Come see us in December!

Communal Table will be providing delicious food for hungry holiday shoppers at these two great events in New York City:

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
Saturday Dec 5 from 11AM-8PM
@Openhouse Gallery
201 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012

Hello Zen Holiday Market
Sat Dec 12 + Sun Dec 13, 11AM-7 PM
@The Village Zendo
588 Broadway (btwn Houston + Prince)11th floor
New York, NY 10012


Autumn Sweethearts Pairing- Apples and Honey

Our second gathering, this time honey and apples. Cleared and straightened my kitchen, and set a long mismatched table across the length of the living room. 15 guests came together to make and bake pies, taste apples and honey with beekeeper Andrew C. from Silvermine Apiary (www.cthoney.com) and sip Meade and hard cider made by Nathaniel and Thatcher Martin (www.manhattanmeadery.com) Two of the honeys were NYC local (East Village and Fort Green) and both had just been harvested. Brooklyn was a dark amber while Manhattan was golden and light- seems each boroughs' bees have their own particular nectar. There're tons of websites with details about harvesting and if you're really interested in bee news: <www.nyc-bees.org> I attended one clandestine harvesting in Bklyn. (beekeeping's illegal in NYC) and the beekeeper had the coolest tools- a spouted, bellowed fire box to direct smoke at the hives that blocks the warning scent the worker bees give off to warn of an intruder, and a plug-in knife that's kind of like an iron that's used to melt the wax caps the bees make to seal their honey into the combs. As you glide the knife across the comb, chunks of honey embedded wax falls from the frame- and chewing on this warm wax was heavenly!

Crowded in my kitchen everyone got to hear Nathaniel discuss yeasts effects on the sugars in honey and apple wines, and to taste his remarkably dry honey mead (Brooklyn Buzz) and a cider he made from hand picked Central Park apples. While rolling dough and slicing an array of apple varietals, guests nibbled canapes of honey drizzled Gorgonzola Dolce and toasted walnuts. Once the apple pies were in the oven, dinner was served. A fall vegetable pie (layers of butternut, kale, beautiful chanterelle mushrooms, roasted cherry peppers and goat cheese baked in a fillo crust) and rich brandied apples tossed with caramelized onions. Then we had a green salad with a honey apple cider vinaigrette before moving onto Deena's grandmothers' old-fashioned apple cake with homemade honey ice cream.

As we lingered over dessert the party turned into a honey, apple poetry share. Pat brought Keats, Gertrude Stein and a particularly wonderful Robert Frost called After Apple-Picking. Rodney shared original rhyming couplets, Andrew quoted Winne-the-Pooh on honey, and Sara and Molly played a ukulele duet. Then everyone took their warm pies home.

Deena and I are still figuring these events out- we love the mix: seasonal local products and artisans, hands-on cooking, a satisfying meal and poetry- I feel we have the "practice" part of the evening honed, but I'd like to see the "performance" part step more into focus. More poems and music! Also, we're just still figuring out how much to charge- our first event cost us a lot, this one we almost broke even... maybe next time we might even earn a bit of a salary putting these things together.... We're already planning our winter event: pickles, preserves and root vegetables. I'm working on lining up some pickle makers and taking sauerkraut and kimchi workshops... and dreaming about a fabulous potato turnip gratin recipe I have.

After Apple-Picking
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Robert Frost