A little insight into our bi-weekly staff lunches that we take turns cooking and make us very happy.
We get a lot of questions about our Tuesday/Thursday lunch tradition: Why do you do it? Who cooks? How do you pay for it? Can I have the recipe?? We have high hopes for a printed cookbook one day (What’s up, Phaidon?). But, until that dream is realized, we think that a blog featuring the myriad delish meals our pottery team cooks up each week will be a fantastic appetizer. So here's a little insight into how we do these lunches.
We’ve waxed poetic about our love of shared meals in the East Fork universe many times, but to be fair, we are in the dinnerware business, so we're probably not stopping anytime soon. You can mount a plate on the wall as decor, but doesn’t it look glorious topped with a thick slab of bechamel-y lasagna? Food is intrinsically spun into our company, because our product is meant to hold it, and because all of us love to eat it. On a deeper level, and probably like most of you, we feel held together by the emotional glue that food is to our community, both intimately and at large.
Eating with friends is a solidifying experience, and while it obviously stokes feelings of connectedness and belonging, it also provides a space for meaningful conversation to happen at the pace of draining a bottle of a wine— a really good pace if you ask us. Ok, so we don’t drink wine at lunch, but we do allocate about an hour midday for discussing electrifying landmarks in our week like the crazy zumba class someone took at the Y, or the possum that snuck into Zoe's kitchen the night before. We also have been playing some lively games of euchre!
How do we do these lunches? Well, twice a week, we gather as a team around our very long table, to enjoy a special meal prepared by two volunteers from any staff team. Our highly elegant organizational system is just an open sign-up sheet in the office. This is where the daring jot down their chosen recipe, and multiply the list of ingredients by around 10 to feed our family of 40. Once it’s set in stone, Jo, our Executive Coordinator, hits the grocery store and gathers the necessary ingredients. The budget is about $4 per person, or about $150 total, with a little wiggle room. Cooking for a large crowd on a budget is a fun challenge, especially when you get to do it in a professional kitchen.
When we built the factory, a commercial grade kitchen was always part of the plan. Way back when, lunches on the farm were cooked in a humble house kitchen (for a team of under 10) as a vital part of the agenda. Keeping that tradition alive was a must, so we knew a good stove and a big sink was a priority. We all take turns doing the dishes, too! It’s a real family affair around here, with people helping in rotation, so no job ever feels like too much.
Of course, nobody has to cook, but for a lot of us, a brief intermission from the computer or jigger to chop 12 onions and sweat over a 16 quart stock pot of tomato sauce is actually quite nice. It breaks up the day and it’s weirdly therapeutic to feed everyone. Anyway, as we continue to cook these big lunches for ourselves, we’ll start letting you in on the action by posting these recipes. You can find them all, here. Time for lunch!