Community is the bedrock of daily life, providing a foundation for living. By this I mean that community, family, friends, and acquaintances, is the context in which people craft their lives. Here rituals and traditions emerge, forming us and our lives into rhythms. Here we make meaning out of both the challenging and enjoyable moments of life. It is against the backdrop of these meaningful connections that we find and make our places in the world.
Because I can’t imagine living without this type of community in my life, I have participated in a weekly dinner community for years. Each of us also finds community in other places but our weekly dinner is a stable fixture in life. We eat together, laugh together, mourn together, and celebrate together. We journey through the monotony and excitement of life. And part of what I love about Mary Lee Kitchen is that we offer an online space for building communities about making allergy sensitive food and offering hospitality. I can’t wait to see the rhythms and meaning that emerges from this community in the coming years!
As the youngest of seven kids, I was born into community; not a day went by that I wasn’t surrounded by siblings, by cousins or nieces and nephews. When I went to college I was placed in a dorm and a floor that was full of people who wanted community, who reached out in the hopes of building relationships. And when I transferred away and found myself in a one-and-a-half square mile town of five thousand residents, on campus of twelve hundred students, surrounded by corn fields in the northwest corner of Iowa, I learned that community was more than a buzzword for the student body who called that place home.
I’ve been shaped, challenged, and broken down by the communities that I’ve encountered. I’m stronger because of it, and sometimes in spite of it. But only now as an adult living in Los Angeles do I have full control of the people who make up my community. And I’ve chosen to fill it with people with open tables, with open hearts; with those who see man-made structures and consequences, and make accommodations to be welcoming, to be inclusive. It’s why I work with Mary Lee Kitchen. We want to make sure that there is a table where you can eat, where your friends and family members with food sensitivities can enjoy life-giving relationship while enjoying delicious food tailored to their allergies. I hope you’ll join us in building a robust community where people can turn to.
I’ve had my parents in town for the past week. They are the ones who taught me about inclusion and sharing meals with others. Thanksgiving and Christmas was filled with people who didn’t have another place to go, and those people became a part of our “family”. Those invited cared about us and loved my sister and me like we were their own. Only some of my extended family lived close, so our church, parents’ coworkers, and even school teachers became our family and community.
This has helped me to include all people at my dinner table. I have felt that the table should be more welcoming even before food allergies-it just so happened that food allergies forced me into the reality that I am not always included. Our community doesn’t have to be our best friend, the one we are closest to, but people who sit with us to share a meal. I don’t know all of our readers, but I feel so connected to the people who read our blog. You are a part of our community, and we want to continue inviting you to our table.
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, thinly sliced
- ½ Red Onion, Diced
- 1 Carrot, shredded
- ½ C. Crushed Pistachios
- 1 Bell Pepper, Chopped
- ½ C Thinly Sliced Apples
- 1 Cucumber, sliced
- 1 Tomato, deseeded and cubed
- 1 C. Pomegranate Seeds
- Layer all ingredients together and toss together. Top with the Pistachio Salad Dressing.
- ¼ C Crushed Pistachios
- 1 Tbsp Tahini
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- ¼ C Rice Wine Vinegar
- ⅓ C Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- Sea Salt/Pepper
- Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid.
- Close the lid.
- Shake vigorously until all ingredients are emulsified.
- Pour over Fall Salad.