- Dinner procured from Skillet, the airstream trailer (mobile take out restaurant) to devour while waiting in line (and we were the second group in line....hooray us!). I finally got to taste the burger with his well known "bacon jam." Don't the words "bacon jam" just get your taste buds weeping? Skillet owner and head chef Josh Henderson at one of the Farm Dinners I assisted with at Dog Mountain Farm last summer. He's a really, really nice guy (looked out for his kitchen crew) and has put together such a fabulous food idea.
- Really good seats: since we were right up front there in line we were able to sit amongst the production crew and the featured family (I'll explain later). It's (almost) always fun to be in the middle of action.
- A big hall buzzing with an excited crowd. Rumor has it there were a thousand there. The hall was lined with exhibitor tables and samples of things.
- Really, really interesting table decorations put together by "Bella" who was one of the exhibitors. Watch for this lady: I believe she will be a really, really big name in local floral design (not that I know anything about big names in local floral design. I just really, really liked her concepts). Her table decorations were little vignettes of natural things, like little birds nests, moss, simple white flowers (just a few) and simple containers. One she used was a white peony stuck in a white goose egg placed on moss. (sorry my picture didn't turn out).
- Finding a parking space on the street (read "free") just a block from the venue (the parking prayer worked yet again)
- Seeing all the people involved in pulling off this show which was produced for under $1,000. Lots and lots of time volunteered.
- Speaking (briefly) with the young woman whose home was featured in the show.
- Getting home (on a "school night" before 10:00 PM) Thank you Judy and Joyce for giving up early for my sake!
The show's premise is sort of like "Queer Eye" where a panel of experts in various things show up at a home, send the family off, go through the home and identify areas for improvement, bring the family back in and then instruct them on how to be better. In this case everything was focused on having a smaller carbon footprint: becoming more sustainable. The family, in this case, were certainly not starting at "crisis mode." They live a simple life, not huge consumers or blatant environment offenders. The panel of experts to work with included a professional chef, a landscaper, a home products expert (she focused on cleaning and personal care supplies); energy experts; transportation; outdoor/nature enthusiasts; and some others I've apparently forgotten.
We were there because of Judy's connection to the featured chef, Becky Selengut. Her blog, Chef Reinvented, is wonderful, and coincidentally linked in my favorites. She got to go through the family kitchen and point out problems with corn sugar syrup and trans fats. She pulled out a package of sausage from the refrigerator full of nasty stuff which coincidentally I had seven just like in my fridge at home as I was taking them to JRC for breakfast the next morning (well they were on "managers special" at a really low price which is what we buy when feeding forty kids on no budget!) She also pointed out the farm bred shrimp from Asia, which, even after learning in the show that they are bred with lots of antibiotics and processed stuff, I still bought because they were also on sale and I had to grab something to take to an Olympics Opening Ceremony thing but that's another blog entry if I get around to it). The products person gave them tips on better things to buy and spent far too much time talking about her use of "feminine products" suggesting she use some terrifyingly named thing called a "menstrual cup." WTF? I am so, so glad I am fully done with having to make that environmental decision. I believe the show lost at least half of the potential audience with that discussion (the men...I mean men are even more embarrassed when Tampax commercials come on the TV than women. And as a woman I can tell you that I was always embarrassed too if such a commercial came on if any man i.e. son, wasband, etc. were also in the room). Two lovely twins pointed out the monster oil furnace and leaky windows eating more than this family's fair share of available energy.
While it was really fun to go to a premier event and spend a fun evening with friends (and eat a really good dinner) me thinks this show will probably not make it to a TV near you. Frankly, people who are really environmental enthusiasts don't sit around and watch much TV. While some of the information was new to me, most were things I already knew (take the bus sometimes instead of driving, buy healthier food, have a good furnace and tight windows). One didn't look at this family and say "wow, look how these losers were totally transformed." First of all they weren't losers: they were nice, normal people, who were actually really good sports for letting these guys come in and point out how they are screwing up themselves and the environment. Secondly: no huge, or at least visible transformation. At the end of the show they (and we) were maybe more aware and committed to doing a little bit better. But the realities of how much time and money one needs to be the perfect stewards of our environment don't all translate into what can reasonably be done in the course of a TV show. And I'm sorry, but they lost me at the menstrual cup!