Sunday morning in Milan, the sun is shining, spring is coming and me, I’m getting up to enjoy my first social brunch.
This is not my first social eating experience, but still, I wonder how it will be.
I’m going with my friend Paola, met during a social dinner, and we’ re heading to the fondazione prada area, where some old factories have been transformed in lofts.
The place is like a hidden little village, really cute, a peaceful neighborhood where a dad is playing remote control car with his teenager son.
Once the secret spot found, we have the pleasure to get welcome by Enrico and Lidia. Lidia, has a warm smile that makes you at your ease immediately. The breakfast table is already dressed, a nice combo of colorful dishes and food that makes the table becoming a piece of art: between minimalism, retro and Nordic style. You can feel joy in the air just by looking at the table.
The others guests arrived and it’s not a surprise if we end with 9 girls for one guy, considering this latter came with his partner… I always wondered why men do not fancy social eating. I guess, they think that eating with perfect strangers in a formal manner is not the best way to make new friends. They probably prefer to sip a beer while watching a football game at the bar or use tinder...
Our host has been living 6 years in NYC, so it’s nice to see the influence on the recipes she makes: the cinnamon taste is present and the use of seeds and species as well. I could eat some crunchy peanut butter; it reminds me how I was missing it. Even if nowadays, you can find peanut butter in the supermarkets, the smaller groceries stores downtown don’t have it. I remember once I wanted to cook some meat with maple syrup. I had to go to an Asian run store to find the most expensive maple syrup I have ever bought.
Sharing a few hours with some strangers has always something unusual but enjoyable. The ritual of breakfast creates a sort of intimacy, where food is used to bond people that would have never met otherwise.
Like for Uber and Air B&B, there are a lot of noises around social eateries recently. Gnammo for example is attacked by the restaurants, those latter claiming unfair competition (no sanitary rules to follow for the privates). But I don’t see it as a competition. First, because often, a social event is more expensive than a dinner at the restaurant, so people that can afford a social meal, can pay for the restaurant. Second, because people that go there, look for something restaurants can’t offer in our countries nowadays. People pay for a social experience, people look over food, they look for bonding. It's funny as well, to see that people being there and self conscious they come there to be social, will forget their cell phone for a couple of hours (except for food pictures obviously) whereas maybe with their friends, they will be always connected. Irony ? Maybe, but pleasant.
Feel like trying the experience ? Besides the brunch, they do burger evenings. Register to the newsletter of nonsolofood (http://nonsolofood.com/).