Thursday, July 10, 2008


So we had a big meeting in High Park in Toronto. The Personal Development Committee, made up of staff and members of Vita Community Living Services, chose to have its summer meeting out of the office and in the park. We had much to celebrate, since inception we have provided either abuse prevention or relationship training to well over 200 people with disabilities in care. Add to this that the 'Rights Group' Vita's self advocate group is nearing its second year anniversary and the fact that we are just about ready to add anger management training, self esteem development to the roster of classes ... oh and we're investigating the possibility of offering self defense classes to members with disabilities as well. Yeah, I'm bragging on a bit, but I'm proud of this group of kids (they are all so young) and their accomplishments.

We'd had one potluck before wherein we discovered that this is a group that can cook! Incredible food made for a wonderful meeting. Last time Joe and I made vegetarian chili, but this time we had to make 'park food'. So I looked up in google for 'impressive salads to take on a picnic' and several hundred selections popped up. We chose the Frozen Pea Salad because it sounded good even on the page. We chopped and prepped as much as possible and then, arriving at the park, we mixed it all up together. It joined the risotto salad, the pasta and potato salads, the quiche, the peppers stuffed with shrimp and rice, the beef turnovers, the lemon tarts and cookies. There were more things but the memory capacity of the aging computer in my mind is dwindling.

The whole group ate for awhile and then the meeting began. For a couple of hours the focus was intense and it didn't matter that we were in a park, suddenly we were simply and only together. Discussing, updating, strategizing. Every single person in the group brought forward the best of themselves and wanted nothing more than to contribute. We've tried to eliminate politics and competition and create an atmosphere were creative risks are welcomed.

When the meeting was over, I felt like I'd been to two kinds of banquets. One for the body. One for the soul. It is possible, really possible, for people to come together in the spirit of service ... that idea refreshes me.

I wrote this blog for two reasons, one, I wanted to brag on about the group. But the other is I've always wanted to do a recipe blog. So here is the recipe for ....

the Frozen Pea Salad ...

16 oz frozen petite peas

6 oz chopped smokehouse almonds

8 oz water chestnuts

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2/3 cup mayo

3 tsp hot curry powder

Mix together peas, chestnuts, green onions.

Mix together mayo and curry powder.

Mix pea mixture with mayo mixture.

Mix in almonds just before serving.

Do not thaw peas before making!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to each and everyone as a committee. You have had a major impact on the lives of our members. The work you have done has been an inspiration to me and is being recognized far beyond Vita. Your committee is like the perfect recipe; a mixture of wisdom, enthusiasm, and creativity blended with a strong essence of Rights. Something we should all savour. (Might try the pea salad too and can I get the risotto recipe!). Thank-you for sharing

Anonymous said...

MMMM...I love pea salad and this recipe is different than any I have ever made. I can't wait to try it out! Dave, I sure wish you lived close to me. (I'm in Texas) I have had to make it up as I have gone along in raising and educating my daughter. We live in a small town without many resources for anyone with special needs. The things you write about that your orginization offers are just wonderful. I really wish we could just clone you, many times over, and have you everywhere you are needed! Have you written any books and are they available in the USA? I would love to read them. Please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Duh...I forgot to put my name on that last post that starts with MMMM. My e-mail addy is if you could let me know about any books you have written that I could buy. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

reading this blog makes me even prouder to be part of e PDC!

Anonymous said...

Dave - tried the pea salad for a big family dinner - fresh peas are in season here so I used them - recipe was a big hit - it is now in my recipe file as Dave's Pea Salad - Thanks!

Dave Hingsburger said...

colleen ... you made my day ... Dave's pea salad! Like I said, I always wanted to do a recipe blog, and I chose this recipe because I really liked it. Glad you did too.