Working in the kitchen this year has been super fun and exciting!!!
We have learned so much about growing and cooking organic food and most of all building community. Our time in the kitchen has certainly taught us a lot of things, for example making the most of what you have and using the pantry and gardens to their fullest potential. Some days we just rolled with the punches and made some of the best meals out of the simplest ingredients. Sometimes we washed too many dishes or stayed too late, and even cursed the one burner stove. However at the end of the day we ate in good company, which made it all worthwhile.
While strolling through the gardens and watching everything grow one of the best things about being in the kitchen was eating and cooking the apples in the fall and the lemons in the winter. Picking and eating the berries off the vine was also the best. I even started a love/hate relationship with the mustard greens in the B-quad, for they had showcased far too many times in our meals. I learned about picking different varieties of lettuce, watching the garlic grow, and I also became quite fond of the calendula petals that adorned our lovely organic salads. I even discovered new spices, herbs and the magic of Kaffir lime leaves for curry-based dishes. I learned new recipes, such as Greek Dolmas and Erica’s famous peanut butter dressing, though sadly I can never seem to get it to taste like hers. Other great uses in the garden were the green tomatoes from summer harvest that were cooked into a lovely plant-based chili. The solar oven was also a favorite cooking instrument in which we made various kinds of vegan cookies.
Learning about our food systems and where our food comes from has taught me to really appreciate the labor, time, and effort to plan out the PICA gardens. Events such as the Food Justice Fair and cooking for the Annie Leonard Luncheon were also both memorable highlights and honors which I will always treasure. Most of all, I have enjoyed working in the kitchen this year laughing with folks, meeting new people, and making lifelong friends who share the same interests of making and breaking bread together.
I am ever so thankful for working with Mira and the leadership crew this year, for they have taught me so much. I hope to continue to support PICA and make it the best sustainable intentional community for years to come.
May we all continue to share our knowledge and carry a little PICA with us wherever we go!
Saturday Community Meals Coordinator