Reflections on the June Community Dinner with Westside Moravian Church

What is community? This question was at the heart of a community dinner hosted by the Bethlehem Food Co-Op last month in conjunction with Westside Moravian Church. 

18789752_1372145289539108_252825113_o.jpgWhat is community? This question was at the heart of a community dinner hosted by the Bethlehem Food Co-Op last month. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 25 people came to the Westside Moravian Church in West Bethlehem to share stories of their communities while learning to cook an internationally inspired summer meal.

In a bustling kitchen, about a dozen participants learned from and taught one another how to create a cool raw beet salad, or a simple summer cucumber salad, cook a north Indian chicken korma, and a sweet potato flatbread, which puffed up gloriously over the hot grates of the grill. Cooks shared tips about how to prepare a dough or use jicama, and shared stories about the ways food affects our individual and collective lives.

Some came to cook, some to watch, others came for dinner bringing along deserts and sides. Over sweet macaroons and Monocacy Coffee, conversation moved to commentary on how neighborhoods have changed, how community is built through cooperation, and how our social connections are sometimes shaped by geography, and sometimes by interests that bring together people who might not otherwise run into each other because they live in different neighborhoods, different cities, indeed different countries.18901394_1372145172872453_1690555632_o.jpg

An eight-year-old boy asked how long it will take before communities can get along. It was a difficult question, but it perhaps points to the importance of events like this, that bring together people to talk about their lives and experiences and the power of food to build and nourish communities.

This was the second community dinner and is part of a collaboration between the Bethlehem Food Co-Op and the Westside Moravian Church. The next event is being planned for this fall.

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