I'm thinking about doing a monthly stew night. I make stew a lot, like once a week or more. I think that cooking in water is a good idea. I think that cooking things for a long time is a good idea. I have a sensitive stomach, a sensitive digestive tract, and eating foods that are thoroughly cooked--that works for me. If you've ever made or have eaten Chinese rice porridge, you might know that the medicinal, healing value of it increases as it cooks longer. (Not that I'm opposed to raw fruits, or lightly steamed veggies--I eat like that, too).
Stew is so basic, and yet so magical. I also, conceptually, really like casseroles. I just haven't made them as much. And most of the ones I've made in the past involved wheat, so I just haven't adapted them to gluten-free ingredients. But I digress. I love stew. I know that Plains Indians (Plains Native Americans? Gosh, I learned this when I was a kid, living on the Plains, where Cheyenne, Pawnee, Arapaho and Comanche and others used to roam free...) used to heat up rocks in the fire and put them into the bag (stomach, maybe, or perhaps bladder. I can't remember) where there was water and pieces of presumably buffalo meat and other ingredients. The hot rocks made the water boil. They made stew, out on the Plains. Before Meeker came and tried to enslave them and make them Christians, so they killed him and his family, and then the Cavalry massacred them, the local Native Peoples, and the Meeker home became a lame-ass museum. I digress again.
But maybe not. Stew makes me think, makes me take meandering thought trips. Sometimes I even talk to other people. It happens. I do have a life outside of random hipmama posts.
I used to have this friend, I'll call her Lolo Shantung, because that was her stage name. She lived in small, mustard yellow, corrugated metal sided warehouse space in the serious 'hood in Oakland. A part of town called Ghost Town, made semi-famous in this blog: http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/ and this book: http://www.amazon.com/Farm-City-Education-Urban-Farmer/dp/1594202214 (in which Lolo makes an appearance, but I do not). She was a vegan, avante-garde puppeteer. She's not vegan anymore, and I don't know what kind of performance art she does anymore, because she moved away. Anyway, for a couple of years or so, every Wednesday, in her loft space that smelled like dive bar+dog poop+guinea pig bedding, with walls painted blood red and midnight blue, we sat on chairs spray-painted gold, drank two-buck Chuck, talked about Art and Mystery and Great Things, until Lolo would break out her concertina, and we would all file up the incredibly scary and unsafe stairs to the upper part of the loft, and anyone who wanted to could do whatever kind of cabaret act that they wanted to. Country cowboy music? Chinese opera version of "Happy Birthday"? Acoustic punk? Hip-hop dance? Poetry? Reading out-loud part of the book you're writing? Storytelling? Anything! It was weird and wonderful and awesome. I just ran into a lovely woman at Blood, Bath and Beyond whom I met at "Blue Wednesday" years ago. We talked about how fun it was, and how we wish that Lolo hadn't flipped out and moved away.
A once-a-week gig is hard to keep up with.
So, I'm in the "thinking about it" stage of maybe, maybe having a once-a-month Stew Night. Invitation only. I'm thinking 8-12 guests (I'll take suggestions from any of you who have dinner parties). A different stew each month.....and.....a discussion topic. So each person gets an invite, and if they accept, then I tell them the topic to think about or read about, or however they choose to approach it. And we have stew and talk about Art and Mystery and Great Things. The tentative name for the event is "Stew on This!".