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eating at my table  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Sometimes we invite people to eat at my table. Sometimes we have a workshop and all the attendees are invited to eat at my table. At this moment, there is a free PDC going on - and one of the nice things about offering a free PDC is that we don't have go to the massive expense and work of feeding lots of people. Put we did agree to feed the instructors and the support staff (a total of six to nine people each night).

I just wanna make a few things clear.

1) What appears at my table is most likely going to contain meat. The whole meal might be something like beef stew. I have given clear instructions that whoever is doing the cooking does not take special requests. Sometimes a lovely person that is cooking will try to accommodate a special diet and that leads to many special diets and then the person cooking charges me more and the person cooking doesn't have the time to enjoy the stuff going on.

2) If you eat a special diet, you might want to bring some food of your own. Sometimes we have multiple things, some of which might fit within your diet. So that will reduce the amount that you need to feed yourself - but you should not plan on it.

3) Someday, way into the future, maybe I will be disgustingly rich and will be able to hire all sorts of cooks to accommodate all of the special orders of all the people who are visiting. At the moment, I am not in that sort of position. And, I confess, that the little bit we have provided has been a bit of a challenge.

4) We no longer feed gappers at my table. We do, however, sometime invite the gappers, ants, deep roots, etc. to join us for a meal once or twice a week.

5) Sometimes we have a schedule or a time set for a meal. I like to say "respect the cook by showing up on time." And I think we've gotten really good about that for the whole two years we have been here. I regret to say that I have been late a time or two, so I have a hard time being a dick about it - but I like that I try harder and that others will also try to show respect for the cook.

6) Tony and Emily stopped by and ate at my table. Afterwards they did a lot of cleanup and sharpened our knives. Super cool. Morgan stops by a local restaurant and brings a huckleberry pie - every time. So yummy. Zach Weiss brought us a huge bunch of super excellent venison. Sam Manno brought us a delicious beef roast from cattle he raised. Lots of people have been awesome generous. I'm not saying folks gotta do this. I just wanna make a shout out for how cool this was. A feeble attempt to balance out the whining.

if you are not eating at my table, please eat only organic or better. The huge amount of work and expense we have gone to to keep toxins out (or at least reduce them) is a bit mind boggling. I would normally think that this would not need to be mentioned, but apparently it does. Non organic food is riddled with pesticides which pass right through you and stay on the land. A lot of those pesticides last for many years and sometimes even decades. Please don't be a vector for toxins.



 
Jocelyn Campbell
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There's more about how we eat in the food and drink at the project thread.

Here is what I recently posted there in an effort to more specifically describe what food is like at Paul's table:

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:This deserved a bit of a revisit.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
We mostly eat paleo-ish around here - very much organic or better and grassfed meats. Which means lots of veggies, meat, eggs, plenty of animal fats, naturally fermented foods and some fruits. We try to minimize starchy foods and sugar, and are not eating much in the way of dairy products at this time, though we imagine incorporating raw milk products from animals on the land.


When folks are invited to dine with Paul, this is the type of food that is served.

When others dine with us who are more used to higher carb foods like grains and starches, we often make rice, oats, noodles, beans, bread, etc. as a separate side that folks can choose or not.

Paul finds that dairy* and grains slow down his mental abilities.
Jocelyn is gluten free, dairy free,* and finds that grains create inflammation in her joints.

*we typically use coconut milk in place of milk, cream, etc. though butter seems to be okay for us so we use lots of butter!


I'm just thinking this might help visitors further understand what might or might not be served at a typical meal.
 
Ann Torrence
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paul wheaton wrote:
6) Tony and Emily stopped by and ate at my table. Afterwards they did a lot of cleanup and sharpened our knives. Super cool. Morgan stops by a local restaurant and brings a huckleberry pie - every time. So yummy. Zach Weiss brought us a huge bunch of super excellent venison. Sam Manno brought us a delicious beef roast from cattle he raised. Lots of people have been awesome generous. I'm not saying folks gotta do this. I just wanna make a shout out for how cool this was. A feeble attempt to balance out the whining.

It's called a hostess gift, people.

A nice set of dish towels would be an entirely appropriate and appreciated gift that packs small in your luggage.
Or flowers.
Or hand-made soap.
Or chocolates.
Or some flavored vinegar from a farmers market.
Or or or.

Not just for Paul and Jocelyn. Every time you get a dinner invitation. Plan ahead and stash a few items for that last-minute invitation. It's the grown-up thing to do.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I bring a pole saw and various drain cleaning equipment. I have found that a few minutes of this sort of service is more valuable to most people than any food item that I might bring.

Sometimes, I change bad switches and plugs. Other times, I bring firewood or I haul away yard trimmings.

Anything valuable that I bring, is likely to be a byproduct of my demolition or tree work. Even for Christmas, it's unlikely to come from the store.
 
Julia Winter
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Or, you know,

be nice.
 
Dan Boone
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Ann Torrence wrote:
It's called a hostess gift, people.
...
Not just for Paul and Jocelyn. Every time you get a dinner invitation.


This, this, and so much this.

I'm bad at it -- having just enough spectrum disorder to find that the stress of calibrating small social gifts outweighs the social cost of just saying "fuckit" and not bothering -- but my momma tried to raise me better enough to do it anyway. She tried.

I do have this one set of rich friends who live two hours away. In the classic money-time tradeoff, I have more time than they do, while they have a lot more money. So when we visit, I usually go see them, which is four hours of driving on the front and back ends of the day. While I'm there, they feed me, sometimes at home and sometimes at a restaurant of their choosing where they pay.

I feel a lot better about letting them feed me when I take a social gift. That has gotten MUCH easier since I started growing stuff and wildcrafting/foraging. They appreciate fresh local organic produce, so pecans or blackberries or persimmons or mustard greens or whatever I have in surplus always goes over well, and costs me nothing.

Notice that "organic or better" food was a theme in the social gifts that Paul cited with approval, as well. If you have to buy it, this stuff ranges from merely expensive to literally priceless (because it's not for sale anywhere). Nobody who is feeding you and who worries about food quality will be offended if you show up with quality food. That you picked it in your own yard is actually a good thing rather than evidence that you are a broke-ass tightwad (even if you actually are). My reasoning (by analogy to the old social rule where you took a bottle of wine to a dinner party but the host/hostess was not obliged to serve it because they might have planned a different wine offering, or none at all for good reasons you don't know about like another guest who doesn't imbibe) is that you shouldn't expect the food you brought to be offered back to you while you are guesting; it might go into the pantry for a higher-and-better planned use at a future meal, and that's fine.
 
William Bronson
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We do this at church. We bring our surplus berries, tomatoes, and this year hopefully ,grapes, and we leave them out during coffee hour,with a note asking for a donation to the church.
This brings in more cash with less hassle than selling them does. Same system is used when I bake bread, instead of selling it at 4 dollars a loaf.
Some people will gladly pay way more this way, and those who have less, pay less, nothing is wasted, and no one is stressed out...
My Appalachian queen came up with this method ,which reminds me of the stone soup story.
But it only works with a good community, where trust is the norm.
My people jump in to help where they can, share as they able,and recieve with gratitude.
Sometimes when invited we make it clear that we have only ourselves to offer, being both broke and short on time. This does not stop us from washing dishes and wrangling minions. We give what we have to give.
Most of these issues around food at Paul's table baffle me, I wonder who raised these people? As a guest you eat what is served you with gusto(or at least pretend to!)and assist your host as graciously as possible. If you have special needs, attend to them yourself. If you want to be catered to, go buy a meal at a restaurant.


 
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