Friends Collaborate for a Community Dinner, plus a Rosemary Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
Some time ago my wife and I sat with two friends, in the quiet hours after their children had fallen asleep, casually dreaming up an outdoor gathering. It was a bit of a surprise to all of us that we found ourselves, months later, having followed through on organizing a menu and having recruited a few friends to share their skills in “making things pretty.”
After a few days spent in the kitchen and running around town to pick up table settings and florals, we realized that perhaps we had underestimated the difficulty of our adventure. The night came, though, and friends new and old began to arrive in their festive attire. What exactly we were celebrating was still a bit of a mystery to us.
A friend of mine once suggested that attempts to end hunger in the world were poorly named. He argued that the true goal wasn’t to end hunger but rather to ensure access to food. Hunger itself is our greatest uniting experience, and its reminder that none of us are without need is to be embraced. Hunger is shared by all, crossing any divisions we create among ourselves.
It not only connects us through our shared need but also in the sense that it calls us to join with others at the table. It calls us from our work and play and asks us to sit side by side with friends, family, and even those we have yet to meet.
At its heart, I believe our evening was a celebration of this common experience, a shared meal. It isn’t often that we decorate and adorn the table, putting it on display and drawing attention to its place at the center of our lives. Holidays and, of course, weddings come to mind, unique times in life that we single out as being special. In reality, there is deep beauty in even the most mundane communion.
It takes a sincere intentionality to step out of our busyness, to slow down, and to patiently observe the ordinary…and I’m glad that we did. The common things of life often prove the most meaningful.
Find Rosemary Dutch Oven Recipe Below!
Rosemary Dutch Oven Bread
Something this good shouldn't be so easy (even for a non-baker). The basic no-knead bread recipe certainly isn’t new, but add in a few sprigs of rosemary and it’s hard to go back to making it plain. For an even heartier variation trade out some of the white flour for whole wheat (½ cup, 1 cup, find your happy place).
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1½ cups warm water
2-3 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves (2-3 sprigs)
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, salt, yeast, rosemary). Add water and mix together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit 18 hours at room temperature (give or take 5 or 6 hours…it’s not a demanding recipe).
Flour a work surface and remove the dough. With wet hands fold it over itself 2 or 3 times. Gently shape the dough into a ball. Place ball in a floured proofing basket or on a floured cotton kitchen towel (the towel can be in another bowl or on the counter). Cover with cotton towel and let rise for another couple hours.
30-45 minutes before baking, heat oven and 4 quart dutch oven (or alternate similarly sized heavy covered pot that can handle the heat safely) to 450. Carefully, remove pot and place dough inside. Cover and return pot to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove, let cool, enjoy!
Full Image Gallery
Full Story Credits: Photography by Kevin Glaser Florist, Amy Lynn Originals Paper Goods & Letterpress by Manifesto Letterpress Film Lab, Photovision Servingware by Lani Paul & personal pieces Cake & Deserts by Bread & Butter Bakery Candles by Creative Candles Location, Private Home in Historic Old Salem (Winston-Salem, NC)