When you live in a one-room apartment in the farther reaches of the Lower East Side, the secret of entertaining becomes quickly clear.
"You only have people who want to be here," explains George Minot, a writer from the writing Minots of Massachusetts. His first novel, "The Blue Bowl," will be published by Alfred A. Knopf next year.
A cornflower-blue afternoon breeze bestirs the pleasant aromas of home cooking. About 12 people are expected for supper. Minot prepares the meal -- meatless, eggless and dairy free -- improvising with recipes from "The Voluptuous Vegan," the cookbook he wrote with Myra Kornfeld of Angelica Kitchen fame.
"Whole foods, healing, yoga, satsang, peace," Minot says. "Foods that energize and heal." There is daikon and turnips for the African groundnut stew. Swiss chard will be sauteed with olives and shiitake and bella mushrooms.
Asked to remember one dish that typifies the sort of food he grew up eating, Minot closes his eyes. He pictures a Teflon frying pan with fried eggs. "The S.A.D. diet," he says. "Standard American diet. Nothing epicurean."
About five years ago, ulcerative colitis prompted him to seek an alternative to pills and surgery. Through fasting and macrobiotics, he says, "a degenerative condition became a regenerative condition."
As he had always loved to cook, he did not want to forsake fine cuisine for "monasticism." Thanks to Kornfeld, whom he met in a workshop, he did not have to. "Myra has traveled the world and learned to marry flavors," Minot says, extolling the virtues of her kitchen globalism.
Minot's guests, mostly friends from yoga class, begin to assemble. A low table is moved into the kitchen area. His older sister, Susan Minot, whose novella "Rapture" will be published this winter, gathers pillows and sets them on the floor. Kristin Leigh, Minot's girlfriend, announces that two more guests are expected -- people she just met on the street.
The only decoration Minot wants for his buffet are photographs of his parents. A long om follows a moment of silence. Another period of silence will be called at the meal's end. The food is passed. There is wine and beer for those who want it. Minot doesn't drink.
"In the summer, when we're all in Maine, sometimes someone wants an ice cream cone," his sister Susan says. "Not around George, you might think. Not at all. He's taught us you can be bad, but know what it is to be good, too." (NY Times, 04. November 2001)