Transition Town: Community meal offers much to many while asking little in return

2012-11-28T09:49:00Z Transition Town: Community meal offers much to many while asking little in returnby Mike Frank La Crosse Tribune
November 28, 2012 9:49 am  • 

When does an ordinary meal out become a really interesting meal out? Well... when the food is great, the price is reasonable, the atmosphere is congenial, and there's no rush.

Sound too good to be true? Well, think again. Because it's happening right here in Viroqua, twice a month.

It's called the Community Meal and takes place in the basement of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month from 5-6:30 p.m.

The project was launched over a year ago by Virginia and John Goeke with much support and assistance from around the community, including the Good Shepherd staff which generously supplies its kitchen-dining facilities for the meals. The idea is to offer a complementary meal and casual dining experience open to all the community that provides folks a chance to meet new people and broaden our community base.

Food is donated by local grocers, food pantries, and growers and then prepared by volunteer “chefs” in the church kitchen. A typical meal usually includes a meat-based entree, a vegetarian entree, two to three  side dishes, two to three salads, fresh baked bread, dessert and beverage. And this is not your typical cafeteria-style fare. Virginia — accomplished cook and baker — oversees her kitchen crew with an eye toward creativity and innovation. Some past dishes have included spicy Serbian pork and cabbage, Mexicali beef-bean casserole, hearty Italian minestrone soup and creamy Thai coconut curry. Not to mention a wide variety of fragrant and tasty fruit crisps, bread puddings, cookies and cakes for dessert. Each meal promises a combination of delicious surprises.

Besides the food, the open atmosphere guarantees a fun and interesting mix of people from all walks of life. Over a low background din of plates and silverware, great people-watching abounds as Viroquans of all ages and backgrounds “mix it up” over good food. And on some occasions, musical instruments may even appear, providing strains of classical or folk music over lively table talk. So, if you haven't tried it yet and are looking for an easy-going meal out (with or without your family) come on down and join in. No reservations required.

Anyone interested in donating food or volunteering time to help, feel free to contact Virginia Goeke (go-key) at 606-2369.

“If everyone does something, then no one person will have to do everything.”

Mike Frank is a member of the Transition-Viroqua Steering Committee.

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