When The Neighborhood Comes to Dinner

By Beth Hoffman + John Hogeland : lessmeat – excerpt

It all started with a crazy idea.  I wanted to invite the neighborhood for dinner, like I’d seen in Gourmet or Saveur magazines, where whole Italian towns eat dinner together in the streets. Long tables, beautifully arranged, with hundreds of people sitting down for the same meal (usually spaghetti) at the same time.

I mentioned it to a neighbor when we moved to Mission Terrace in San Francisco, a little known gem of a neighborhood in the far south of the city. We have unpaved alleys behind our homes, right-of-ways owned by the homeowners, used by PG&E for access.  I thought it seemed like the perfect place for a dinner, to gather people and tables and to somehow, someway all eat the same thing (likely spaghetti) at the same time.  But how to make all that pasta?  How to boil it, keep it warm, and serve it out to hundreds of people?… (more)

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