The Worth of Eva and Didi
The Worth of Eva and Didi
It was a day like any other. As I often do, I was cooking dinner in Eva’s crammed kitchen stimulated with dozens of fragrant herbs and greens, using organic but mysterious fridge scraps and infused stocks from her fridge. But this time the dinner was to be served in a fancy home, and they would shell out $5000. The dinner was arranged at an auction fundraiser at Silverbrook Farm in New Bedford. The deal was that Didi would make a an herb-inspired meal and we transport it to the highest bidder's home, and just as dinner is served, Eva arrives into the dining room and eats the meal the party, imparting her wry humor and wit, squeezing in an old song or poem. So the auctioneer walked us down the grass like sacred cattle so everyone could get a closer look. Then he began rattling off prices at 1000 miles per hour. Two couples went head to head, bidding in $200 increments. In a tact for a larger donation, the auctioneer stopped them at $3700 so they could both get dinners from us (w/ our prior consent). One of the parties wanted to double the party size so it came to about $5000. That meant I had to cook two meals and Eva got to enjoy two meals. The money would go to SEMAP, Southern Mass Agricultural Partnership*.
The first was the larger party. It was in Marion MA. The ocean just yards away from the back porch. Our prep person counted 10 sinks on the first floor alone. However the owners/winning bidders were not aware that Eva was going to eat with them at the dining table. So they politely seated her, Eva reminded me of Oliver Twist, with her wild hair, blackened fingernails, stained pants, and t-shirt. Quite a stark contrast to the others adorned in designer clothes and controlled hairdos. The food was pretty tremendous if I may say so. The mashed potatoes with cloumage was a knock-out. Cloumage is from Shy Brother's farm in Westport and is a thick rich farmer’s kind of cheese but with more careful fermentatin and flavor. I made sure that the three of us volunteers in the kitchen ate as well as those who were dining in the next room. Because after all, this was our only payment.
Eva’s Sunflower Pate with Handmade Crackers (she takes an entire organic sunflower, sans leaves, and purees it in Vitamix with stock and oil)
Chilled Melon and Rhubarb Soup
Littlenecks in Sorrel and Allium Infusion
Salad of Coll Walker Tomato and 3 Basils
Greens & Dijon
Jordan Farm Shoulder braised with Beer from Here
Balsamic Roast Sugar Beets, Eva's braised Greens
Fresh Goat Cheese Risotto
Clafoutis of Peach, Berries and Umbels
Anise Hyssop Ice Cream
*All proceeds benefited the highly esteemed SEMAP (Southeast MA Agricultural Partnership) which is partly responsible for our booming local movement. All ingredients used in this dinner were local. SEMAP was started in 1998, and it became the go-to organization helping three large MA counties (including Cape Cod) of farmers navigate the many agencies and organizations that will provide support and resources to farming operations. This has gone a long way as it has helped educate all of us who live in or visit this rapidly growing vibrant farm community. A hundred years ago the main farming focus was dairy farming and aquaculture. Now there are farms that raise anything from Hereford cows, Arapawa goats, and sunchokes to sunflower sprouts, peaches, and Asian pears. The support of SEMAP has only continued the growth and popularity of local farming.