Saturday, May 7, 2011

the salon challenge

The urge to invite people to dinner has hit me in full force. I don't just mean to dinner. I mean TO DINNER.
That's right, it's been a year, but I'm done hibernating, and the kitchen has moved, and I still don't have matching plates but that's okay, and yes,
it's time for a salon challenge.
I worked at the first farmers market of the season today, and everyone was talking to everyone else. You'd think people came for the spinach, but I think that they came for the conversation.  And over and over, people kept saying, "whoa. it's been a long winter.  it is nice to be out." There were people running at each other over the broad expanse of market, arms outstretched, and you'd think that we'd been snowed in all winter.
You would, after all, be right.
I started this salon challenge a ways back after I heard this essay.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I dreamed of becoming someone who connected other people to each other, who created moments where people could sit face to face and talk and eat, someone who was (and I'll use this word, because this is my word of the day) BRAVE enough to sit back and let it happen, to invite people who might say no, to feed people imperfect food, to sit still and calm through long silences, and to handle it with grace or not but be okay with it either way. Even more, I wanted to feel that bringing people together could change the world and peoples lives, that I could do a little bit of what Jim Haynes did in my very own kitchen.  I took his essay as a challenge, and I wanted to follow through.
And of course, I love a good dinner party.
So let's get this party started again.
The only rule is that you have to invite people to dinner that you do not know. And by "do not know," I mean only know a little, wanting to know more, never met, or whatever works for you.  It needs to be different than a regular dinner, but again, do what works.  Here's the layout of the rules and themes past, as well as a few other tidbits.  And the theme for this challenge is.....
Organize your menu around color, that's it.  Serve your courses in a rainbow or an entirely purple meal, just let color guide you.  You have until the end of June, so that gives us all enough time to get BRAVE, send out some invitations, and plan a menu.
There, I've done it! There's the challenge.  Questions? Anxieties? Hoorays? Chime in here. Tell us all if you're taking the challenge and then check back in and we'll swap stories. I really do think that a few more dinner parties can change everything--I know they have around here.


  1. Which farmers' market did you work at? I wasn't able to go today, but plan on making a visit to one of them next Saturday, but I'm not sure which one yet.

    The salon challenge sounds like it could be fun.

  2. Great Barrington! Come say hello next week- I'm over at Indian Line Farm.

  3. Oh boogers - I'd sent you a long note - it is gone.

    I'm going to shoot for a June Salon Challenge!

    Love the day after mother's day blog.

    will keep you posted!

  4. Can't wait to hear about it, toni! I'd bet you throw a damn fine dinner party.