Food events build community. It’s not the only way to do it but it’s one that works, from church suppers to wedding receptions to family reunions to birthday parties and more. Workplaces have them, too, and mine seems to have more than its fair share. We have them at the department level to celebrate birthdays or say goodbye to graduating students … at the library level to honor new or departing staff or mark holidays … and at the school level, too, now. We sit and talk and visit with each other while we are eating, we mingle across departments and share news and tidbits about our lives, both personal and professional. The university even has a big winter holiday party for everyone, but we won’t go into that one now.
There was a school-wide BBQ out on the lawn next to our building today at lunch, sort of an end-of-summer-before-the-students-come- back thing. It was a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky with a hot sun beating down. Theoretically things ran from 12-2 but in our building, everyone is on time for food events (we have lots of them through the year) and my guess is that not much was left by 1:00. Even if it was, I wouldn’t want to eat mayonnaise-based salad that had been baking in the hot sun that long.
Food choices have gotten moderately more healthy over the years if you look for options. There were big cookie-cutter-perfectly round veggie burgers that were bigger than hockey pucks in addition to regular burgers and hotdogs, with those little bitty ears of corn, salad, and potato salad. Drinks were some weird kind of pink drink that we used to call bug juice at camp (I didn’t have any) or water. And there were cookies and ice cream that melted as fast as it was dished out.
I had a veggie burger on a roll with tomato, one little bitty ear of corn, and two cherry tomatoes. And two tiny cookies for dessert. Good thing, too, because there was cake back in the office to celebrate someone’s birthday – fortunately only a small one-layer cake, since people had eaten a lot already. But we believe in celebrating b’days and a tiny piece of it won’t kill me, and I did count it. Tomorrow is another event, a last pizza party with our departing boss. Let’s hope I can make the points last without getting into trouble.