“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” Michael Pollen
I love this quote by Michael Pollen as I think it rings so true. There is something about sharing a meal, about sitting down together, about taking some time (hopefully) without our phones and tablets and other distractions, about slowing down, and eating that brings people together and connects us. We had four events recently here at Solebury where groups of people ate together as part of our never ending goal to enhance the feeling of community here and to ensure that Solebury continues to be the place we all hold dear. There are some pictures of some of the events at the bottom of the post, but here is more about these four events:
1) Our International Student Association recently hosted an Asian New Year celebration. The students worked INCREDIBLY hard as they cooked all afternoon. There were more than a dozen delicious dishes, there was fun music, and there was mahjong played. The truly wonderful part of the evening though was seeing the pride the students felt about sharing their culture with their friends and teachers. It was a fantastic night!
2) Last week, a group of faculty and our chefs surprised the community with a Mardi Gras celebration during lunch. The chefs made a ridiculously good lunch – shrimp etouffee, jambalaya, biscuits and gravy, etc. There was king cake, there were beads and masks, there was jazz music being played. No one knew this was coming, so greeting them as they entered the dining hall made it even more fun. It was a great way to give everyone a little spark as we slug through the end of what’s been a cold winter.
3) This afternoon, we will have our Advisory lunch. We do this three times a year, and the goal is simply to have each advisory group spend a little extra time together. Each teacher at Solebury serves as an advisor to between 5 and 8 students. It’s a soup to nuts job covering everything from course selection, to supporting our college counselor’s work as the students go through the application process, to helping them stay organized during the busy times of the year, to helping our advisees get over a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc., etc., etc. This lunch is a great moment to slow down and have some time together – particularly right now at the end of the winter trimester when everyone is feeling a little weary. As good as the dining hall is, it’s nice to have a change of pace and on these days we get a special lunch for everyone. Today we’re bringing in sandwiches from a local gourmet shop -delicious!
4) This past weekend, Steve Buteux the Assistant Head Of School, hosted his sushi making night. It’s part of the weekend activity program here, is open to both boarding and day students, and is always a student (and staff) favorite. Steve buys a ton of fish and they cook a lot of rice. Everyone gathers and together they make a variety of sushi – it’s fantastic, fun, and delicious.
This has all been just in the past week (it’s been quite a filling week)! While I’ve been hungry since I was the age of 10 and love food more than almost anyone I know, for me the food is secondary in these moments (honest!). Seeing connections made and deepened, and knowing the way these connections enrich the school and the experience students and adults have here is what I really love.