The monthly pop-up series we launched last September is the expression of many memories and experiences with meals from the Philippines to Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. But in a way, the spirit of what F&S has become has existed for much longer—first, in every family and community potluck we’ve ever been to, then evolving to dinners among a handful of close friends in South Seattle, many of whom are also raising young children, and who all have familial ties to Hawai’i.
In early 2010, following a simple conversation about how much we missed Hawai’i with our friends Amy & Daniel Pak, we hosted the first of a series of “Kama’aina Dinners.” The only rule was to bring a dish that reminded you of Hawaii. On that cold-ass Seattle winter evening, we were home again: Daniel grabbing the guitar, strumming and singing as Ian & I take turns keeping an eye on our wildling offspring. Carol sharing recipes from an old school Island cookbook. Pai, who ran Pai’s Thai-Hawaiian food truck before moving to Thailand in 2012, kicking knife skills game in the kitchen. Brian’s pidgin accent getting stronger with each drink. Amy, Chera & Cherry discussing gentrification, economics and other serious shit but still somehow enraptured in laughter.
Oh, and the food! The beautiful chaos of pre-made dishes grazed upon while dishes were being cooked. Lomi salmon, kalua pork, tako poke, mac salad, salad salad—mixed with dishes reflecting our family backgrounds: Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Thai. Every dish had a story: Daniel brought a beef watercress soup: an edible homage to the family friends who cultivated the watercress patches next to Pearlridge Mall and always hooked up his fam. Alaea salt everywhere, because there’s always someone who just came back from Hawaii and got some for everybody. And, always in the center of all this madness, tying everything together: a big pot of something.
So, this month, Food & Sh*t celebrates its one-year anniversary, and we’re bringing it back to where it started—with a Korean-Filipino-Hawaiian-Whatever potluck-style feast (we’ll bring all the food) with live music. Amy & Daniel will be joining us in the kitchen as we roll out, in two dinner services, a big-ass Korean/Northwest seafood hot-pot for each table, with 8 panchan (small side dishes) inspired by our Kama’aina dinners, followed by a new soon-to-be-Hood-Famous dessert by Chera.
Daniel, frontman for acclaimed Seattle reggae band Kore Ionz, runs Totem Star, a youth music program at Youngstown. Amy is the founder of Families of Color Seattle (FOCS), a non-profit resource for multicultural families that we’re proud to be a part of. Proceeds from this month’s dinner will be going to support the opening of FOCS Cornerstone Cafe in Hillman City, which, in addition to being a cafe, will also be a drop-in childcare center, and arts & education venue with multilingual classes for children and parents. It is slated to open its doors in mid-October in The Hillman City’s Collaboratory.
We’re fortunate to have Amy & Daniel as friends and collaborators, and they’re a big inspiration for what Food & Sh*t has aimed to do when we launched a year ago. Raising a family while creating and organizing is impossible without community. And a community’s health rests upon its families. It’s all about that nourishment. Of our bodies and our communities. For those who came before, those here now, and those who will follow. One festive, collaborative, delicious, meal at time.
To learn more about FOCS & Cornerstone Cafe, visit focseattle.com. Also, check out Kore Ionz & Totem Star, and play this Kore Ionz feat. Prometheus Brown song while cooking or eating your next meal.