Everybody Eats: A conversation with Michelle Nunn

Michelle Nunn and her favorite ice cream flavor, Jenni’s Darkest Chocolate.

Welcome to the interview series where I discuss food with citizens of Atlanta who are prominent for non-food-related reasons. Let’s get to know our most high-profile residents a little more personally, shall we? For this installment, I spoke to Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA, the humanitarian aid and international development nonprofit. The daughter of Senator Sam Nunn, she was the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

How do you like your eggs cooked?
Scrambled with a lot of cheese.

What are your two favorite things to put in mac and cheese, other than the mac and the cheese?
I hate to be boring, but I just like straight up mac and cheese. I can be talked into bacon.

What are some of your favorite spots for brunch?
Thumbs Up and Highland Bakery.

The CARE USA headquarters is located in Downtown, near Centennial Olympic Park. Whats the best place to walk to for a meal?
Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Youve traveled far and wide on behalf of your work with CARE. What are your favorite foreign cities for great food?
Bangkok and typically wherever I last travelled. Most recently – Kabul, where the grapes and bread were amazing.

Are you any good at gardening?
Not at all, but I like to eat my 14 year old’s home-grown tomatoes.

Wine and beer, or the hard stuff, or none at all?
Sadly for my husband [Ron Martin, Jr.] who would like an occasional margarita companion, I am a teetotaler.

What is your guilty pleasure snack food? Favorite food for a tailgate?
Jenni’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream. Guacamole and chips for the tailgate.

What are your feelings about red velvet cake?
I would never turn it down, but I am more for classic chocolate cake.

Is there any food so disgusting to you that you just wont eat it?
I prefer to not knowingly eat intestines, brains, and such.

Who does most of the cooking in your house? Who cooked while you were growing up?
My husband does the cooking or often the takeout. My 12-year-old daughter is the baker in our family. My mom was the cook in our house growing up.

Alongside disaster relief, education and economic development, part of CAREs mission focuses directly on child nutrition and agriculture. What factors should people consider if they want to help end world hunger?
First, it is important that although many of us enjoy abundant food options, there are millions of people who go hungry every day. After a prolonged decline in hunger rates, a new United Nations report found that global hunger increased last year and now affects more than 815 million people. This increase is due, in part, to climate change and conflict and unfortunately comes at a time when some are calling for deep, unprecedented cuts to foreign assistance.

Second, people should know that there are concrete ways we can overcome hunger and that women are key and need to be at the center of our response. We can both feed the world and help overcome poverty if we lift up female farmers. Research shows that if women farmers had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-39 percent, and the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 100-150 million. This is the vital work that CARE is leading around the world and from right here in Atlanta.