written by Ellen
OK, to be honest, we didn’t have time for an actual launch party for One Hundred Meals, so Grant and I jumped at the chance to launch the project at the season’s last Soup & Bread (and Pie!) at The Hideout in Chicago.
The founder of Soup & Bread, Martha Bayne, has built a thriving community raising money for good causes like, the Logan Square Warming Center, which was the beneficiary of last week’s event. For background, here is a good post from the New York Times (OK, really, I added that link because it is the NEW YORK TIMES WRITING ABOUT MARTHA’S CAUSE!).
Well, anyway, it was such an auspicious event, it being the last of the season, and such a good cause, building community — that it was a natural place to launch our project, designed to build community.
I made what I called First Step Soup. I adapted a recipe that I got from Kristin Reese, who was at The. Breakfast. It is her family’s favorite soup and is a traditional Italian Wedding Soup that she got the recipe for from Ina Garten. Here’s what Kristin had to say about the soup:
“It as a recipe I found that tasted good and can be a meal. Meatballs can be made in advance and it is tasty. The kids like the meatballs. I used our ground chicken and add some spices to it. I love the chef Barefoot Contessa and I think this is one of her recipes…without looking. When I cook I always make little changes or ad in this or that…I bet that is how you are too. I use herbs out of my garden. Our children Campbell 4, and Parker 2, love to help cook.”
You can probably see already that learning about the lives of the people on the other side of the table can help begin to bridge gaps. The reason, of course, is that you learn to see them as people first, not just a faceless enemy force. And that was the point of this soup I was making, to use food — a tie that binds — as a gesture for building a connection.
We thought it would be fun to add the recipe from each meal, so I made a page for that and you can go get the recipe for First Step Soup. I apologize to the “specific direction needed” folks out there but I write recipes mostly how I cook. I am sure as Grant adds recipes, they will be more organized and precise. So, there will be something for everyone over time!
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, planning and plotting the project, reading and learning, that we haven’t really had enough time to communicate how this project is going to fall together. So, since this is the launch party post, I thought maybe it was high time to do that.
The foundation of One Hundred Meals will be a series of topics that Grant and I pursue as we set out to learn about our food supply. First up — learning how to read and understand the data and information that swirls around us, generally making us confused as we try to sort out what to believe. We’ll be announcing the first meal, whose topic is learning to research, in the next few days.
For each topic, we will be posting a preview post announcing the topic, sharing why we chose the topic and what we hope to learn, and listing a number of the questions we have about the topic. We’ll also be soliciting questions from you, so please feel free to let us know what you want to learn about each topic so we can share what we find.
Grant will be developing a photo record of the meal that we’ll share with you, and we’ll both work on follow up posts that share what we learned. We’re building a discussion board for the blog which will be incorporated into each post to try to keep the discussion strings on topic and easier to follow. We encourage you to chime in and get your voice heard on the boards.
Our target list of meals we would like to pursue will be going up shortly, as will an ever-updated reading list that includes learning and information from all sides of the issue.
Our goal is to try and sort out, really, the truth about our food supply and how regular people with busy lives and jobs can sort through the morass of conflicting information and arrive at a way of living that is in tune with their ideals.
That’s really the crux of the problem, to my mind, that it is nearly impossible to know what to choose when you don’t have ready access to real facts you can count on. And that’s what One Hundred Meals is all about — building community at America’s table while helping us — and you — understand the realities of the choices we make, instead of ignoring them or misunderstanding them.
We hope you participate, after all, we are trying to build a community here, and hope you end up getting some of your own questions answered. And, well, maybe meet a few people, like-minded and not, along the way.