Friday, July 20, 2007

Minor Set Back

I'm afraid we're having to cancel a Full Belly event. :(

I guess there has to be a first time for everything. Too many schedules to accommodate, and last second changes. It just made more sense to postpone the Mid-Summer French-Moroccan Feast and turn it into a Fall event instead. This is especially sad for Olaiya since it was her favorite menu going into the season. The good news is that it frees me up to spend time with my father, who is visiting for a week from Mexico.

I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to connect with Women for Women before the August Barbecue and maybe even have a sponsor sister to talk about! We should have enough funds already raised to begin the process.

I read this pair of connected quotes yesterday and thought of the FBP:

"If you eat well, you must speak well" - Yoruba proverb
"The ancient Africans taught that if a person is good to you, you must forever speak good of them... In order to keep the good flowing, you must speak of it... Everything we receive in life is food for your growth. If we eat from the plate, we must give thanks. Remembering, without that food, at that time, we may have starved." - Ivanla Vanzant

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dinner Part Deux

The second Full Belly Dinner was a privately arranged affair. Last night, we hosted a trio of couples from Jewish Family Service, where I work. The eight of us enjoyed a fantastic four course meal... and I think we kept several participants up past their bedtime.

Of special note: At both of our events thus far, someone has pitched in more than the requested fee after eating the dinner. Thank you to those kind souls, and I'm glad you felt moved after enjoying the evening and Olaiya's great cooking!

Gary, Mary and Bonnie enjoying a pomegranate cava cocktail.

Then the appetizers came out... a cheese course featuring an aged manchego and a
Viegadarte goat cheese accompanied by quince paste, spiced marcona almonds, and a sherry reduction.

The second course was an arugula salad with dates, almonds, shaved parmesan and oranges.

The whole gang: Gary, Mary, Bonnie, Steve, Lani and Scott.

The entree was a potato and chorizo (for the omnivores) stuffed red pepper served on a bed of kale braised with raisins, garlic and lemon.

And we finished with this sweet treat: Decadent chocolate syrup over homemade pistachio ice cream.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

How Cool is This?!

Olaiya and I got an unexpected and unsolicited email from Women for Women today:

Hi John and Olaiya,

We here at Women for Women International were passed along your blog about your fantastic dinner. We wanted to say thank you for your generosity. We also wanted to let you know that if you want any materials on the program at your dinners we would be happy to provide them. You are doing a great service and our women across the world appreciate it.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Teisha G.
Women for Women International

I'm not sure how they heard about our project, but I think it's awesome that they emailed us in support. Maybe we'll have pamphlets at the next event!

I did try Googling "The Full Belly" just to check if we could be found on a websearch. Turns out that our blog does show up... but I also found out that there's another outfit that goes by the name, The Full Belly. They're an east coast outfit trying to end world hunger. I wish them all the luck in the world, and hope they don't get pissed that we accidentally stole their name. 'Course, if they wanna rumble, we'll throw down on those hippy tools. Late Edit: Their lawyers get paid more than ours. We're changing our name. :(

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Dinner is Served!

Saturday night witnessed the Full Bellied birth of our project! Our apartment had been filled with salivating smells all day long, and around 7:30 we finally had a house full of great people to eat with. We hosted my basketball buddy John B and his lovely wife Cathy, high school chum Andres, former roommate and massage diva Diane, Stave It Off Science Officer Alex Tokar and our Frenchy neighbor Carole, who also served as entertainment for the evening. Our mission was accomplished as we cleared our first $100 that will go toward Women for Women sponsorships!

Here are some pictures of food and friends. I hope all the attendees will give us helpful feedback and spread the word about our events. Thank you all for coming and making this thing work.

Champagne cocktails with cherry

The festive kick-off toast with many thanks given

An appetizing cold soup of cucumber, melon, yogurt and mint

The asparagus and morels served over toasted baguette was gone too fast to photograph it! Just caught Carole enjoying the last of the creamy shallot sauce.

The main entree: a handmade beet ravioli garnished with mint and browned butter... it was amazing.

Alex, Cathy and John enjoying the wine and conversation

Olaiya spies the table from the kitchen... John B, Carole and Andres; and the backs of Cathy and Alex.

O was plating the dessert, a cherry frangipane tart, served with homemade creme fraiche ice-cream.

With the wine flowing, we stayed up laughing and talking late into the evening