Last night I attended the Seattle Tilth hosted Eat Local for Thanksgiving dinner at the Good Shepherd's Center. Individuals were encouraged to bring a locally grown item with which a volunteer chef would create a masterpiece. I had no idea what I was in for, but I showed up with my locally grown garlic from both Nash's Farm and Willie Green's Farm, three very large Mishirasu Asian Pears from Dry Slough Orchard via Pioneer Organics, and Quark from Appel Farms. I couldn't help myself but bring along my camera to document the process of how strangers create community through their love for food.
We're not experts in the kitchen. Most of us have the knife scars to prove it. There is something so gastronomically empowering when people drive forward with the desire to learn. Nothing is more delicious than the experience we had learning about food! Beth of Matt's In the Market fame, discussed nutritional facts, modestly showed off chopping techniques, enlightened us on varied cooking times, and fed our souls and tummies with straight out of the oven and off the stovetop goodness. One of my favorite dishes, aside from the roasted garlic cloves, was the kohlrabi bake that comforted everyone in the room. Whether our minds were on the voting tallies (as it was a voting Tuesday) or on whether or not we turned off the coffee maker that morning, Beth brought us back to center with her mustard and lemon salmon, roasted root vegetables and feta, pan-seared baby bok choy, honey-dipped parmasian cheese, beet salad, and pan-seared chard and pomegranate. We were in absolute bliss. A few of us brought wine and a little champagne, jokes and great stories. We arrived strangers, uncertain of how the evening was about to unfold and then we walked away, but not without hugs and promises to make this a monthly event.