Come on in and shake off the cold. There’s a space right here by the fire. I haven’t seen a day like this since… well, since the day of Page One’s Home-style Potluck Friday. What’s that? You’ve never heard of… well, just sit right back and I’ll tell you all about it.
It was a day just like today. It had been a long and arduous winter and Portland had been hammered with snowstorm after snowstorm. Page One Web Solutions, whose weekly Friday lunches had already become fodder for gossipmongers, the envy of their rivals and the stuff of legends, had decided to do a once a month Friday Potluck. Each employee would be tasked with cooking one course in a huge meal that would be enough to feed the hungry masses. Dave made his signature jerk chicken. Eric presented a Parmesan kale salad. Becky brought in her homemade coleslaw. Max unveiled his bacon-infused collard greens. Lauren shared her oven roasted potatoes and deliciously moist corn bread, and Patrick Robinson presented the finest can of organic baked beans one could find in all of Whole Foods.
The aroma wafting out of the conference room at 250 Commercial Street was nothing short of mouth-watering. Scott left breath marks on the glass window between the conference room and the dev department as he watched course after course make their way into a buffet-style array on the table. Some say he left a small puddle of drool at his feet.
I was there, so I alone can bear witness to what followed. The Kale Salad was tangy with a hint of pecorino cheese… the coleslaw was diced and flavored perfectly (not too dry, not too soupy). The Jerk chicken was fiery hot and was the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the collard greens. The potatoes were fragrant and delicious and the beans tasted like the finest organic beans that one could find in all of Whole Foods.
We laughed. The conversation ran the gamut from Jenika’s upcoming nuptials to Brad’s ongoing saga with ASP .NET. Noon turned to 1pm and 1pm quickly became 1:30pm . Before we knew it, it was quarter of 2. We knew it was time to get back to work when Jeremy loosened his belt. He claimed it was due to the deliciousness of this belly-busting meal, but I couldn’t be certain it wasn’t a threat… a reminder that these meals were only possible if we continued cranking out the high level of design, marketing and development that had made Page One Web Solutions the preeminent web studio in all of Portland.
As we filed solemnly back to our desks, I looked back over my shoulder and took one last look at the remnants of our meal. The salad bowl was empty, the pan of roasted potatoes held nothing but charred remains stuck stubbornly to the bottom of the pan. The chicken was gone as were the collard greens and the coleslaw. One lone baked bean sat drowning in the sticky red liquid found only in a can of the finest organic baked beans that one can find in all of Whole Foods.
I wiped a tear from my eye. For I knew that this moment, this meal, had set the bar terrifyingly high for all future Page One Potluck Fridays.
SOME WORDS USED BY OUR TEAM TO DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE:
Eric’s Fabulous Kale Salad
1 Bunch of Tuscan Kale
2 Thin slices of country bread or two handfuls of homemade course breadcrumbs
½ Garlic clove
¼ Teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch
¼ Cup of Pecorino cheese (plus a handful for garnish)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard. Place the Kale in a large bowl.
Toast bread until golden brown. Tear into pieces and place in food processor until it forms course crumbs.
Mince garlic and ¼ tsp of salt… add to small bowl. Add ¼ cup of cheese, 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. The dressing will be thick and will need lots of tossing to coat the leaves.