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!