The basket’s packed. I’m ready to go. The sun is shining outside my door. I love to eat and meet new friends but I'm a bit nervous about meeting 21 strangers.
I have organized a summer picnic in the park on eatwithme.net as a way to meet new friends, share good food and take advantage of the Australian summer. As I promised to bring a picnic basket, cricket bat, soccer ball and Scrabble, my partner and I trudge across our local park like two pack mules to meet the people that accepted my invitation to join the picnic.
As we lay out the picnic rug and tablecloth, our first guests arrive with picnic baskets and umbrellas in hand. Despite it being officially summer, the clouds are looking ominous.
My nerves soon give way to excitement as new faces continue to appear. Each new person who arrives introduces themselves and starts unpacking their picnic basket. The contents of the picnic basket becoming the opening lines to the steady flow of conversations that will continue through the afternoon.
Even though this is an Australian picnic, there is no BBQ in sight and instead homemade delights fill the picnic rug. There are carrot muffins, banana bread, apple cake, homemade hummus and avocado dips and a smorgasbord of delicious cheeses, cherries, berries, pineapple and fresh summer fruits. But as we are indulging, the heavens open and as quick as we dived for the Pork Rillettes and Ashe Cherve, we start diving for umbrellas. Now we are not only sharing food and conversation but umbrellas as well. And after one too many raindrops has landed on the food, we decide to move the picnic indoors.
With the picnic rugs spread over my living room floor, Round 2 begins.
At the inside picnic, the atmosphere is electric–and that has nothing to do with the storms outside. Eavesdropping around the picnic rug, I hear interesting conversations about South Africa, Yoga and the recent change in the Parliament. I learn that you can easily ride from Berlin to Poland (without much preparation) and that Jodi (one of my guests) has recently produced a Cross(x) Species workshop / cocktail party by NY based artist, Natalie Jeremijenko in Melbourne.
As the picnic is wrapping up, I'm invited to future events that a couple of guests are already planning. I see people swapping details and promising to see each other soon. For me, this means the picnic was a success. I've met 21 new faces, been able to introduce people to each other, I've found out about cool projects happening in Melbourne and also expanded my recipe repertoire–the exact reason I wanted to host an Eat With Me event. So what's next? Well, I'll be attending a Summer Salad Smash event; Eat With Me drinks and I will be hosting an Eat With Me event where our Facebook friends can score an invite by suggesting what I cook. I hope my cooking skills stand up to the challenge.
If you want to meet new people and eat good food you can create an Eat With Me event that best suits you. Our members have already hosted potluck dinners, a sushi making workshop, dinners at restaurants and a High Tea Party. You can also choose how many people you invite and who you accept to join you. What event you host is only limited by your imagination. Eat With Me is about meeting friends and sharing good food. Eating local and meeting locals. So go on. Share Food. Be Inspired. Eat With Me.