Welcome to Having-Company, a resource for those of us trying to understand and incorporate sustainable practices and principles into our lives. I’m a former attorney who left the law several years ago to open a Chicago-based, boutique catering company, Monogramme Events & Catering, which specializes in seasonable and sustainable cuisine. I’m also the founder and president of a non-profit, Purple Asparagus, dedicated to bringing families back to the table by promoting and enjoying all the things associated with good eating.
Sustainability seems to be on everyone’s tongues these days, everywhere from Wal-Mart to high-end restaurants where chefs name drop farmers like fashion conscious teenagers do with designers. A Google search for the word “sustainable” yields over 100 million hits, many with their own take, particularly when it serves the user’s bottom line. But what is it really? Is sustainability about eating organic? Is it buying local? Or is it incorporating green practices and materials? The definition used most often is meeting today’s needs without compromising those of tomorrow. When it comes right down it, these are all simply part of the same ideal: cultivating meaningful connections of people with one another and with the earth.
There’s no better place to connect with one another than at the table. But, unfortunately, the simple act of having family and friends over for a meal has somehow morphed into the anxiety-inducing “entertaining”. When I was a child, my parents didn’t entertain, they had company. Sometimes we ate in our dining room with good china, other times on our back deck with paper plates. While the meal was important, it was always more about the people at the table than the food on it.
Having company is one of the best ways to introduce sustainability into everyday life. Food can nourish more than our bodies as a thoughtful and well-prepared meal can fill your heart and expand your mind. We all eat, and by sharing food with family and friends, we foster the connections that sustain us. If we prepare meals that respect the seasons and incorporate products that are kind to the environment, we create a bond not only between people, but between people and the earth.
In this resource, I want to inspire people to build and sustain connections within their communities. To do this, I will provide sustainable resources, recipes and information about events and projects in which to become involved. The better connected that we are to one another and to earth, the more likely we’ll take care of each other and it.