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The moon was full, and so was I.

August 22, 2008
Homemade sparklers await....

Homemade sparklers await....

Sparkling Lavender Cooler? Raw Milk Olive Oil Ice Cream? Cornmeal only cornbread topped with shining dollops of honey butter??? Yes to all of it, yes please. And please do add in a comfortable setting, warm company, and a feeling that each thing I was putting in my mouth came from a perfect place.

I had it all this past Saturday when chance allowed me to be in the bay area of California for an event I’ve been longing to attend, a Full Moon Feast hosted by Jessica Prentice at Three Stone Hearth.

Most people probably don’t know who Jessica is, so I’ll tell you. Ms. Prentice is a chef and the author of Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection. Her book is one of the greatest food books I’ve read in a long time, maybe ever. She examines each of the thirteen lunar cycles and, drawing from a diversity of traditions that follow the lunar calendar, matches each phase each up with a theme. For example, there’s a Milk Moon, a Hunger Moon, and a Sap Moon. Every chapter speaks to one phase and includes recipes at the end. The book is extremely personally… without being at all self indulgent (something that is hard to do).The recipes are great, right in line with a Nourishing Traditions mindset.

But that’s the book. How about the feast?

Indeed, Jessica Prentice is one of five worker-owners of the Berkley based food service, Three Stone Hearth. Three Stone Heart is a “community supported kitchen” that each week makes a box of prepared foods to order using fresh and seasonal ingredients… with a strong emphasis on wholesome and traditional recipes. In addition to this sort of busy activity, the kitchen takes one night a month to cook a big meal for whoever wants to come (and, of course, pay). The meal happens at the kitchen, and draws all sorts of eaters from the bay area… and I guess as far as New York.

Fresh as can be succotash.

Fresh as can be succotash.

The dinner I ate was meant to be a summer barbecue. Deviled eggs were followed by all cornmeal cornbread, and a main course of barbecue ribs with a side of corn and white bean succotash… topped with homemade sour cream. Of course there were also homemade baked beans and sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was especially delicious, spicy and sour and easy to eat. Desert was (as mentioned) raw milk olive oil ice cream- smooth city- and a delicate melty meringue. Everything was fresh as can be… the chicken farmers that provided the eggs were actually sitting at my table.

Perhaps even better than the food was the sense of community. I know it was The Bay, but I couldn’t believe how nice everyone was, especially the owners of Three Stone Hearth themselves. In the middle of the meal I felt a tap on my shoulder only to turn around and see one of the owners, Larry Wisch. We chatted for a good long while about New York, and issues facing cooperative businesses, and, you know, Judaism. After the meal I found Jessica right behind me, eating hers. I didn’t want to bother her eating, but I wanted to tell her how much I appreciated the work she was doing. I found myself instantly welcomed by her- she was eager to speak to me about her background and how she got to where she was.

Being there, with all those strange California types (no offense intended, of course), I became very interested in what a similar dinner would look like in New York. Maybe I will have to find out.

The whole meal also had me thinking about my little point system. The whole thing was neither here nor there regarding points… everything could be eaten with moderation from the pointless sauerkraut to the point-rich pork ribs… but on the whole it’s not a meal I would have just eaten freely. But I did eat it freely. And that felt pretty good.

I think the secret here is, the meal was made with the health of ALL our systems in mind. There’s our personal body system, the ecological system that produced the food, and the system of our community and our relationships to each other. How could one not leave feeling taken care of and extremely healthy? I have long thought about taking care in this way, but it is hard to enact it in my everyday city life. I can’t help but think though, that if I could do that, it would be possible to consume foods I currently think of as kind of verboten (like corn bread and deviled eggs) without stressing about what it’s doing to my point system. That’s something to explore.

Since this entry is more of a review, I don’t have a personal recipe to include. But I will offer this link to the recipe section of Jessica’s web site. I highly reccomend them.

Honey. Butter.

Honey. Butter.

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