I had a lovely summer vacation. Complete with my adorable parents (Zeus and Demeter) and my sweetest nephew visiting and plenty of fantastic time outdoors, with good food, sunshine and heat.
The apex of all this fun was Slow Food Columbus‘s Shake the Hand that Feeds You out at Flying J Farm. Longtime readers of this blog will know that I dearly love the farmer, Dick Jensen, and his organic, grass-fed cattle in Johnstown, Ohio. And the dinner that the Slow Food Chapter plans every year out there is truly the best food event in the city, bar none. It was, in fact, one of the main catalysts for me starting this blog.
This year, the Caskey family from Skillet commandeered the farm kitchen to turn out mouth-wateringly delicious courses. Sous vide beef tongue, anyone? Please, sir, I want some more. Demeter managed to score seconds. Lucky. Nicolene Schwartz custom created the Flying J, an OYO vodka based cocktail with quick pickled peppers and tomatoes from the farm. All the vegetables for the dinner were harvested earlier that day, from the fields at the farm, by wonderful SFC volunteers.
The tables groaned under wildflower bouquets, homemade pickles of all kinds (wasabi green beans, dill pickles, chow chow), candles, oodles of wine and chilly Columbus Brewing Company beers. We even had a buttery, whole-roasted, whey-fed pig course. Did you know that comes right after dinner? Right before dessert. Of hand cranked Snowville Creamery ice cream with roasted peaches and balsamic. Ice cream churned by happy children that spent the rest of their time playing chase in the meadows, petting ponies and the donkey, messing with a farm cat and feeding the farm dog under the table.
There wasn’t an unhappy creature in the whole bunch. Laughter spilled over the hill and up to the barns. Friends crowded around the table to share a meal, a laugh and a glass (or two?) of wine, a sip (or three?) of pawpaw-cello and connect over the importance of food in our lives. It is what not only feeds us, but sustains us and connects us all.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was perfect.
Playlist included Summer, by Buffalo Tom.