(Wallyhood welcomes our newest writer, Helen Kim, reporting on last week’s Wallingford Community Kitchen. Slideshow photos by Matt Mason.)
Imagine being a member of a big extended family. Big. Really big. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, teenagers, even an adorable little baby. All cooking a big meal together. Now, imagine the residents of Wallingford as the members of that family in the kitchen of the Good Shepherd’s Senior Center. This was the scene at the Community Kitchen I attended on Friday night.
About 30 of us gathered to prepare Beef Stew, Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Root Vegetable Stew with everyone contributing ingredients, side dishes or funds (entire out-of-pocket cost, $10 a head). Much chopping, peeling, talking and laughter ensued. I couldn’t remember a time when I was happier to be a Wallingford (-ian? –ite? –er?, help me out here). And then after an impromptu and very moving Shabbat blessing we sat down to an amazingly delicious meal together.
The family’s matriarch was Rachel Duboff who organized the event and provided recipes and wisdom. She described it as “organized chaos” with the purpose of building community around the most primal human activity of preparing and sharing food. Under the auspices of Sustainable Wallingford, the ingredients were local and seasonal.
Reasons for attending?: “It came to me in a dream”, “Meet neighbors”, “Eat some good food”, “Try new recipes”, and “My wife made me come”. A homeless guy stopped by, attracted by the smell of cooking and we gave him some bread. Some kids pulled out board games and started playing while some people got seconds and others started washing the dishes. It felt like home.
This is a monthly event, with the intriguing theme for Feb. 26th being “Winter Salads & Chocolate”. More information on Facebook or their website: