A couple of weeks back, there was an email in my inbox from my friend Scott inviting the G3 and any and all friends to Diner for A Day, a fundraiser breakfast to support local farmers and producers and the completion of Chris Bedford’s latest film “Coming Home”, as well as providing seed money for a future edible schoolyard program (to be announced). Now, I’m always happy to attend an event where Scott cooks, so I rallied the troops and signed up the lot of us (three bloggers, three partners, one three year old). Only later, when I began to see posters for the event around town and realized that it was to be held in a not-overly-large house not too far from my west side neighborhood did I begin to think “how will they pull this off?” And though I would not want Scott and his good compatriots such as Eve Arnoff and John Roos, and, most notably, the intrepid hosts, Jeff McCabe and Lisa Gottlieb, to think that I doubted them . . . well, I sort of expected to arrive and find a sign on the door that said “never mind, go home, get yourself some Lucky Charms.”
How did they pull it off? With both efficiency and style. The house was packed with people, many eating, many cooking, many serving, and all were in a great mood. We lingered long and could have lingered longer except for some sense of guilt at holding on to our seats when there were hungry masses to be fed. Scott told me they served 160 meals out of Jeff and Lisa’s kitchen that day. All-American breakfasts, big waffles and fruit, elegant smoked salmon strata (Scott had smoked the salmon, Eve had assembled the strata) and wholesome AND delicious granola. And lots of John Roos coffee (and apple cider and tea for those of us who wimped on the prospect of more than one cup of that particular joe).
The food was great — well prepared, hot, efficiently served. And there was granola, milk, bacon and eggs to take home if you wished, as well as some very stylish t-shirts and dish towels to commemorate the event. But even greater was the good fellowship and the sense of being connected to my community and the way in which the room buzzed around the shared love of food and place (at least, I think that was it, not the coffee. Ok, the coffee probably helped).
Jeff and Lisa and friends are doing great work (and seem to be having great fun) with the SELMA co-op, reaching out to neighbors and organizing around sharing resources and skills, from lawn mowers to loaves of bread. I’m delighted to hear they’ll be continuing the good work and fellowship (and food!) in a regularly offered Selma Cafe, a place for friends, neighbors and those of us interested in our connections to the land and to each other to gather to trade talk and toast.
And their biggest fan? Young Nick, who after 5, count ’em 5, pieces of bacon, two whole waffles and a heap of raspberries said “Mama, I don’t want to stop eating!” Later that day when I asked him what was his favorite part, he declared “all of it!” And for me too.