Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bonding with Strangers

Nothing pairs as well with good friends as good food. It's also funny how often the two are found together, and in the most unexpected places.

A sudden upsurge to spring-like temperatures (which unfortunately did not last) led me outside to congregate with a few friends from Slackline Pittsburgh over in Oakland. After hanging out (I could not stop the pun) for a few hours, we noticed a group dressed similarly to us setting up shop about 50 yards down the sidewalk. Being the curious group we are, we went to say hello, and were faced with a large amount of food.

The group turned out to be the Pittsburgh chapter of Food Not Bombs, a protest group. The vegetarian/ vegan group collects unmarketable produce from supermarkets and then distributes it out to the community. According to their website:

"Food not Bombs shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty, and the destruction of the environment. With over a billion people going hungry each day how can we spent another dollar on war?"

Personally, I'm not that political (I think politics just gets in the way of things.) so I have a tendency to just go with the flow and deal with people. The people with the Pittsburgh chapter seem very friendly and giving. As we were shivering from the cold, someone dished up bowls of home cooking to feed and warm us up a bit.

The food? It was very good, a spicy Spanish rice served on top of an assortment of green vegetables. The green peppers, lightly done, added a nice brightness and crispness to the dish. Of course, in a situation like this, the food takes second place to the people. It's about custom, and the finding of common ground. With the food in front of us, even though we all had different outlooks, and came from different situations, we all had something in common. The moral of the story? Well, I guess there isn't one, but there is a point, that nothing bonds people as much as food.

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