Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Year Later, An Updated Manifesto--and A Few New Salon Dates

When I started the Food on the Dole Salon one year ago--March 10, to be exact--I didn't have a clear expectation of what was to come. Four brave souls came to that first Roast Chicken Salon; we cooked together and had compelling conversation over a really tasty meal. As we grew over the course of the year, we were able to put on over 50 Salons, all told. That's two or three hundred different perspectives coming through the F.o.t.D. Headquarters, and I hope you all gained as much as I did through the Salon.

As we embark on a new year and approach an exciting new growing season (translation: soon there will be more than squash and potatoes available!), I'd like to tighten up the definition of just what the Salon is, and invite you all back--or for the first time--to join us, and find out first hand and in person what the words below could never fully describe. Current salon dates will always be listed at

What is the Food on the Dole Salon, you ask?
The word Salon comes from the Italian word sala--a large receiving room of an Italian mansion where, in the 16th century, people would gather to exchange ideas, facilitated by a knowledgeable and inspiring host. Ultimately, Salons took hold in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, becoming a center for ideas to form and spread during the Age of Enlightenment.

Full disclosure: the Food on the Dole Salon is not hosted in an Italian mansion, nor is it expected that we give birth to a second Age of Enlightenment. We're a bit less academic than that, and a main goal is to have a great time. However, just as poets shared words and musicians their music hundreds of years ago, the Food on the Dole Salon aims to be an important part of food as culture and thought, shared amongst as many perspectives as possible. Though we will be cooking a meal together, it should be understood that the salon is not a cooking class; instead, it is an intimate gathering, with food and cooking as our medium, hosted and facilitated by Chef Hugh Amano.

The Salon seeks guests who hunger to enhance their understanding of food, and seek a community rooted in a common thread of the recognition of the importance of food and sound cooking. In a forum of others sharing these desires, in an atmosphere free of exclusive notions, open to all viewpoints and the discussion of such, we will:
  • Cook a market-based meal together (please note that all diets are welcome and will be accommodated whenever possible);
  • Sit down in a byob setting, eat and discuss the food we made and food in general, issues regarding food, things you may be curious about or feel need to be addressed;
  • Help to create a community based on the joy of food, cooking, and the conversation and relationships they foster.
All topics are welcome in the natural course of the evening. I hope to develop a non-exclusive community of people who come from all sorts of backgrounds--I want to connect those of you who are experts in, say, theater, with those of you who keep bees. Those of you who eat regularly at places like Alinea, and those of you who visit tacquerias and hot dog stands on a daily basis. 6-8 seats are available at each Salon, and dates and cost will be made known through Food on the Dole ( I hope to see you soon and welcome you to the community of the Food on the Dole Salon.