Wednesday, March 30, 2011

After a year...

I've been so dilatory over the past few months that I hardly know where to begin catching up. So I've decided that the best thing to do is not to try to catch up but just to go on from here. So that's what I'm doing!

First, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has been part of this project over the past year. I continue to be moved and humbled by your energy, your generosity, and the creative and joyful spirit you bring to this endeavor. It's been a privilege to share these experiences with you all—and I look forward to many more such days of grace…

And now for an update on some practical matters: in January, several of us got together to make plans for this coming year. In particular, we wanted to discuss our finances, which have been unpredictable and have depended on the attendance in a given month.
  • Our solution was that those who wanted—and were able—to do so would commit to contributing a certain amount per month to this project, whether they joined the cooking party that month or not. And, when possible, they would donate in advance. Several people wrote checks for 6 months' worth of contributions, which has provided the project with a sort of endowment. In addition, my sister and brother-in-law made a generous donation, which allowed me to buy some big mixing bowls and an extra-large skillet (hooray!)—and to help with the cost of food. This means that I can now make a budget and plan ahead more easily. Many thanks to everyone for their generosity and support of this project!
  • If you would like to support A Common Table with an advance donation, I'll be happy to take your money! :) But if this is not feasible for you, I hope you will continue to participate in whatever way is comfortable. I don't want monetary considerations to keep anyone away: I'm so thankful for whatever support you're able to share—financial or otherwise.
  • Lina Avidan has kindly done some research with the IRS and learned more about how to make our donations tax-deductible, and I'll include her materials in my next invitation email.
We also discussed menu ideas in our meeting and agreed that repeating successful dishes and/or menus was perfectly acceptable—and I got a few new ideas. I will continue to do the menu planning and shopping, but I will also try to solicit ideas further in advance, so there's time for people to make suggestions.

I have posted all the cooking dates for the rest of the year (see sidebar). In general, we are meeting the first Sunday of every month—except for July and September, when we're meeting on the second Sunday. Hope to see you at a Common Table gathering very soon!