Back in 1977 when my firstborn was two and a half, I was in a group we named The Mothers Food Coop. Several members of my Stamford, CT La Leche League group who, committed to breastfeeding our babies and improving our own nutrition, had gathered at one woman’s home to talk about feeding our children more healthfully and ordering natural and organic ingredients through a wholesaler.
Monthly, food was delivered to one of our suburban garages, then distributed by us into plastic bags and cartons. We divvied up cases of After the Fall grape juice, 50# bags of whole wheat flour, and ingredients that were new to us at the time, like quinoa and buckwheat groats. Semi-annually, we had a Mothers Night Out where we each contributed to a pot-luck meal of healthy recipes voting for best appetizer, entree and dessert.
Then we heard about Bloodroot, a new restaurant that had opened in Bridgeport, CT serving vegetarian food created by a feminist collective. The Mothers Food Coop held its next Mothers Night Out at Bloodroot, 40 years ago, and twice a year thereafter.
My La Leche League leader, and still dear friend, Rosalea Fisher, emailed me last month to remind me of Bloodroot’s upcoming 40th celebration. Would I like to join her for a meal there? Even though I’d moved to NYC, I have continuously sought out dining at Bloodroot throughout these four decades. Any road trip that took me north required a meal at my favorite restaurant. I invited 40 friends for lunch to celebrate my 50th birthday. The first Artsy Girls dinner was held at Bloodroot.
When I had started dating again in 2011, I met a psychiatrist from New Haven for our second date at Bloodroot. First I called Selma, the co-owner of Bloodroot, to let her know that I’d divorced. (My husband even enjoyed meatless meals before our marriage ended, and we’d gone there several times.) “A lot of women bring their dates here,” she told me last week when Rosalea and I were having dinner. Selma circulates the room to greet diners and make sure they’re enjoying their meals. “It’s a good place to vet men,” she said with a knowing smile.
The Times did a fabulous and well-deserved piece on Bloodroot’s 40th. Because of the publicity, I was concerned that there’d be a long line when we arrived on Thursday night. Fortunately, we were there first and ordered, per usual, off the mouth-watering blackboard offerings.
As always, we could sit and talk as long as we wanted without interruption. The food was exquisite (I’m not one for photographing my meals) and the conversation as good as always.
Most businesses and friendships don’t last for 40 years. I had a blessed time last week enjoying both of these treasures in my life.