This evening I shared a final meal with all the participants of the Partake Columbus project plus we each invited one special guest to share in our meal. I really enjoyed sharing the shared meal with guests. Meeting the guests of the folks involved in this MFA project added depth to everyone one of us and brought dynamism to the final meal. The spread included sweet potato burrito casserole, mushroom and egg torte, pork and vegetarian handmade dumplings, mulligatawny soup, kale and bacon sauté, jambalaya, fruit, red bean mochi, chocolate & vanilla mousse, strawberry & white chocolate scones, and chocolate sheet cake. We all contributed dishes to the potluck-style meal and ate off the ceramic dish sets we’ve been eating off of all month.
Leading up to this meal I felt celebratory about the culmination of the 33-day-long project. For this reason Calvin and I brought along a chocolate sheet cake in addition to our sweet potato burrito casserole.
At the outset of the project I had wanted to try and find a theme of my own for the meals I shared, or make a 33-day commitment to something, like, for example, chewing each bite 20+ times (haha). But I never chose a personal mission or commitment. It felt like an unnecessary exercise, given we had already been tasked to contemplate the themes of sharing meals, food, community, & place as part of Jeni’s project. During the meals I concentrated on the ceramic dishes and on my place in my community and in Columbus. I tried to connect my meal share, the food on my plate, or something in my day, to my physical neighborhood or my sense of community. I do not have any grand revelations from this experience.
This project helped me be in the moment and be more mindful of what I was eating and how I wanted to communicate that to the community of the World Wide Web. I was fueled by viewers comments, questions, and encouragements. Without this participation, I think I would not have enjoyed the experience as much. This project also made me more contemplative of my relationship with others and the meaning behind sharing a meal together. I am so lucky because Calvin, my husband, enjoys preparing and sharing meals with me in a deliberate way. We both like sitting down together, nourishing our bodies with food as medicine, and preparing for or catching up on the day. This joining of lives, even for a fleeting 30-minute meal, in a present & mindful way, feels like art, feels important to me, and is revolutionary. If I could make a broad statement, valuing sitting down and sharing a meal with purpose is not common in my generation or amongst my peers. Maybe there are more important things to spend time doing, I don’t know. You’ll have to answer that for yourself.
My food musings do not end here. Check out my blog at makingfoodcount.blogspot.com.