Azorean Stew

About a month ago I had a great chat with someone I didn’t know very well, while in the breakfast line-up at The Dale. This friend was in the mood to share about his life, which he did with both vulnerability and humour. He told me that he grew up on a beautiful island in the Azores, so I pulled up some pictures on my phone. We shared a moment of appreciation of the gorgeous landscapes, and I told him I’d remember to go there if I ever ended up near Portugal.

A couple of weeks later I was sorting out the frozen meals that The Dale receives from the city via the 519 Community Kitchen. These meals have been hugely helpful to us during COVID, as we haven’t been able to prepare meals together as a community the way we used to. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve noticed that the meals have gotten more and more interesting, incorporating flavours from a variety of regions. That week, some of the meals were labelled “Azorean stew.” I thought of our Azorean friend, and hoped he would show up for lunch the next day.

And sure enough, he did! He didn’t seem to remember our conversation, and so was surprised at my excited insistence that he get this particular meal. He went on his way, and I hoped that the meal was as good as I’d hyped it up to be 😉

Today Erinn and I were out on a walk through the neighbourhood. Once a week or so we like to take a stroll, carrying nothing with us but an eagerness to connect. The sidewalks of Queen Street were busy today, and we were able to chat with quite a few of our pals. Near the end of our walk we spotted our friend from the Azores, and I got a full report on the stew– turns out it was excellent!! It was so wonderful to see him light up while describing the spices and the way it had been prepared.

Stories are important. Good food is important. When the two intersect, something powerful happens. Thank you to the good folks at the 519 Community Kitchen for providing the opportunity for these moments of connection. ❤

By joannacatherinemoon

I am the Lead Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto, ON. The Dale seeks to create safe welcoming spaces in which all people, particularly those on the margins, are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and journey together toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. This blog is meant to help keep my supporters connected with life at The Dale.

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