A Meal For New Beginnings

Maybe it’s just clever marketing, but I am starting to believe the hype: maybe 2009 is the start of something grand.  Right now our economy is in the tank, we are at war, and the ranks of the jobless swell every day.  The experts say 2009 is the year that we pay for the excesses of the past.  As a world we’ve got real comfortable with greed and overindulgence, but it didn’t make us happy.  It got us into a mess.

But there’s reason to hope.  Some people point to a new president and a new attitude in the White House, but I’ve noticed there is something going on that is far more grassroots.  Not only do people seem to be more willing to work smarter, but they seem to want to work greener, cleaner, happier, healthier, friendlier, and with deeper passion for what is truly important.  The change is inspiring.

It is in this spirit of hope and renewal that I would have my ultimate meal.  I would invite several couples and single friends to my table with the ultimate goal of sparking thoughts of four different types of renewal:

1. Culinary

I start with the culinary part because it is both the most and least important part of the occasion.  It provides the context to come together, but it is just the springboard for something more enduring.  To make sure that the food sparks the renewal, I would make it completely vegan.  Even the wine.

Most of the people I would invite have never had a completely vegan meal, but after the evening, they would see how unnecessary it is to have meat to eat well.

2. Social

I would invite my best friend in the world who is about to embark on a new journey: he is getting married.

I would also invite my other best friend, whose divorce is almost finalized.  I think he needs to be reminded that as he starts his life over, he is still loved.

I would also invite 2 new couples who have just recently become friends so that we could know them better.

3. Spiritual

The new friends are from a church we have recently joined so I would hope we could gain a greater understanding of God as we journey together.  It would be interesting because we have friends (who we would invite) who are atheists.  I wouldn’t, however, bring up religion until after dinner when everyone is in a food coma.

4. Ecological

Lastly, 2009 is the year we need to get past “green” as a marketing tactic and starting doing something about it.  There is good data to suggest eating an animal-free diet helps the environment.  I might mention this during dinner.

It sounds heavy, but I would keep the tone light with local wine, sustainable beer, and a five course menu of my own devising: an appetizer, a soup, a salad, an entree, and then a vegan dessert from the best vegan baker in the world (that would be my wife.)

After that we would sip sustainable fair trade coffee and talk.  I’m not going to try to guide that conversation, but I would hope we could discuss what 2009 means for us.  At the very least, having several people in the room from different backgrounds with plenty of wine would make for some interesting sharing.

And that, after all, should be the result of any dinner party.

Thanks for the pic kI-Ga.

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