On Saturday, January 26 at the Newseum, Joan Nathan, award-winning American cookbook author and Alice Waters, chef, restaurateur, activist, and author, celebrated the fourth year in a row that the cocktail reception Sips was added to Saturday Suppers, the fundraising gastronomic experience in private homes commanding a $500 per person fee.
“Sips” was born four years ago to complement “Suppers” and is a more informal gathering complementing the original fundraiser for Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. Sips features DC’s top chefs and mixologists and celebrates the most innovative food in DC while supporting these two charities.
This concept exploded with a sold-out crowd at the Newseum where participants united in their love of creative food and drink delivered by the areas’s most gifted chefs and visionary mixologists. Offerings spanned the range of culinary delights from barbequed pork and jalapeno grits to raw oysters, cured meats and Spanish ham right off the bone to cupcakes, macaroons, and vegan tootsie rolls.
The crowds moved from station to station roving from savory to sweet inbetween sips of wine and spirits. Alice Waters brought the attention back to the main reason for the gathering. She reminded the crowd that the whole is “greater than the sum of its parts.” She noted that the last “democratic institution is the schools.” She pointed out that schools are the primary targets in addressing the problem of hunger in the United States and urged Capitol Hill legislators to offer school children free school lunches comprised of locally grown, slow food. She pointed out that not only is this a key way to end hunger in this country, but it would encourage better nutrition and help students develop healthier eating habits.
Raymond C. Offenheiser, president, Oxfam America, joined Alice on the podium pointing out that “one in every seven DC students go to bed hungry.” He continued, “food justice needs to be on the top of the local as well as the national agenda and small, local farms are an essential part of that commitment.”
Applause greeted these words and the audience moved back to enjoying the tastes and treats that celebrated the small farm and slow food movement characterizing the event. Feeding the impoverished is important, but for the Sips and Suppers crowd, a key part of this effort must include appreciation and education about nutrition and supporting the small farms and culinary entrepreneurs who work to reintroduce the health and environmental benefits of small farms and food production.