Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Aboveground Dinner, otherwise known as the Potluck

So I was thinking; there's so much about underground dinners these days, and while I appreciate the idea, I feel that to some degree it's become another badge of hipster or foodie cred, with the real message potentially getting lost. Which isn't to say that I won't continue to involve myself with underground dinners, but it reminds me of several Slow Food dinners I was involved in cooking--the message is great, the idea is great, but with tickets at 75 bucks a pop, the attendees were relatively one-dimensional, demographically speaking--kind of like walking through a Whole Foods, only the workers weren't invited. And as I was, in my chef's coat, passing h'ors douevres, talking about the farms the food was from and how we prepared the food, a lot of people sort of dismissed the spiel, seeming more interested in flicking the chives off the pulled pork and blue corn hush puppies and otherwise altering things to their liking. Which is kind of funny at an event designed to bring us back to simpler times, enjoying food that a host lovingly prepared and created after someone else lovingly grew/raised/produced it. I love and subscribe to the mission of Slow Food, don't get me wrong. But it was just as though too much emphasis was placed on the event, the service, and who was there; I feel it should be placed on the food, how it was produced, and the conversation held while enjoying it.
That said, does anyone in Chicago want to have a potluck? Each guest bringing a dish/drink/dessert, and being ready to talk about it. Whether it's a story like the one about the family pot roast recipe (calling for a certain sized hunk of meat, only to instruct the cook to cut off the last 2 inches for some reason shrouded in mystery until grandma explained "oh! well, otherwise it wouldn't fit in the pot we had!"), or a story that starts out as "Well, I'm a terrible cook, so I made...", let's get together and eat some casseroles and more, anything really, and (re)connect with food and others. Vegetarians and carnivores alike are all welcome.

Sound interesting? Email me if so at hughamano@yahoo.com, and we'll get something together.