In the Cuisine en Locale kitchen, we like to make up words. Who doesn’t? Sometimes you just can’t find the word to say something the way you want to say it, and the remarkable computer that is the brain can twist an idea you already recognize and rebuild it. Such is locavore, not that we made it up, it’s just a good example. It’s a real word, you know, in the dictionary and everything. It tells you what it is, even though it is rather odd sounding. In the kitchen, on Weds night, we decided to call our brand new vegetarian ONCE a Week offering “Vegevore”. We like it. It is sort of like Omnivore, which is what we call the meat inclusive share. I hope it sticks.
I don’t know if the way our kitchen works would be right for anyone but us, but we really like it, and I often think that I wish I could share a fly-on-the-wall spot with you. When we start on Monday (ONCE a Week Omnivore day) we pull out all the food we have gathered over the weekend, and then we menu plan. That means a couple of experienced cooks standing about and pulling amazing dish ideas out of the sky. It’s really lovely sometimes, one person throws out an idea, another grabs on and bends it, and the third garnishes, and in the end it is a unique dish, probably one we have never done before and most likely won’t do again. We continue, building and adjusting. Each menu grows, organically, over the first hour we are together, before we pick up knives and lay down cutting boards, until we feel that there are enough choices to make for an interesting and nutritionally well balanced week’s worth of food. Only then do we don our aprons and crank up the tunes.
In the next couple of hours, several pairs of hands wash, chop and peel. Ingredients are broken down, heated up and generally prepped, until we are ready to get to the heart of the matter. And then we cook. And cook. And cook.
The result, as you can imagine, is a LOT of food. That food is cooled, and portioned and put into the walk in refrigerator overnight, all per health code requirements, before it is brought to the week’s members the next day. Each share of that food contain 8-12 different dishes and weigh an average of 9lbs, and those shares are works of art to us. In the time we have spent together prepping and cooking, we have given each dish a piece of experience, care and devotion and when we bring it to the place where it will be enjoyed we leave it with a blessing- for health, and happiness.
After almost a year of going through this process every week, in three different (commercially certified) kitchens, last week we moved to a new home. It is a shared kitchen, and we have a roommate, a lovely guy making Bar-Be-Que, and for the very first time ever we feel like we have a home of our own. This is huge. After crouching under the watching eyes of other kitchens, squeezing in time where we can, we now have the ability to spread our wings and grow. This is the reason we have finally felt like it was possible to start a whole other program, with a whole other cooking team and a whole other pile of ingredients. ONCE a Week Veg is not just another cooking day, it is a whole other entity- a whole new child to love.
Because there is only one farmers market available to us for picking up essential ingredients, we need to plan as far ahead as possible. And because it is a better deal for you, if you are interested in eating our food this winter, we do encourage you to sign up for our multiple share packages of 4 or 13 shares. This is a process that requires cooperation among the cooks and diners, and we are thrilled to be feeding you. I mean, what could possibly be more important than that?
Thank you for allowing us to grow. Thank you for supporting local food. Thank you for caring about what we do and for continuing to read my endlessly long emails. You can give ONCE a Week shares as gifts, to be scheduled. If you would like to do so, just drop me a line and I’ll help you to set it up.
Actually, just in general, if you want to sign up you can do it through me. Please feel free to pass this along, share the love, spread the word, etc, and so forth. If we are gonna do this, we need to grow is, and your help remains key.
Again, and again, and again- Thank you!
X JJ, Cuisine en Locale and our fave farmers, the Stillman Family