Monday, October 4, 2010

Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

Yesterday: I was reading and just minding my own business while Katsura-exhibition-sitting, when Libby bursted into Tateuchi Room,  bucket of pretty flowers in her hands; she looked definitely excited, and I was definitely bored (no fun in reading about HTML code for the technically challenged undersigned).

SJG - 10/4/10 Volunteer Appreciation Day
'What's that for?'  'Tomorrow's Volunteer Appreciation Day'  - she smiled broadly...  'Oh, yeah, so who is catering?'  'Nobody is catering, Thomas and David will be cooking for you, they just brought barbecue grill on the premises!'.  What?  You mean no usual 'thank-you speeches' while chewing on the well-intentioned, but often cardboardy catered food?

SJG - 10/4/10 Soup with a view
Today: Now, I don't know anybody who volunteers for getting appreciation lunches, but it was quite something else what the Japanese Garden Advisory Council and Seattle Parks Department had in mind!  It was more like pre-WW2 village wedding I read of somewhere:  big red tent in the court-yard with tables set under it, barbecue grill fired up on the back of the T-Room and miso soup (with a view) simmering on its patio, past the wide open French door, snacks and salads inside the T-Room, extremely attentive Garden/Council staff people who smilingly invited us to many-course meal, with... gasp.. hardly any speeches.  Just 'we love you and thank you' atmosphere.

Hiroko in a pretty apron was doing a double duty as a guest and a soup/cultural specialist,  Consul of Japan politely pointing out to our welcoming gift: a red bag, with a set of chopsticks, my-green-tea bags, cookies, spices, postcards of Japan and other goodies inside. And then just being gladly relaxed together for a few fleeting hours, while normally we are scattered about the Garden, attending to our separate tasks.

SJG - 10/4/10 Consul of Japan and the red bags
The Food!  I keep telling myself this is NOT a food blog (I wish! and maybe get recipes in the comment section in return), but the food is sooo worth mentioning...  I want to make those of you who were not able to make it today plain jealous:  two miso soups: one with clams, and one with tofu, grilled chicken and shrimp satays, oysters (in many ways), then roll your own sushi with smoked salmon and steamed rice + wasabi or plum sauce, seaweed and spinach salads, then apple cider, pomegranate juice and then green tea +  the most decadent cakes baked personally by Rachel. 
Karate Cook & 'I-learned-cooking-from-TV' Cook

If they burned it all on the grill, overcooked the soup and left accidental pecan shells in the cake, made it awful and inedible, it would be still the most wonderful meal,  because of the attention to detail and love conveyed. It was truly like visiting someone's house: the hosts were the most gracious and welcoming. I was floored... And yes, felt super-appreciated. 

Were you? Please, send your pics if you took any - we can post more in T-Room section.   What a day it was!  Thanks Seattle Parks and  SJAC!  =D>
(Clapping hands smilie the result of reading about HTML code, ha!)
The courtyard red tent (the rest of the people by the the grill & pots & trays elsewhere)
P.S. Having grown up in a totalitarian country I'm naturally paranoid and give no last names on the blog, unless I have a permission or someone is already internationally famous or published... Ditto for no close-ups pics. 

見ぬが花 • Minu ga hana.  • Literally: Not seeing is a flower. • Meaning: Reality can't compete with imagination.

1 comment:

  1. Great post on a memorable occasion! Add my thanks to Parks, the Advisory Council and Japanese Consulate General, chefs Hiroko and Dave, bakers and arrangers. They all knocked themselves out giving us a spectacular "thank you." And many thanks to you, in return.