I’ve always loved feeding people. Food is my conduit to pretty much everything. It’s how I relax, it’s when I do my best thinking, it’s how I tell someone I love them and it’s even how I earn my living. If I’m not wearing an oven mitt or wielding a pair of tongs, I start to get a little twitchy. I admit, I was a little nervous about how that would play out in my move to Omaha. I guess I pictured myself judiciously traveling to and from Whole Foods, working on recipes, talking to my cats, watching too much HBO On Demand, and maybe eating at the one vegetarian friendly restaurant in town (alone) every now and again. But I was only 50% right!
I’ve found so much energy here. Fun and creative people, a growing community of vegetarians and vegans, and good food (even a vegan restaurant that opened, and, uh, closed in the past year…but still.)
Doing Four Courses For Causes in Omaha took on a different meaning than meals I’ve served in New York City and Portland, where vegan pizza and local berries rained down from the skies (ouch!) When you’re serving in the shadows of feedlots and GMO corn, a plateful of local greens takes on a new significance. Knowing that this was the first seitan many people have eaten and the only vegan cream to ever pass through their lips, I knew I had to up my game.
But here’s the awesome thing: I didn’t have to do it alone! So many people came together to pull this event off. From the photography studio that generously lent us their space, to the restaurant owners who swooped in and chocolate dipped the strawberries and even cooked the risotto, it truly took a village! Or a moderately sized Midwestern city.
The organization we’re raising money for is pretty inspiring, too. Feline Friendz has a dedicated group of volunteers with a TNR (trap, neuter, release) mission, not to mention adoptions, fostering, and kitty health care. As a certified cat lady, this issue is so important to me, and with the rate that kittens are being bred, feral cat communities are ever expanding. But I do believe that with education and TNR we can bring an end to this in our lifetimes, and these volunteers are dedicating their lives to it. The absolute least I can do is put together a few strawberry shortcakes to help.
So thank you, thank you, thank you! To everyone who attended, to everyone who volunteered and to everyone reading this and making a difference where you live.
And more specifically, thank you: David Radler Studio for the space, Justin Limoges for the beautiful photos, all the volunteers: Tessa, What Cheer! (Denise, John Henry, Annora and Isaiah), Lauren and Dan, Greg, Jessica and Paul, dishwasher extraordinaire John McDevitt (Vegan Omaha) and Renate McDevitt for baking the cookies for the giftbags.
And of course, the local businesses! Blooms, for the precious flowers that graced each table. The small businesses that provided items for our giftbags, which helped to raise some extra cash: Greenstreets Cycles, Caffeine Dreams, Slowdown. Plus, the giftbag from the Omaha Chamber Of Commerce. And, finally, the groceries who provided discounts and donations: Jane’s Health Market and Hyvee.
Here are some photos from the evening (taken by Justin Limoges).