These days, Whole Foods is synonymous with “Whole Paycheck” (something that WF boardmember Bud Sorenson joked about in his elevision interview),
but the attitude that healthy food and good meals are reserved for people with money seems to sell the rest of us short. If you look into it, it turns out that Slow Food is all about supporting family farms and connecting with friends over a meal—something simple and basic and utterly un-pretentious. Below, read our columnist Peggy Markel’s poetical note on how to throw a “magical dinner party” of your own—whether it’s grilled cheese and punk rock on your fire escape, or an elegant spread on a picnic table in the backyard—and then watch Peggy surprise Waylon by setting one up on stage at Trilogy.
From: Peggy Markel Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 12:58:37 –0600 To: Erin Needham, Waylon H. Lewis Subject: Re: Questions for Wednesday night’s elevision: How to Throw a Mindful Dinner Party
I would like to talk about attitude, art and ambiance.
I think one’s attitude has to be in the right mode. It’s a place of inviting, in order to express and give something back. It’s an opportunity to express your particular art—what do you love? What tastes good to you? Who do you want to spend time with? What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? Yours will be different than mine. It’s kind of like setting a stage. Be as creative as you like. I’m always for going outside of the box. If you want to eat on the floor next to the fireplace, then make your menu adaptable to it. If you want to eat outside, then stir it up and make it elegant, candles on a table next to your favorite tree. Set a tete-á-tete on your balcony—put a rug under your table for the night and add an extra table with poetry books to read from during courses.
Pick your favorite music. Your guests are captured in your world for a short time; enchant them with your particular style. Don’t get lost in “musts”…like, it must be a fabulous fancy three course meal to be good, or something French that I have never made…unless that is exactly what turns you on. Do it if you never have.
Set your stage, forget the worry. Focus on flavor and simplicity—coming from the freshest ingredients; they practically speak for themselves. And then…be present. Be present to your guests. Here you have given them an insight into you, but more than likely you have invited them to get to know each other better, to et them speak. Don’t make it about you, make it about them. It’s an honor and a gift to be cooked for and it feels so good. They will leave enchanted and perhaps might even say, “That was just magic.”