Every First Wednesday

It's been happening for the past 18 years.  On the first Wednesday of every month, families in this neighborhood in Oakland, CA have been sitting down to dinner together. 

Everyone brings something, but there aren't any assigned dishes; people just bring whatever they like.  So some First Wednesday dinners have turned out to be all-salad, or all-pasta, or sometimes all-dessert, and once everyone brought beef stew.  But wine is consumed, babies grow up and get married, and friends share their joys and sorrows at this neighborly tradition. 

In this New York Times story, former New Yorker Patricia Leigh Brown describes what it was like to move to this neighborhood where first Wednesdays were, and still are, special.

"To my then-New York eye, the idea of making time during the workweek just to hang with neighbors, enveloped by--let it be said--far too much wine, felt foreign and a little crazy, the same way the Pacific initially felt like the wrong ocean. But soon, like the crescent-shaped avenue we live on, the sheer predictability and endurance of First Wednesday began to feel like an embrace."

Link - via bunchfamily

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Marilyn Terrell.

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This reminds me of the weekly vegan potluck my friends and I used to have. You didnt have to be vegan to attend - just all the food was vegan. Since only about 1/3 of the people who ever attended actually were vegan, and cooking vegan can be a pain if you're not used to it, we always ended up with plenty of beer and salad! I really wish we still had them - it would be awesome to have our 18th anniversary of vegan potlucks!
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I guess it's just the paranoid side in me... but that just has bad news written all over it. What's to stop someone from just totally losing their marbles and poisoning everyone.
I give my neighbors a friendly nod, wave and hello and that's all they're getting out of me.
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sheesh...I try just walking around my parents' neighborhood and people are peeking out their window blinds thinking I'm some kind of burglar casing the neighborhood...

My cousin and I are doing a monthly cook-in! It's mostly a group effort to learn to cook different dishes, but I like it as much for the eating as for the cooking. It's still a rough go as the only regulars have been cousin and I with a couple one-timers but I have faith it'll grow into something bigger when we find the right people who aren't so obsessed with being stressed out by their jobs to enjoy one night of unjobliness.
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