Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Communal Table: Gathering Together Our Crop Share Family

This past weekend, the Mister and I went to the National Museum of American History to check out their newly opened exhibit, Food: Transforming the American Table.

Okay, well it was more of a pilgrimage for me to see the re-opened Julia Child kitchen exhibit, because I've been in a year-long state of withdrawal while they "re-modeled" it.  Come on Smithsonian, you can't do these things to a foodie!

So much kitchen envy!

Once I started to come down from my Julia high, it was time to explore the rest of the Food exhibit.  While you may think an exhibit on the history of food in the U.S. would be rather droll, it was actually quite fascinating to see where we've come, even since the 1940s and 1950s.  Those of us who take to our kitchens to tackle our Crop Share ingredients are recipients of the legacy started by people, like Julia Child, who wanted to get average Americans into their kitchens to not just make dinner, but to fall in love with the act of cooking.  For much of our history, cooking was drudgery and if you had the means, you made it someone else's drudgery.  Then we entered into a very weird phase where the American home cook became chic, but in a weird let's microwave cook everything or put it in a Jell-O mold kind of way.  I'm so, so very glad we did not stay there!

And then into the sea of TV dinners and meatloaf came a boisterous giant, chortling, swilling wine and exhorting us all to, "Save the liver!"  America fell in love with Julia Child, and in turn fell in love with the art of cooking and the beauty of ingredients.  Today, it's hard to imagine a time without the Food Network, celebrity chefs, and even food bloggers.  Talking about food has become as American as apple pie.

By far one of the best parts of the exhibit is the Open Table, a large table where museum guests can gather around to talk about food.  What food types are on or off their table and why?  Are organic and sustainable labels important to them?  It was great to just stand and watch as strangers from around the world came around a table to talk food.  Politics and religion often drive peoples apart, but here at the Open Table, food was bringing people together.

So it got me thinking about our Crop Share program and the reasons why we all took the plunge and became members.  I know for myself it was a desire to eat a healthier more plant-based diet and to challenge myself to learn to cook every random piece of produce we'd get.  But what about all of you, what prompted you to sign up?  

We refer to all of you as our Crop Share family, and while we don't gather around the same table each night, we are all bonded by the fact that this program is something we all love and believe in.  So it's my hope that this blog can be more than just a repository of recipes, that this can be a virtual, communal table where we can all dialogue about food, our traditions, newly discovered recipes and what kind of impact Crop Share has made in your life.

Thus, I want to hear from you, whether it's a great recipe you've come up with, a photo of last night's dinner, a link to your own food blog, your thoughts on anything food related, whatever it is, I want to hear it and share among all of us.  So leave comments, e-mail photos and recipes (, even tag your food photos on Instagram with #onlyatnalls so we can see what's cooking.

Let's make this blog a place where we all gather around our common bond of good food and fresh ingredients.

Now...let's get cooking!

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