Last month Slow Food minded folks from San Diego and Mexico gathered together for an unforgettable evening in the Valle de Guadalupe. MEAT San Diego, Chef Javier Plascencia and La Cocina de Doña Esthela joined forces to present “A History of Carnitas”. Attendees enjoyed live Norteño music, wines from Hacienda la Lomita, beer from Agua Mala and of course a whole pig carnitas cookout. The chefs prepared the carnitas in the traditional fashion, utilizing the whole pig which was locally raised in San Diego. A portion of the proceeds of the event will go to support sending Slow Food Urban San Diego’s official 2015 Slow Meat delegate to Slow Food’s Slow Meat conference in Denver, Colorado. This delegate will bring back knowledge learned at the conference and help find ways to make positive changes in San Diego’s meat industry and culture. Fore more of the delicious details on the evening check out Chef Javier Plascencia’s video recap!
– contributed by Kathryn Rogers –
Setting the table for a dinner party always makes me excited. Arranging the linens, plates and candles takes me back to happy times with family and friends. So easily my thoughts drift to balmy summer days with vegetables roasting on the grill and the anticipation of guests. No matter the occasion – a summer picnic on the patio, a holiday feast, or a springtime brunch – nothing is better than pairing good people and delicious food.
Reflecting on the joys of mealtime, I’m amazed at how infrequently these busy days I take time to sit at my table and truly enjoy a meal. I often find myself grabbing a breakfast bar for the road, eating my leftovers lunch at my desk, stopping by a deli for a quick bite on my way to an evening meeting.
When did mealtime become a try-to-fit-it-in-your-day task instead of time to gather, nourish and connect? And why, when we do make the time to sit and enjoy a meal, does it feel so good?
The kitchen table is sacred domain – our trusted ally in times of hunger, joy and sadness. We gather around the table to tell stories about our days, to nourish ourselves with fresh ingredients lovingly prepared, to share culture and history in the recipes of our ancestors, to get to know each other on a first date, to shed tears over the struggles we face, to witness big moments like baby’s first bite of broccoli, to laugh. Food brings us together.
It is not surprising, then, that as we have traded shared mealtimes for a quick bite in our cars that our relationship with food and community suffers. In fact, according to a recent article in the Atlantic, the average American eats one in every five meals in the car, and the majority of American families report eating one meal together less than five days a week.
It’s time we reclaim our kitchen tables as a place for building relationships and strengthening community ties. And to start thinking of new people and places to bring together to share food and stories. For it is around our tables that we create new opportunities to collaborate, spark creative ideas, or connect with each other in deeper ways.
Looking for some ideas to spice up your next food gathering?
Here are five tips to bring even more enjoyment to mealtime:
- Invite friends and family to a themed brunch where everyone brings a dish using the same ingredient. Think something versatile like olive oil, ginger or fresh figs. An in-season ingredient from the farmer’s market is also a great option. You and your guests might come up with a dish as genius and unexpected as fig ceviche or olive oil scones.
- Designate a guest to bring a question to your next dinner party. Then have each guest go around the table and answer the question. It’s a great way to get to know each other better and discover shared connections. Otherwise you may never learn that your neighbor loves live jazz as much as you do!
- Host a cocktail hour and have each guest bring a bottle of wine. Then cover all the bottles with paper bags, number them and do a blind taste test. Ask your guests to vote for their favorite, and award the guest who brought the winning bottle with first dibs on dessert.
- Host a picnic in one of San Diego’s beautiful outdoor spaces. Gathering in a community garden or on blankets in Balboa Park brings new energy to mealtime. Encourage everyone to bring a potluck dish and reusable plate. Great food, fresh air, good company and no stress of hosting… a winning combo.
- Next time you go out to eat, choose to sit at the bar or community tables and strike up a conversation with those around you. Simple questions about what they’re eating or if they have a favorite drink are a great place to start. Perhaps you’ll end up swapping stories about your shared love for international travel and maybe even end up with a new friend.
Together, we can reclaim our sacred kitchen tables.
Our members are always on the lookout for Slow Food-friendly restaurants and businesses. These are establishments that provide delicious food created with locally-sourced ingredients and good, clean, and fair practices. We strive to recommend businesses our members should support to satisfy their Slow Food cravings.
Our goal is to encourage members to stimulate the local economy and support local restaurants and the long food chain that supports them from farmer to chef. We hope that, by providing our members with special discounts at select Slow Food-friendly restaurants, they will be encouraged to experience and support the culinary gems of urban San Diego.
How It Works
All Slow Food Urban San Diego members receive a Member Benefits Card that they can present to receive a small (10% suggested) discount on their food bill (including or excluding alcohol) or a special offer at Slow Food-friendly businesses. With your participation, we hope to encourage our engaged and passionate community of members to shop and support Slow Food-minded businesses such as yours.
Participating restaurants and businesses will be highlighted on the Slow Food Urban San Diego website and newsletter. To view current program participants please visit our Member Benefits webpage.
We at Slow Food Urban San Diego are very excited about the support that our Membership Benefit program will provide to the local San Diego food economy. If you think that you might be interested in becoming a part of this program, please complete the attached application. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have – thank you for your consideration!
If you would like your business to participate in our Member Benefits program, please complete and the application below send your it to us at the following address:
Post: SFUSD Membership
4395 Felton St
San Diego CA 92104
If you have any questions about the Member Benefit Program or partnering with SFUSD, please contact us at: email@example.com.