Sitopia. When I first read that word, it sounded a bit like that futuristic version of humanity alla Wall-E, where people are resigned to traveling about in the permanent comfort of their floating, electrically powered arm chairs. Scary, but not altogether implausible. Thankfully, ’tis not so.
The word Sitopia was coined by British author Carolyn Steel in her new book Hungry City, one of the finest tomes (literary anyways) that I’ve consumed in quite some time. Steel looks at food issues from a myriad of different perspectives and comes to the conclusion that what we all need right now is a little bit of sitopia. In her eloquent argument, Steel combines Sitos, the ancient Greek word for ‘food’ with the notion of Utopia, which linguistically means ‘no place’ or ‘good place.’ The idea of Utopia has been bandied about for centuries, millennia even, but as the root of the word itself implies, has never quite taken hold in the real world. In contrast to the unattainable notion of utopia, sitopia is something that we can participate it, and indeed create, through small dealings in our daily lives. Ms. Steel affirms that there are a million ways in which we can fashion our own sitopias, whether we live in the city or in the country, simply by regarding food and our relationship with it (where does it come from? how was it prepared? who did the cooking?) in a more thoughtful way.
It seems to me that one of the finest and most fundamental places to channel a bit of sitopia is around the dinner table. We literally sit there, sharing wonderful food and conversation with the people we love, or with people we are getting to know. The dinner table is a little bit like social super glue, keeping us all connected and moored to each other and to our environments. A pretty good place to be, if you ask me.
So, in celebration of sitopia, Saxelby Cheesemongers says, Hey! Have yourself a dinner party one of these days soon. Invite some folks to gather ’round the table and chew the fat. This Sunday eve, we’ll be having a little supper club sitopia of our own, along with some good friends and fellow food producers at a slightly wacky, yet wonderful space in downtown Brooklyn. The gist is this:
Sunday Supper Club
Sunday, November 9th at 6:00 pm
Featuring a rustic, family-style dinner prepared by GradyWood
Followed by a guided tasting of Saxelby Cheesemongers’ finest autumn cheese
Featuring beverages and accoutrements from a cadre of inspired gastronomic entrepreneurs: condiments from Schoolhouse Kitchen, breads from Hot Bread Kitchen, wines from Uva Wines, and coffee from Crop to Cup.
For reservations ($50) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of people in your party. Ms. Grady will get back to you with all the pertinent details regarding the location of this clandestine supper club. Space is very limited, so the sooner you email, the bettah!