Back in February I met a local Virginia author named Marietta McCarty. I was invited by a friend to an event she was doing for her new book called “The Philosopher’s Table: How to Start Your Philosophy Dinner Club – Monthly Conversation, Music, and Recipes.” Marietta is a philosopher, professor, author, and so much more. I had the pleasure of attending another event this past weekend and I’m so glad I did. Marietta has a warm personality that I can only describe as glowing. That glowing personality comes alive in her books. I’ve now read all three! When reading this particular book, The Philosopher’s Table, you’ll be quickly drawn into her world as she relates stories of her own experiences, mingling them with people she’s met, loved ones, children she’s philosophized with, and even well known philosophers.
Because the book is set up for a year long dinner club, each chapter is assigned a month. Each month you travel to a different place, while it delivers background, discussion topics, cultural perspective, recipes and music suggestions. Additionally, Marietta introduces you to a new philosopher, whether modern or classic. As you read and discuss you’ll go on an incredible journey of thinking, learning, believing,eating, loving and maybe even singing. But, what I love most about this book is how it encourages people to cook, and eat together. As you know our philosophy (pun intended) here at My Clean Kitchen is Just Cook! We want everyone to get in the kitchen and have fun, experiment and learn to love real food again. Marietta has a similar objective in that she wants people to Just Think! Think about things like love, simple pleasures, community, nature and more.
The month of August is entitled What About Love? She begins with a few personal thoughts on writing about love that blends into a felicitous story of a note passed between two fourth grade students. I won’t give it away, you’ll have to read to book, but its absolutely hilarious. She goes on to discuss self-love and loving others, leading into a story about a modern day philosopher named Gloria Jean Watkins. I can honestly say that I had never heard of her before, but am so glad Marietta introduced me. Her dynamic view on the world around her, especially on the idea and concept of love is insightful although sometimes brutal. She grew up in rural Kentucky and ended up a teacher in New York City. As you read through the sections appropriately titled Inside, and Outside, you journey though Watkins childhood, adulthood, relationships, inner thoughts and more. Marietta guides you through these concepts and ideas preparing you for the final goal, a dinner club gathering with a table full of people talking about LOVE.
I was lucky enough to get to take part in such a discussion at the lunch last Saturday with a table of good friends. It was just what I needed after a few weeks of ennui. Discussing self-love is never an easy conversation but Marietta started us off with a couple of questions that opened us up to the idea and allowed us to ultimately have an enriching and engaging discussion. What I liked best about the whole experience was sitting at a table with friends, simply eating and talking. No one had their phone out, no one was complaining about work, it was just food and conversation, which is a dying art!
While I can’t recommend all the recipes in Marietta’s book, as most don’t fall into our eating philosophy here at MCK, I do recommend the rest. I love the idea of getting together with friends and/or family once a month to talk about an engaging topic, eat great food and savor your time together. That leads me into today’s recipe….pulled pork!
I decided to make this recipe for two reasons; first, it fits into Whole 30, and you’ve probably seen that Jessica is following the Whole 30 plan this month, second, its a comfort food that’s perfect for bringing people to the table. It’s also super simple to make. We omitted the sugar and Worcestershire sauce here with tremendous results, its very flavorful but also whole and healthy too.
You could serve the pulled pork with Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut Squash Fries, Roasted Broccoli with Lemon or even a simple Cucumber Tomato Salad, all of which are also Whole30! So, get that slow cooker fired up and invite your friends over because its time to get everyone back to the dinner table!
Local Ingredient: Organic dried oregano from a local herb farm, pork butt from the farmers market.