Supper Club 5: Pasta Night
Towards the end of last growing season, Danny W. and I energized ourselves through conversations about the coordination of free community meals. Up and down the fields we would trek — yanking irrigation lines from tangled messes of stalky, skeletal plant remains, while flushing out the details of aesthetic, service style, philosophy, and volunteer force — working ourselves into an energetic frenzy as the details granularized in our minds and mouths.
Five months later, a series of community meals called Supper Club has been born and taken on a personality all its own. Once night each month, a ragtag crowd of folks meets up in a church basement and does some renegade cheffing, often under the influence of old-school hip hop and coffee. We cook what’s free: vegetables we’d preserved from the farm last year, extras graciously donated from farming friends, cheese block ends from Feltz’s, and Stevens Point Area Coop spoilage. Each month, the food rolls in from different directions, the generation of ideas disperses, and we somehow pull off feasts of prolific flavor and plenitude, at little to no cost. Come who may; they all get their share of wonderful food and wholesome community.
As we reach the bottoms of our freezers, however, the fare for each month becomes increasingly uncertain, adding a touch of spontaneity to the already erratic affair. Earlier this month, Nick from Sky View Pasta contacted Kelly about “twisting some tortellini” for us, and she’d enthusiastically agreed; setting the stage for a Supper Club pasta night.
The day came, and we were setting up the kitchen when Nick arrived — riding his customary tide of gusto, and escorting an impressive assortment of stainless steel pasta paraphernalia. Within minutes, he had a table of helpers kicking out trays of fresh pastas of varying colors and shapes. I was taken by the spectacle; lost in observation when my pointlessness was interrupted by Melissa H.
“What should I work on?”
“Wanna make Vegan Buttercup Squash Sauce?”
“Sure, where’s the recipe?”
“Oh man; I’m kind of nervous now. How should I make it?”
Melissa H. is the real deal, and knew what she had to do. She jumped into her station next to Kelly on tomato sauce and Lorenzo on baked mac, and we found our flow over the backdrop of some Tribe Called Quest grooves. Monica and Danny set up tables and beverages, and a chaotic composition ensued — directed by the energy of the seemingly friendly ghost who takes up residence in the basement of Frame Presbyterian.
At some point in the madness, the dining room filled with families and friends and children; laughter and conversation. At some point, Kelly, from her dishwashing station, garnered our attention for a series of technical recycling demonstrations featuring the tin can. At some point, Fanni pulled two sensually arousing trays of sourdough cinnamon rolls from the oven for dessert. At some point, Melissa H. met my eye and drew my attention to a tiny little girl in a tiny little kittycat backpack, toddling through the kitchen, slowly and certainly navigating the maze of adult legs; looking up occasionally to lay her huge, questioning eyes on whomever happened to luck on glancing down. At some point Nick made his seventh and final formal exit, and the rest of our guests gradually followed suit. At some point it was just Danny W., Fanni, Melissa H., Kelly and I, putting the finishing touches on the kitchen cleaning, basking in the glow of another meal well-served.