the second dinner: a thanksgiving meal, of sorts…


The Thanksgiving season is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. The weather may be getting a bit colder and darker up here in Seattle, but I love that beautiful spirit of warmth that permeates this season.

Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about the growing crisis of hunger in the United States (not to mention the persistent food crises in many parts of the world). Two more articles in the mainstream press highlighted the issue this week:

Food banks can’t meet growing demand (USA Today)
Left Out of the Bailout: The Poor (Time Magazine)

We contacted a small group of folks who agreed to get together to raise a bit of money to help with this situation locally. Now that the dust has settled from a whirlwind Thanksgiving week, I’m happy to share that we were able to put on the second fishes+loaves dinner, raising funds for Northwest Harvest. For those of you who might not be familiar with them, Northwest Harvest is a state-wide hunger relief agency here in Washington that supplies 18 million pounds of food annually to almost 300 partner food banks and meal programs.


I’m in the process of tabulating the direct contributions and any corporate matching that applied to individual gifts, but it looks like we were able to raise roughly $600 between the eight participants in this meal. Just like last time, I’ll provide a complete breakdown of costs of the meal and actual funds contributed to charity in a separate post.

For now, I just want to share the menu and a few of the pictures taken by a ridiculously gifted local photographer who graciously volunteered his services for the night in exchange for a bit of food.  I can only hope the food tasted half as good as the pictures look.


In contrast to our first meal, this time we did our best to use local, organic, and sustainably created products from some of the amazing producers in this area. I was happy we did.

shaved fennel salad, apple, beet, parmesan, crouton
romanesco cauliflower, bagna càuda
riccioli, parsley pesto broth, local mussels
18-hour braised short rib, parsnip, jerusalem artichoke, chanterelle, sage
chocolate cake, molly moon vivace, lace cookie


In some later posts, I’ll also do some write ups of the local products we featured as well as maybe a recipe or two that really worked. For now, I just want to say a special thanks to each of the diners who generously contributed money directly to Northwest Harvest, and to the two volunteers who provided their time and talents for this meal.


Happy Thanksgiving!


~ by jak on November 28, 2008.

10 Responses to “the second dinner: a thanksgiving meal, of sorts…”

  1. What a great dinner – NorthWest Harvest does some really great things for the needy in Western WA. I used to volunteer at one of their offices when I lived in WA.

  2. Those pictures are absolutely delicous. I would save this post just for the education on how the photographer worked. But beyond that, I am inspired by what you are doing to help feed the hungry in a creative way.

  3. Very cool to cook so elegantly and raise money for hunger at the same time. Bravo!

  4. It looks like you put on a great event with great food. I am inspired by what you did! Good job.

  5. what a lovely meal and idea. and your photographer is truly ridiculously talented!

  6. Very nice indeed, and the photographer is also indeed a gifted person! I hope you raised the money you wanted…

  7. thank you all for the encouraging and kind words. it’s not a huge amount of money, but i’m sure Northwest Harvest will put it to good use. and i totally agree with you all–leo is an incredibly gifted photographer. i’ll be sharing more of his photos in some upcoming blog posts about the meal (talking about the specifics on how we raised the money and perhaps some recipes).

    for those of you who enjoy cooking and/or throwing dinner parties, i encourage you to try doing something like this yourself and blogging about it! if you do, please let me know so we can point some readers to your blog or share your event right here on this blog.

  8. What a wonderful thing you do…. definitely an inspiration!

  9. Great cause. Beautiful photos. Menu looks great. And it’s so wonderful that you support local agriculture, especially organic.
    But why are you mysterious-anonymous, or did I miss the info?
    I’m from Bellevue. Are those dinners open to the public? I’d love to participate in one.
    And, do you need volunteers?

  10. Kudos to a great cause. Love your pics. Very professional.

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