Monday, December 27, 2010

Community Potluck

The Venn diagram of organizations functionally overlapped with the Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market is a type of paradigm-shifting, progressive, socially responsive roadmap of the Brazos Valley.
One Friend of the Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market is active in the Association for Social Entrepreneurship. A member of this group informed me of the twice-weekly community.  Every Saturday and 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m., this group hosts a potluck open to all at Neal Recreation Center.
One market day, customers could purchase vouchers for food that was donated to that weekend’s potluck after the close of market. Great idea, and a carload of gorgeous greens were delivered.
For two weekends now, I have prepared a dish to share: large crockpot of beans and greens and other vegetables and yesterday, a vegetarian lasagne with a picante kick to share for the Sunday midday meal. About 50 persons played soccer or warmed themselves around a wood fire on the grill. Others set up the table. Some of the folks appeared to be homeless or down on their luck. Others appeared to be nice, socially conscious college students. One young man had a comprehensive knowledge of the warming “quotient” of various fabrics (polyester, silk, wool) gained from “field study” while homeless. Admirably, he is now a college student.
The group—adults and children alike—took hands in a large circle. One regular member gave thanks for the meal we were about to enjoy, followed by introductions around the circle. The man to my right tenderly gripped my hand and that of his right neighbor, the entire time, even as he said the prayer of thanks.
I am a huge fan of potlucks. After another session of warming myself by the fire, I got in line. There was chicken and all manner of vegetables, salads, breads, lots of Christmas goodies. Iced tea.
After I found a seat, I noticed some of the college student-looking folks were not eating. Should I have abstained? No, a few were partaking. One college student said some more fortunate people make a distinction and consider themselves to be serving those left fortunate. But it was all good. I can hardly wait to return.

Multibeans1 1-lb package mixed beans, with kidney beans removed and replaced with mayocoba beans
many types of peppers, including a jalapeno or three, diced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bunch collards
1 bunch beet greens
3 or 4 bay leaves (laurel)
1 teaspoon basil
chile powder
kosher salt
Soak beans overnight. Discard soaking liquid.
Four or five hours before the event, sauté diced onions and peppers. Rinse greens, stack, roll up, and cut into strips. Throw everything into a 6-quart slow cooker with about twice the volume of water as vegetables. Cook on high four hours. (Important note: if it is necessary to add more water, add boiling water. Adding cool water will cause beans to harden.) Discard bay leaves (choking hazard).

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