by Jessica Jorgensen
“Mmmm. Have you tried the Chanterelle mushroom bruschetta?”
“No, but this lasagna is amazing!”
Ali and I tasted every dish at last night’s Slow Food Eugene potluck in Hummingbird Warehouse. We almost couldn’t prevent a fine stream of drool from drizzling our plates as we dished up servings of the aromatic, home-cooked food. The excited chatter eventually gave way to the hum of full-bellied guests and that was our cue to start introductions. All 20 or so guests were asked to stand up and introduce themselves and their dish. I learned so much about where the food came from and how each ingredient reflected, in some way, the person who made the dish. Erin used all ingredients from McKenzie Farms, where she works. Others used vegetables they grew in their own garden.
The common theme to all the dishes: they cost less than $5. This potluck celebrated the $5 challenge, a national, year-long campaign to incorporate local, organic, healthy food into our meals at a price that is accessible to everyone. The only hitch is that you will have to learn to cook (which isn’t a bad thing Danny!).
Cooking is a creative outlet that also strengthens communities and cultures. I love using ingredients that come straight from the earth. For this meal, Carli was wonderful and she joined me in the Earl kitchen to whip up a seasonal carrot-ginger soup. One of my residents, Rick, even accompanied me to the store to buy ingredients. Tom and Patti Barkin then gave Ali and I a ride. It was a beautifully communal effort to get this meal to the table.
Slow Food UO was on the agenda for the meeting, so I spoke briefly about our campus happenings. Erin and I talked about the possibility of hosting a cooking class at the University. Sophia Ross even approached me at the end of the meal to say she has a winter garden that we are welcome to visit next term. As always, we were so welcomed into the Slow Food Eugene community. It was a wonderful night.