Sunday, November 26, 2006

Brunch Encounter. Ever wonder what meals are like in a commune or intentional community? I was fortunate enough to be invited by a couple friends to the Oakland Morehouse for brunch on Saturday to experience their hospitality myself. Who could resist a meal in a big purple house? And never having been inside such a community, I was curious as to what it would be like.

First, the kitchen is HUGE and brightly and cheerfully colored. There were two large gas stoves and three ovens. Alas, there was no dishwasher other than the community members, but it makes for a gathering place to clean up and socialize as dishes are washed, dried and put away. But I get ahead of myself. When I arrived the cooking was in full swing, with a huge pot of potatoes pre-boiled and ready for chopping into pieces for two huge iron fry pans and a wok to make home fries which would go with the scrambled egg burritos that Julianne and house father David are attending to in the photo above. Two dozen eggs were scrambled for the 13-odd brunchers expected, mostly those who lived there. Hunter also came in and basted two turkeys in the oven which would be part of the meal as well.

Everything was assembled and strategically placed on the long table, and was ready to eat, so a final call was made upstairs and down so everyone could gather and enjoy the feast. What happened after that occurred more like a bed and breakfast setting rather than a family sit down. People meandered down on their own schedule and rotated through the table, some becoming more engaged in group discussion than others. Apparently, the same as with nuclear families, the modern pace has taken its toll on eating together regularly. People pretty much come and make their own food and eat alone or in small groups from the communal supplies, and they may supplement them with things they also buy and label as their own. But today was an occasion when all came together, more or less. It was a friendly, convivial place and a nice occasion to enjoy. And the scrambled egg burritos were fabulous.

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