Posted by: syncopated1 | April 3, 2011

Chapter 13: The Community of Food

I made this, and it was awesome!

They say the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I in no way deny this, it certainly works on me! And as much as food makes me happy, I think perhaps that it may be the key to everyone’s heart.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of stepping into two different yet stunningly warm and friendly food communities. The first was a cooking lesson on Saturday with a coworker, Steve, and his girlfriend, Katrina. We cooked lamb chops (which I hijacked from Land after his campaign into vegetarianism began) with a blueberry and red wine sauce we based in the juices from searing the lamb. That was my job, Steve made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and also sauteed lightly seasoned asparagus. I had also made the Miller Family Anadama Bread which seemed to complement the meal well. Katrina made a delectable chocolate soufle for desert. The food, while noteworthy because it’s so good and I made the entree, is actually not the point. The point was I spent an evening working together with friends in a very comfortable atmosphere. This spirit of working together to put a meal together for ourselves is something I have been severely missing since I have been living alone.

On Sunday night I had a very different, but equally pleasing experience; my dear friends David and Lindsay came over with a huge amount of cooking ingredients, and their family (my neighbors), Mike and Nathalie, along with their children joined us. The deal was that David and Lindsay brought the food so long as I cooked it. So while I worked away in the kitchen I had four adults and two small boys laughing, talking and playing in my living room. We fed ourselves on a fine medley of stir fried vegatables over pasta, with a simple salad of young greens and avocado chunks. Served with french bread on the side. Nathalie made delicious oatmeal raisin cookies for desert.

The differences in the two nights are neat to see, one with three of us working in unison start to finish, and the other with me flying solo for the benefit of everyone else. Food has so many different community settings, such as Saturday night which was small, and intimate, very Downeast Maine in a way. Coastal Mainers tend to do things small, and very private with only a couple of people enjoying the quiet comfort and association of friends or family. Sunday night was entirely different, in fact it was like the part of Maine I grew up in, the St. John Valley. In the Valley the French Acadians thrive on sharing the meal of the day with thier friends and family. ALL of their friends and family. If they could the whole valley would eat together every single night! But usually these farmers and mill workers tend to gather at the family’s central location and eat together. Cooking on Sunday night felt much like my childhood on the farm (not that I am French Acadian, because I’m not.).

Food will always bring people together, as Meg would say, “People gotta eat!” Which is then usually followed by a, “So lets make steak and mash po’s.” But, in coming together we build our communities, and these communities make us stronger and happier. And well fed. And being well fed defintitely makes me happy.

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