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Is It OK To Have A Dinner Party On 9/11?

Posted: 09/09/11 10:38 AM ET

Ten years ago, on September 1st, 2001, I moved to NYC to start college. Ten days later, the taxis stopped honking, at least for a while... I can still hear that silence if I take a moment. I lived in New York on and off for 8 years after that, and I've since moved on to Minnesota -- and to my job producing the sustainable food documentary series, The Perennial Plate. The series has brought me back to NYC for the 10th anniversary of the 11th. New York is one stop of many, over the last four months where I have been filming in many corners of the country: Lousiana, Washington, Montana, Maine, and in between... We (my girlfriend, co-conspirator, Mirra Fine and I) planned the trip out based on weather and events. It just so happened that we landed in NYC this week, and that the best day for our event/dinner at the famed Prune Restaurant was September 11th. I'm happy we are here.

It seems strange to have a dinner on that day... to come back to this great city, to share the food and stories of our trip across America on a day that carries so much weight. I was worried people wouldn't come. But people have to eat and live and learn, even on the days with bad memories. I suppose folks could stay in that evening. But ten years later, you can also react to an event like Sept 11th, by showing that it won't stop you from living your life. Perhaps it is even more important to celebrate life on those days. It appears that New Yorkers feel the same as the dinner has a waiting list.

On Sunday, Gabrielle Hamilton, Demian Repucci , the team at Prune and I willl begin to prepare for the 150 or so folks descending on this tiny restaurant in the East Village. Over the past 4 months, I've cooked in a lot of homes, at farms and in restaurants across the US. It's always exciting and difficult to enter someone else's kitchen, find their pots and pans and cook a meal. Their tools, cleanliness and ingredients are windows into their lives. And in every instance food tends to be a common medium for celebration between these kitchens. 9/11 effected everyone in America. Though we don't see it necessarily in the films we make, it brought a change to this country. It may have brought fear, persecution, or a new sense of the world -- it also brought reflection. On this 10th anniversary, we'll be reflecting with stories about food and people from across the US at one restaurant in Manhattan. I think it's a good place to be on such a day, amongst friends, moving on, and being hopeful.

 

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