I have a running list of what I call “elemental loves.” On it may be found Johnny Cash, Cilantro, Paradox, the color orange, and other oddly wonderful entities. On this list, also, is the favorite tradition (or should I say tra-DISH-ion) of my cultural heritage: Potlucks.
I once declared when visiting a friend’s church, “You will know a church by its potlucks!” I stand by this claim and feel that I can more broadly adapt it to: You will know a COMMUNITY by how it feeds its people.
I grew up attending potlucks in the church basement at King’s Chapel every few months. It was always a marvel to me, the spectacular variations in casseroles, crockpots, and dishes involving Velveeta. This sampling offered a glimpse into the lives of the people who brought them.
As I grew up and moved through other communities, I glimpsed other possible ways of being.
At Carleton my senior year, I ate off a table built by Lila, suspended from the ceiling of “Great Space.” That year, Julie Honegger, Kat Jones Lippy, and I created and bound cookbooks that contained all our favorite people, poems, and recipes.
When I came to Maryland I was a Vegetarian. I buckled under the pressures of Old Bay and a crab feasts. The Oblate Sisters of Providence fell upon a pile of crabs with such unfettered jubilation, it seemed sacrilegious not to take part.
This blog is becoming a side-board of the unexpected. You are invited to contribute a dish. In the coming weeks I have a vague sense of the flavors to come. Maybe if you get a whiff, you will feel inspired to bring sustenance of your own.
- Work Week – For the next week or so, I will be talking about my vocational calling to American Public Education. “Public school as public space”, “Any Millennial for President,” these are just a few of the topics I’ll make my way through.
- Weak Week – Let the REAL confessions begin. Good intentions and human frailty. I’ve been psyching myself up to for this. It would be a shame to blush alone.
- We, Oui, Wii, Week – Collaboration, communion, and convocation across cultures. The last 10 days of Lent, I will be offering glimpses into the feast of religious experiences that have shaped my soul.
There’s too much goodness here for me to eat alone. I know many of you are beautiful writers, thinkers, and being-ers. If you’re writing something somewhere or if you’re writing nothing nowhere but have been MEANING to bake us a tale, we’d all love a nibble.
What a powerful thing to be nourished by a community. To take into yourself something prepared in the home of someone else. To take on faith that you will show up with your side-dish and leave with a 10 course meal in your belly.