Jolie Vue was privileged last month to be the living organism for OITF for the third consecutive year. What’s it all about?
Reduced to its simplest notion, it is a celebration of food and community. Some 200 diners paid an exorbitant sum of money to bring their own dinner plate, enjoy drink and appetizer in the house yard, then tour and troop across three quarters of a mile to our hilltop for dinner at the crescent-shaped table made famous by OITF’s founder, Jim Denevan. As Jim says it, dining between nothing but the soil and the sky, where your food grows. Coming to the food, rather than the food coming to you. Brilliant.
But you have to experience the event to know just how brilliant it is - I am always impressed by the joy and conviviality on display, but I am not surprised by it. Food is survival, reaching far back into our collective memories to a time when being sated by a rewarding meal was not a given. Early humankind spent most of their day trying to achieve nutritional and gustatory satisfaction, and when it happened, it meant not only survival but celebration. Literally, a celebration of life, of communities working together, of gratitude, of generosity of the hunters, gatherers, cookers and servers. That joy is deeply embedded in our bones, genes, and souls. That is why this event rekindles and restores. It’s the simplest kind of thing, but irreplaceable. Food and community. Instinctual. Nothing more, but nothing less. And that’s what it’s all about.