OPEN Restaurant

amaranthFood–it’s so boring.  I mean, yes, it should be delicious, and lovingly prepared. And plucked fresh from the earth. But with the economic crisis exploding around us, all of a sudden our (my) food geek tendencies seem a little trivial. During the fat years, we all had more time and money to natter on and on about what we were eating, and making food consumption into a meta experience. I remember checking out a book called Food Is Culture at the library at UC Berkeley, and the librarian couldn’t help himself when he snarled, “No, food is just food!”

Well, that’s one way to look at it. But. There’s a group of food world folks who know how to geek out on food in a way that isn’t annoying. They are called OPEN, a group of food professionals who host awesome events in the name of food. They aren’t caterers, mind you, but more like storytellers. For instance, they did an event at SFMOMA where they deconstructed a pig before the eyes of the eaters. After what sounded like an amazing porky dinner, everyone took home a bit of pancetta to cure at home. They sometimes make donuts in parks and give them away, for free.

Now they’re hosting an event at Yerba Buena that sounds really fun. Here’s the scoop, from the YB website: “Participants will share a simple meal while chewing on the question: How can the urban landscape be productive? …enjoy dinner and a glass of wine while learning more about urban farming, foraging and gleaning from people directly involved in these practices. Entry to discussion is open to everyone.

The menu includes a stew made of white beans, greens and pork (there will also be a vegetarian stew), pork rillette, dessert (not yet determined) and a glass of wine.”

I’m going to be there–I hope some of you can make it. Here’s more info:

YBCAlive!: OPENrestaurant with Slow Food Nation
Tue, Jan 6, 7pm • Grand Lobby
Meal Ticket is: $20 General / $15 YBCA Members
Discussion is FREE
For tickets, please call our Box Office at 415.978.2787.

5 responses to “OPEN Restaurant

  1. Actually, us food geeks are the lucky ones. How many people base their lives around the acquisition of objects – and never experience the exquisite pleasure of planting, nurturing, harvesting and eating the perfect tomato? And, the sense of security derived from being able to produce food is anything but trivial (although, in my humble, geeking out over something like smoked salt is, and I suppose that was your point).

    I recently purchased a home here in Oakland, and only have a tiny FRONT yard…but you can bet there will be edibles in every possible space. When I told my new next door neighbor of my plan, she was incredulous – not because I would plant a vegetable garden in the front yard, but because she found the idea of producing your own food to be somewhere between unfathomable and mystical. I hope to to wow her with a tomato pie…or stuffed chard…or…and hopefully, maybe, she may get the “fever” as well. Yes, were the lucky ones, these days…

    I just discovered your blog the other day, in a link from another blog. I ended up reading it, in reverse order and in its entirety, in one evening. Thank you! I hope to be able to visit your farm one day.

  2. We have put food on a pedestal, made it something precious and elitist. Everyone should have access to healthful, nutritious food regardless of income. I grow food but find that I can not afford to go to the events put on by Slow Food, Georgia Organics and others where the best quality food is prepared and served. That doesn’t really bother me much since i would much rather be at home serving my friends the food i have grown. Let’s focus on the reason we grow and eat food. To nourish our bodies. Food IS food.
    The OPEN group seems like they are trying to put food back in its proper place.
    I would appreciate a follow up post after the event. Thanks, Novella, for all your good work. I’m looking forward to reading your book this summer.

  3. I’m finding that as the economic crisis finally reaches those of us who have been privileged to think very little about food unless we chose to, it’s bringing together food geeks with people for whom thinking about food (mainly getting enough of it and making sure their friends and family get enough of it) is a daily preoccupation. It’s bringing appreciation of the sensual pleasure of food from the rare $22 wild nettle and local goat cheese pizzetta produced with boutique ingredients from local artisans to the accessible, virtually free wild nettle and local goat cheese flatbread made with found and bartered ingredients from friends and neighbors. It’s shifting the focus from the caviar to the collards. Which is, I think, a great thing for food geeks and hungry people of all sorts.

  4. ghosttownfarm

    here’s the report from the open event:
    it was a sold-out show ($20 for dinner and a glass of wine and a panel discussion–what a bargain!) and they let everyone come in, whether they had tickets or not, to join in the discussion. they made soup and formed a soup line, which was just brilliant in these grim financial times. in the middle of the room was a table filled with dirt (2 year old compost from bob canard’s farm). on your plate you got soup, salad, “seed” cookies, and a 2-inch peat container with seeds like white beans, dino kale, onions (all things that were in the soup). the idea was you ate your food, then went to the dirt table and loaded up on provisions to then grow the next round of food. there was no panel discussion, rather everyone just mingled and chatted. i met some cool people and got to give out advice about chicken coops. good times. definitely not a food snob event at all–very hearty and grass roots. and it addressed the very issues we’re struggling with now.

  5. That is excellent. Thanks for the report!

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