really popular with omnivores too. I think it has a flavor that’s quite universal. There is a recipe template on my blog. It doesn’t tell you exactly what ingredients to use, but it tell you how to make it.

How to boost the nutrition of our plant-based pantry meals

AV: These days I feel that we really need to think about boosting our immune system. We want to have a strong body that can fight viruses. I have been reading a lot about vitamin C lately and I have been upping my vitamin C. Of course, that can be found in food because our best immune fighters can be found in food. What are some tips that you suggest for getting immune-boosting nutrition these days?

BG: Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but obviously mom’s right: eating a lot of vegetables of various kinds is really the best thing we can do right now. When in doubt, go for some cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens… there’s going to be a lot of interesting green vegetables coming out now that Spring is coming. Many people don’t know that, but dark green vegetables are actually vitamin C powerhouses. The orange color is hidden under the green, because the green is so powerful, but all those amazing phytonutrients are in the greens. If you combine them with a citrus, even a little orange diced on top of your bowl or dish, it also boosts the iron absorption. It’s a good idea to combine the greens with something orange or red that will bring more vitamin B, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of vitamin B in the greens. Spices, again, go for it! Don’t be shy. They contain a lot of phytonutrients with health-promoting qualities. In many cases, we don’t even quite understand it, but they are definitely good for us! Garlic, ginger, and onions also boost our immune system. Just go for it, use them, don’t be shy to make your meal an experiment but also a delight.

AV: Right! And I heard lately that it’s hard to find supplements and vitamins on the store shelves these days, but that made me think that all this stuff is in food, and there is still produce in the stores, so just start eating your fruits and veggies! That’s the best way to absorb your nutrition, instead of using pills.

BG: And in many cases the supplements, they are very concentrated in one tiny little thing, but that element might be absorbed better when it comes in the package that it was naturally came with. Having the whole vegetable is really the way to do it. Of course, fruit is great too! But definitely upping the veggies at this time is a great idea.

How to start cooking a meal when you don’t know what to make

AV: I read a speculation that one reason why people have been buying out the supermarkets is because aren’t used to cooking at home and now that they are being faced with having to they don’t necessarily know what to have on hand and what to buy. They are overbuying. That is why we are doing this podcast and this interview. Would you just like to address people’s anxieties and mental obstacles when it comes to cooking from scratch?

BG: It’s always true, pandemic or not, that before we go shopping, we should take stock of what we have at home. I think even people who don’t cook probably have more than they think on the shelves of their pantries. Yes, there are people there with empty pantries and my heart is with them. Unfortunately, we also live in an era where we waste a lot and we forget about all the blessings that we purchased at a previous time. And when we first start with an inventory, we realize that, yes, we have been eating the same 3-4 things all the time, but we have bought all of these other so-called “weird ingredients” to us, and now is a good time to use them. Acknowledging our riches and our wealth is the first step that cuts back on that anxiety a little bit, realizing that there are good ways to use those things. Chances are, those foods are still very good to eat. So shopping in our own pantry, first, and acknowledging what we have is a good start.

And then, I think having that list of ten things and, when it comes time to actually cook, it’s important to just take that first step. Instead of staring at the fridge, wondering “oh my God what am I going do to?” I suggest either filling up a big pot with water and heating it up, or if you have one, pre-heating a cast-iron skillet, because they like to have at least 15-20 minutes of warm up time… and then go look for something to put in them. Either you’ll end up with a really good soup or you will end up with some kind of a stir-fry, or maybe even a simmered dish in your cast-iron. But taking that first step is going to break the inertia and almost literally light a fire under your feet and get you going in the kitchen, get you using what you have. That’s really where it starts I think.

Grocery shopping in a pandemic

AV: For those of our listeners who actually don’t have anything in their pantries yet, what are some tips you can offer for grocery shopping these days that you are utilizing yourself, such as when to go, where to go, keeping it hygienic… Are you out of your self-isolation period right now? I am assuming you are going out these days to shop as needed.

BG: Yes, I just went once so far and I chose to go to my small local grocery store, which happens to be a Choices Market, and I like that it is owned in BC and operated in BC. They really look like they care a lot. Things were not perfect, but the shelves were generally well-stocked, the staff members were really helpful but also keeping a distance, respectfully. That was great. There was clear signage everywhere to remind people to respect social distancing. I thought it was a great experience. I personally will not go to big box stores as much as I can. If I can avoid it… There are some items that normally I prefer to buy, say, at No Frills, because they are less expensive, and I can’t afford to buy everything at Choices all the time, but for now I found that supporting my local people was rewarding, in the sense that the food was there but also that the relationships were positive for the people in the store. I don’t know anymore if the time of day matters so much because there are so many people who have had their life schedules turned upside down so I think store busy hours are quite different. But definitely of course avoiding that first hour unless you’re a senior or an immune-compromised person. It’s key to give them a wide berth but then… staying away from each other, but it’s OK to smile! It’s OK to say “hello,” just don’t get too close to people. It seems in some cases that people who are socially distancing feel like they also have to cast their eyes away and not smile. I don’t know if smiling is thought to be dangerous… but we can still smile to each other, that’s OK. Just be reasonable. And also not overstocking. But it’s also true that at the same time we are not taking so many more meals at home that… I can’t survive the whole week with only two packages of tofu. I will need to buy more! Same thing for… well, I make my own nut milk for the most part, but if someone is buying it in cartons, if now they are eating three meals a day at home, they’re going to have to buy more. Also not judging what’s in other people’s basket is key right now because we are all avoiding going to the store too often, but there’s a flipside to that which is that we need to get more every time we shop.

Cooking as a mindfulness practice

AV: Finally, can you speak about the comfort to be found in making food, especially when we are not going outside that much and spending a lot more time at home either by ourselves or with family members or roommates.

BG: Ah! Unlike a lot of modern pursuits, all the intangible work we are doing these days on the Internet, cooking a is a very, very tangible thing to do. We can immerse ourselves in it, first of all leave our phone out of the kitchen, it’s dirty. Phones are dirty, don’t bring them to the kitchen. But also pay attention to what you are doing. It makes the experience so much more valuable! We do have to take the moment to appreciate the empowerment that comes along with getting food into our homes, assembling it into a meal that we can then share with our loved ones. It makes us all more content and it makes us nourished and at this time I cannot think of anything really much more important than that. At any time it’s true, but especially right now it’s a very rewarding activity. We need to bask into it if we can and not see it as a chore. I understand if people are home with kids, as I am, they might feel like they are constantly having to throw them food and snacks and things… But when it comes to cooking and meals, it’s a special activity and we are lucky to be able to do it still. We have also found that sharing the meal even virtually with others has helped. It was my husband’s birthday which was a sad thing because we couldn’t get together with our extended family but we all met on video conference and each family had a cake and we sang happy birthday and we left the tablet on the table as we were eating. There was the kind of banter that we normally would have at the family table as we were hanging out and eating our cake. It helped make things a little bit more normal. Obviously, I know that when I see them again my nieces will have grown by another half-head kind of thing, and of course that is a little bit challenging, but at least we can keep the connection going at meal times. That is a time when everybody is seated so it’s a bit easier to all be together in the picture, and we can keep in touch. It’s really important to stay connected despite the need to keep our distances right now.

AV: Thank you so much Brigitte for coming on the show today to speak to us about plant-based pantry cooking at this time of global pandemic where we have to stay at home and use the resources available to us more than ever. If you’ve been inspired by Brigitte’s great info and would like to learn more about her work, you can visit her website at veganfamilykitchen.com or find her on Facebook at Vegan Family Kitchen. Thank you Brigitte, you’ve inspired me and made me hungry! I have to go get some breakfast now. Take care and stay safe.

BG: Thank you Alison.