By Adam Brock
As the substance of life – and the primary occupation of human beings for most of our existence – it’s no wonder that food is one of the best ways to bring people together. There’s something about preparing and eating a meal en masse that tends to lead to unforgettable conversations and lasting connections.
Especially when that meal came free from local farms and grocery store trash bags. That’s the premise behind Grub, a biweekly community meal in Brooklyn. Since the spring of 2005, Grub has been attracting a diverse bunch of “strangers and co-conspirators” to the Rubulad house, a carnivalesque old warehouse on the edge of Williamsburg better known for its raucous parties. From the Grub blurb (sorry, just had to put those words together):
Whether you are active in other collectives, your neighborhood, your backyard garden, or just new to town, we invite you to our table. To get a little squishy, we are looking for practical ways to build community. We are particularly inspired by weekly dinners served at squats in Amsterdam and Berlin, where you can get a cheap, tasty meal and catch up with friends in a cozy room. We like parties as much as anyone, but we think there should be places to talk without a pounding sound system.
I went to my first Grub last Sunday, not knowing quite sure what to expect. I’d had a freegan meal or two before, and been pleasantly surprised at how normal the dumpstered food tasted. But this meal was far from normal – it was astounding. Maybe I just happened to come on a week with great cooks, or perhaps it was the season’s bounty, but dumpsters were the last thing on my mind as I chowed down with my fellow Grubbers.
There about a dozen dishes to pick from, including bruschetta (tomatoes courtesy of the Bed-Stuy CSA), mango feta salad, steamed mustard greens with sesame seeds, and purple potatoes. And for dessert, apple cobbler and beet chocolate cake. The crowd was equally eclectic, with grub regulars standing in line next to New School freshmen straight of the airplane. Hipsters rubbed shoulders with DUMBO professionals, and everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.
All in all, Grub seems to embody a refreshingly pretension free vibe, one that that nature- and community-starved New Yorkers could use a dose of. Whether or not you can get down with the lo-fi setting and slightly past-their-prime ingredients, Grub’s open approach to food and family is one well worth emulating.
(P.S.: for a short film of a Grub event set to The Books, check out “First the Dishes, Then the Revolution” by Jeff Stark.)