Seeking Connection

Jan Wright, Publisher, art & society

Sitting down with friends and family to enjoy a formal dinner is one of my favorite social activities. Amidst the whirlwind of modern life, it’s an opportunity to slow down, “unplug,” and enjoy conversation and fellowship. But like writing in cursive, or mailing a proper thank-you card, it is too often a casualty of today’s fast-paced world.

I remember when Sunday dinners were special times for family, when preparing for the holidays or inviting company over was not just “a lot of work,” but a labor of love. I enjoy returning home after a long day to relax in the kitchen preparing meals, and I wax nostalgic for a more leisurely pace.

In this issue, David Stotz reminds us of this bygone era, but takes it several steps further, using Sunday dinner as a springboard to experiment with different cuisines and cooking techniques. For Stotz, meals are meant to slowly savor. “It’s not just something you do to keep from dying!” By recreating old recipes, carefully considering the table setting, and inviting friends to share in the experience, he intends to recapture that magic. And his dedication to the task, week in and week out, is to be admired.

Stotz goes the extra mile for sure, but he’s not alone in seeking out missing links from our past; many restaurants are adding “communal tables” to encourage that spirit of fellowship and connection. This trend has been brewing for some time, and we’re now seeing it locally as well. It’s not for every occasion, and it can certainly be intimidating, but it could also be fun! I hope to try it out in 2018.

I also plan to enjoy more live music this year. We are very fortunate to have such a rich and diverse music scene in the Peoria area. The BraziLionaires are passionate and infectious performers, and soon we’ll have the chance to experience their music in a whole new way: with full orchestral accompaniment. Hats off to the Peoria Symphony Orchestra for continuing to seek out creative, collaborative ways to put a new spin on classical music!

Whether you prefer outdoor recreation or getting creative indoors, there are plenty of ways to beat the winter blues. A simple walk in the brisk air (tightly bundled up, of course) can clear the head and bring a fresh, new outlook. A weekend away can recharge one’s batteries—but so can staying local and supporting our hometown businesses. Whatever you do, spring will be here before you know it! a&s

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