I don't get out as much as I used to, though by many people's standards, I still am out and about more than most. (Except, perhaps, my friend Ronn, who makes normal social butterflies look like homebody moths.) Okay, so I like exploring DC. It's not all happy hours and late nights of salsa dancing. This past Tuesday I participated in my first National Night Out -- an annual event whereby local police departments all around the country organize family-friendly events (usually featuring a band, some informational booths, food, a moonbounce, and if you're lucky, as I was, some poor fellow dressed up as McGruff the Crime Dog). In my case, I was helping out at the GrowingSOUL/Crossroads Market tent at the Takoma Park Night Out. My task: cooking demos. Oh, goodie....
While the live band got cranking, folks of all ages and colors wandered by to see what I was up to. Some timidly asked if they could try making a small jar of kale/collard kim chi, others sauntered up and reached right into the big bowl of tomato corn salad I was offering (made with some of the gorgeous tomatoes that Crossroads had for sale). Especially fun were the kids who walked past a few times and then couldn't resist coming over and trying their hand at mashing up the ginger, garlic, hot peppers, and leafy greens with salt to make small jars of kim chi to take home. Some of them really got into it. So did my compatriots from GrowingSOUL and Crossroads. We went through a good 6 or 8 bunches of greens and many, many old spaghetti jars.
Somewhere along the line, a random guy (I'm pretty sure he was sober) wandered up and without asking reached into the display kim chi jar and ladled a few forkfuls onto his hotdog. I was speechless, as much from the lack of asking "Do you mind if I take some of this?" as the idea of adding this totally organic, fermented food to what is widely regarded by most as nitrate-laced, ground up pig lips. Then, I'm not going to lie, Jessica and I ran to get our own hotdogs and try out the kim chi on top.
Yep, like I said, I'm no purist.
I would say that the evening went really well. Lots of folks went home with new recipes and fresh, local produce (made even more affordable by Crossroads' Fresh Checks) and fermented goodies. Not a bad night out.
And, okay, for those who complain that there are no photos of me on this blog -- ahem, mom -- here's one for you: