1989 Virtual Dinner

Inspired Dinners

By Misti Alders ’89 & Aaron Dallas ‘89

We all need inspiration. When you know the word literally means “breathe (life) into,” it acquires an additional profundity. For my son, growing up, his inspiration always seemed to be his next meal. He had an intense, and constant, need to know which and what that meal would be, as well as at what time he should be at the table.

Copper Cork Cookery took on a defined shape less than six months ago. The concept: to provide a unique opportunity for friends, couples, family, classmates, co-workers, and other groups to make and cook a meal together while bridging miles, time zones, and social distancing confines; to come back to the kitchen, and the table, together. It is the idea of the “family dinner” merged with an “ideal dinner party”—you have all of the social delight and conversation without any of the stress and mess associated. When you add in the common realities of today—that we go to college, marry, move, start work, move, change professions, separate/divorce, look for a (new) partner, and move again—forming relationships becomes a challenge, and maintaining long term relationships can be even harder. Add in the social distancing requirements of the pandemic, or even the limited utilities access we have faced this winter, and it is soberingly hard now to have a worthwhile socially and emotionally balanced life. Copper Cork spans these challenges and fulfills our need for connection (and food!).

On a seemingly ordinary Sunday at the end of February, a group from the Class of 1989 gathered on a Zoom call with the pretense of making a Chilean Pastel de Choclo and Ensalada de Cebolla to truly (re-)connect and have a fun time together. Despite Wi-Fi signal glitches and no access to water, Peter (and Robyn Russell ’88) Stout joined to touch base, laugh, and watch; Emily Hobbs Wright ‘89 also dropped in to chat and partake in the lively exchange. The other dinner guest chefs were Srael and Nicole Boruchin, Lisa Grout Cabot and her husband Len, Michael Garnsey, Michael Lazarus, Michele Forstot Nadel with sous chef husband Darren, and Melanie Schutt. We literally spanned the continent with participants in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, New York, and Texas! It was magical. When the Pastel was cooked, we sat down to eat together, and undoubtedly wondered silently, while talking, if each of us was the only one to have undergone an out-of-body experience. How was it possible that the food we were eating was created, constructed, and built with our own hands?

We have enjoyed the steadily increasing numbers of CA alumni who have joined us for dinner, along with spouses, other family members, and friends from our “other worlds” outside of CA. There is something blatantly glorious about creating a meal someone else will enjoy with you, something utterly addictive about having one less meal to plan each week, and not having to think as you chop, mix, and cook. Join us! You are invited.

[Misti Alders is the Chief Creative Officer of Copper Cork Cookery, which she founded in November 2020 after taking a leap of faith to prioritize family and move across country. Aaron Dallas is the Moral Support Officer.]