Back in July, a day after cooking with Hannah Yaroslaw for the biggest Frank & Olive Crochet Retreat to date, I made a detour to Manchester on my way home, and stayed with my brother Bill for a few nights. A year before, we’d celebrated launching Generic Greeting’s first food zine that I edited with a huge meal for the GG collective, and it was so much fun that we decided to hold another massive meal on a roof in Chorlton.
This time around we cooked out of two kitchens, sold 30 tickets in advance and gave all the profits we made to Manchester Central Foodbank. Last year’s cooking had felt intense but it was nothing compared to the operation we got going in my brother’s kitchen this day- GG’s Joey Frances made fresh gazpacho the day before as a starter and brought huge loaves of bread to share, my brother made a fresh batch of hot sauce for everyone to douse their food in, his girlfriend, Laura Woodall, iced endless plates of homemade vegan donuts (which Jake Campbell also took over doing when we all needed showers), Will Berry made some last minute (and amazing) menus and signs for dishes and Rich James pulled off the no small feat of organising the entire thing, including donating all of the extra cash we made to the local foodbank.
I’d been cooking from 11am straight through to 7pm and when we were finally ready to serve, people had already started eating -which I think is the perfect sign of an irresistible table of food! I’ve never seen food disappear as quickly. As ever with cooking en masse, I didn’t fancy any of the food once it was ready, so plated up some for later- and I’m really pleased I did! After leaving the kitchen alone for fifteen minutes I came back to find every scrap of food gone- incredible!!
In the end we served more like four courses of food, until it was totally dark, everything was eaten and only the next level leftovers I'd made an extra special attempt to hide away could be saved for the next day.
Thanks Bill and Bill’s housemates for letting us take over your kitchen again and thanks to everyone that came and ate so much! It was magic. If you're reading this and want to hold a big vegan dinner like this for your friends- just do it! It's relatively easy to organise and if you ask for the money upfront you only ever need to spend what you can to feed the numbers of people attending. It's a great way to make new vegan pals and share vegan food with your community- good meals don't need an excuse!
Joey's homemade gazpacho
Hot dogs with buns
Pink pickled onions
Mac and no cheese with basil and chilli
Lettuce and seedy salad
Tomatoes with homemade spinach pesto
Chipotle mushroom tacos
Roasted turmeric cauliflower and pomegranate salad
Roasted vegetables with orzo and lemon juice
Brocolli, mange tou, chilli and tofu salad
Peach, red onion and sprout salad
Corn, black bean, mango and avo salad
Homemade donuts by Laura
Fried plantain by Joey
Hot dogs and buns
P.S. Manchester vegan guide 100% in the works and yes I know it’s about four years too late, my total bad.