I called Erika a “tart”.

And fortunately, despite her low pH, she didn’t take offense. How can I get away with such a thing?

I used to see Erika daily when she lived in my neighborhood, and we’d talk on the phone more often than was normal. We supported each other (her supporting me was the more likely scenario) in all sorts of crazy adventures. I met her first at church when I was 9 months pregnant with my first kid, and in that short conversation she offered to throw me a baby shower. Who does that? So when Somer told me Erika was sick this week, I was a bit annoyed – annoyed that I couldn’t help her. And really annoyed that she had just brought me some beautiful orange flowers and some sweet orange oil to make me feel better.

On Tuesday night Somer texted me to see if she could steal my Wednesday and post, and I couldn’t help but be grateful. When I told her we were sick, dinner showed up the next morning – granted, she wouldn’t touch us, but she brought us yummy, healthy dinner and it was the first meal I’d had in three days that I could actually eat. And then she told me, “We sisters, without family nearby, we have to take care of each other.”

I get random calls, texts and emails from these lovely women just to see how I am, or to share a funky new recipe they tried and loved, or to vent about something annoying that happened in their day. We split co-op orders, watch each others kids (or get together for lunch and ignore the kids hoping they haven’t destroyed anything), and laugh when it seems the only other choice is to cry.

Sometimes I get distracted and think this whole blog experience is about food and about getting ourselves “out there” to share with the blogosphere some radical and genius creation.

But it’s not. Because really, this incarnation of GCF was started to share recipes and ideas, and support each other as we ventured into plant-based (and totally counter-culture) goodness. See, we’re not radicals, punks, legitimate hippies, or even very edgy. I mean, let’s be honest – I’m a (non-practicing) lawyer married to an engineer and LDS Bishop with three kids, a minivan and a mortgage. So what if my hair is short and sometimes I wear funky clothes? I’m still plain (real, fair trade, organic and yummy) vanilla Jane, and to enter a world without hamburgers and pot roasts was going to require cheerleaders and support.

And yet, I’ve been annoyed at what seems to be this crazy preoccupation with food. It’s everywhere. We have whole channels and millions of websites dedicated to recipes and chefs and cooking skills. In my humble opinion, I think it’s distracting us from what we really NEED from our culinary experience.

I love when Barbara Kingsolver and other writers talk about creating a food culture. About how eating is so, so much more than just calories in. It’s even more than creating a visual and delicious masterpiece to post on a blog so others can see how cool we were this week. It’s not just creating that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving dinner complete with smiles and a squishy grandmother. It’s about community, about bringing life and love together, about healing and creation and gratitude for the bounty and blessings God gives us, and about helping each other through really, really, really hard weeks. Like this one.

Life won’t get easier, because that is what life is for, to refine us. I’m just grateful that we won’t have to do it alone and that in this little corner of the world, we’ve done something a little bit right in creating a beautiful and welcoming community that maybe, just maybe spills over a little into that great wide world.

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5 thoughts on “I called Erika a “tart”.

  1. There is no ‘love’ button. How fortunate and wonderful you are to have and maintain such a supportive and healthy group.

  2. You’ve saved my plant based butt more times than I could count. I often call you or Erika instead of my mom or sisters because I’ve entered a realm that they really don’t understand and more importantly, I know that you’ve both got my back, regardless of what I’m dealing with. Thanks for sharing this little bit of beauty. Xoxo.

  3. All is I can say is that I’m grateful for your community sisters when I’m so many 100s of miles away. I don’t have the luxury of being present when you need, so I try really hard to be that community sister to others around here. Always something to give, and always something to receive, and all I can do is hope the ripples reach out to where you are.

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