October 14th, 2014

City Suppers!

by Emily Vanest


The City Gallery, in partnership with the Harrison Center for the Arts and Indiana Humanities invites you to be part of our first annual “City Supper” on Sunday, November 9. We want to “promote neighborliness, encouraging Indy residents to open their homes and welcome friends and neighbors throughout the year.” You can make a pot of soup and invite neighbors to “bring a bowl and a side” or invite neighbors on your block to sign up for a course in a progressive dinner and enjoy the walk around your neighborhood while you eat, or even start your own weekly supper club. The community and conversation will be the real highlights of the evening — the food will just be a pleasant excuse for getting together. You can sign up to host a supper here.  When you host your dinner, snap a few photos of your evening, send your pictures and a blog post about your experience to citygallery@harrisoncenter.org. We will send the first 60 people to respond a $25 gift certificate to the locally owned restaurant of their choice . . . hopefully, you can enjoy a different kind of City Supper.

We’re inspired by the different ways that some of our friends and neighbors are already having their neighbors over for dinner.  Ladonna Goshow, a local life coach and yoga instructor who lives in Fountain Square, is passionate about feeding and nourishing her friends and neighbors.  On cold fall mornings, she starts an industrial sized stock pot of chicken soup.  I’ll get a text sometime in the afternoon telling me to “bring a big container . . . I’ve got soup for your family tonight.”  As I sit for a few minutes at her kitchen table, neighborhood kids and other friends often stop by for a bowl. One simple way you can invite your neighbors in is to:

  1. Have a signature dish that you serve on a regular basis.
  2. Issue an invitation to whoever has time to come. Tuck invitations into screen doors, send an evite or text, or issue an open invitation on facebook.
  3. If you’re having a sit down dinner, invite your guests to contribute a side, dessert, or a bottle of wine.

fs outside neighbors dining

The Goshows are also part of a supper club that has been meeting every week in Fountain Square since 2006.  The group began with one simple goal — to make time every week to connect with neighbors. Their guidelines for what they informally call “Sunday dinner” have helped to make the group work for so long:

  1. 6-8 member households rotate hosting the meals.
  2. The host prepares all the food for their assigned week.
  3. The host is responsible for inviting all the guests for their assigned week. Hosts are encouraged to use these meals to invite new neighbors and build community, rather than create a clique.
  4. Supper starts at 5:30pm and ends at 7:00pm. Guests can arrive late, but can’t stay late.
  5. If you are having a busy week and can’t stay for the meal, you can bring a dish for carryout.

Another option that relieves some of the burden of hosting is to set up a progressive dinner. John Winter, a 30-something single engineer, helps organize our annual Bates-Hendricks progressive dinner. Last year, he was the third stop on our tour, welcoming a diverse group of friends and neighbors into his turn-of-the-century dining room to enjoy homemade pork roast and mashed potatoes. John graciously opened his home to couples, singles and even families with lots of kids for a meal that left us all wishing we could do this every week. To set up a progressive dinner:

  1. Pick a date, and send an email to several neighbors in close proximity asking if they’d be willing to host a course for a neighborhood progressive dinner. Course options could include cocktails, appetizers, salads, entree, desserts, and after dinner drinks.
  2. Once your schedule is full, decide how many people you can all comfortably include and send an invitation to your neighbors. When guests RSVP, make sure to send the addresses of the homes where you’ll be eating.
  3. Plan to spend around 45 minutes at each home, so that hosts can plan, but be prepared for late lingering over drinks at the end.

However you choose to build community in your neighborhood, we’d love to hear about it. Don’t forget to send your pictures and blog posts to citygallery@harrisoncenter.org.