We had the great pleasure of attending TEDx Rainier this past weekend. You’ve probably heard of TED: a multi-day, single track conference in which great thinkers from around the world and from all disciplines (and, ideally, from many disciplines at once) give powerful, inspirational talks. If you haven’t heard of it, visit the TED web site: the talks are all available for viewing on demand, and they are truly, stunningly fascinating.
To attend TED, though, you must apply, and for those accepted, the ticket price is $6,000. A bit steep for our pocketbook, even if our non-existent application were accepted. Fortunately, they decided to open up TED to everyone by licensing regional TEDx events. TEDx Rainier was the latest PNW instance, and it exceeded our expectations: thirty talks and performances by innovators, artists, musicians, scientists, philanthropists, authors, entrepreneurs and cross-disciplinary mutts.
Most of the talks left us changed and thoughtful, but one that stuck out in particular was that of Michael Hebb, founder of OnePot.org, dedicated to “table making”. The core idea was that how we share food together is as important as what the food is or where it comes from. “The Table,” he said, “the place where we come together and share food – is one of the most important cultural sites in the modern world….[but] the common table is in a state of peril. We don’t eat together anymore.” He went on to ask “How can we expect to revolutionize our food system without a deep investment in how we eat the food from that system?”
With a nod to the salons of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and the Passover seder, he argues that we must fight back against fast food eaten from drive-thrus and solitary meals eaten over the sink (guilty as charged!). We won’t try to recap his whole talk, though, since he’s put the entire thing on-line at his web site, but we will say we were left scheming a series of dinner parties crossed with inspirational talks for the near future.
In a bit of synchronicity, we arrived home that evening, unwrapped the neglected Sunday New York Times magazine and, what should the entire issue dedicated to, but Eating Together! Amazing! Michael Pollan writing about a 36 hour dinner party, Christine Muhlke about the relationship between farm cooperatives and community, and John Edge about Pie Lab.
And then (and here, patient reader, is the Wallingford tie-in you’ve been waiting for), we read our e-mail and what do we find, but a message from Rachel Duboff about her latest Wallingford Community Kitchen event:
Join us on Friday, October 22nd for another exciting Wallingford Community Kitchen: Apples & Pears, A Harvest Celebration. The kitchen is held from 5:30pm to 9pm at the Wallingford COMMUNITY Senior Center (WCSC) at the Good Shepherd Center.
We will cook as a community and then enjoy the bounties of our labor by sitting down to share a meal. Participation requires a $9.99 pre-registration fee to cover the cost of ingredients and the facilities. Entrance will be $15 at-the-door. We are also asking those that can, to please donate a bit extra to help out those that could not otherwise afford to attend. We will have a limited number of reduced fee tickets available – please email the coordinator for a password.
Tickets may be purchased on-line or you can mail or drop a check payable to: Wallingford COMMUNITY Senior Center **Please indicate the names of all people attending**
Wallingford COMMUNITY Senior Center
Attn: Wallingford Community Kitchen
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Room 140
Seattle, WA 98103
We also ask that all participants bring an appetizer or drink to share with the group (please no bread products as we receive those by donation).
This month we will be preparing:
- Northwest Apple Salad – a great twist on the classic Waldorf
- Pear & Jack Cheese Savory Strudel
- Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Tart
- Curried Winter Squash & Apple Soup
- Lemon Ginger Pear Crisp
Sounds like a delicious way to connect with your neighbors.
(Also, as long as we’re on the subject of food, we also got a kick out of our friend Tiberio’s talk on his La Figa project, a photographic exploration of touch, sensuality and food done in collaboration with the remarkable photographer Matt Freedman. NSFW, but worth the click if you can risk it.)