There’s a long standing tradition in Louisiana that Monday is “Wash Day”. Way back in the good old days, all of the families in the community would come together on Mondays to wash the laundry for the week. In the morning everyone would throw their share of red beans into a kettle along with some onions and smoked salt pork, and it would simmer away alongside the kettles used to heat up water for the wash. So just as the last of the sheets, shirts, and unmentionables were being hung out to dry, the beans would be ready for a communal supper. Some folks would cook off some rice, others brought cornbread, and in the summertime everybody would pitch in veggies to make a big garden salad. Now that’s what I call creating community through food! This is yet another great example of why I love to look back at a culture’s cuisine to learn lessons that will help shape our community here in the Bay. So how can we use what we’ve learned about the importance of cooperative cooking and it’s impact on community building?
That’s where Jimmy “The Shrimp” Galle comes in. Jimmy owns and operates a small, sustainable seafood company named “Gulfish”, specializing in beautiful head-on shrimp, flounder, snapper and much more. All of the products he carries are the fruits of individual relationships with single boat fisherman, and Jimmy is a constant supporter of the communities around the gulf coast. After the 2010 Gulf Coast Oil Spill, Jimmy rallied all of us restaurants and seafood purveyors for a big Dine Out for the Gulf Coast fundraiser–his support is tireless.
Jimmy and I have for a while kicked around the idea of bringing red beans back to Mondays by cooking up some grub for under served people in the Bay Area. So last week I fired a pot of beans, put on some rice, and our bakers at the Creamery baked off some cornbread. Jimmy showed up in his pickup truck with a couple of coolers and we loaded the beans and rice right off the stove, hot into the coolers. We then took off armed with solo cups and bottled water and headed into the Tenderloin. When the smoke cleared, we had served over 200 bowls of beans and rice to some very appreciative folks. Best part is, I checked in with Gulfish a few days later, and they told me they have an all-star lineup of restaurants and markets signed up to keep the Monday bean tradition alive!
In Jimmy’s words, “Next week the Chez Panisse crew’s gonna throw down their version of this New Orleans Monday night classic…also on tap are Frances, Slanted Door, Boulettes Larder, Sushi Ran and TownHall, ready to lend us a hand in feeding the bay area’s under served a meal of substance with a smile and dignity. All we need now is you. Want to be part of it? We’re looking for kitchens who can do this with us one Monday a year. We can all do it together. You cook it, we will serve it. If you want more info, contact me and I will give you the full story…thanks.” If you want us to put you in touch with Jimmy, comment on this blog with your email address and we’ll connect you!