Who Needs to Cook?

March 22, 2018

Written by Art Petrosemolo

It might have been the hope of Garden Spot Village administrators that the new Sycamore Springs Residents worked quickly to form a community on the other side of South Kinzer Avenue. And we did with get-togethers on the patio in early summer and events at our community building during the last several months. Now, it has come down to house to house, where, if you don’t want to, you really don’t have to cook!

Oh yes, I can hear you think. We all don’t have to cook – that’s why GSV built The Harvest Table and other restaurant options. Well yes, that’s true, but, from the Outpost (507 Keyser) where Tina and I became the first Sycamore Springs residents in December 2016, it is .75 miles to the Village Square. It isn’t an impossible walk, but it’s not a stroll either, so although many of us here find our way to The Harvest Table, you plan it and then usually drive.

What has developed here has—at least in Sycamore Commons—are unplanned meal shares.

Tina Petrosemolo still thinks she cooks for three or more with an adult son who ate anything and a lot of it. I have encouraged her to subscribe to one of those meal-delivery services like Blue Apron since we moved here but she is not interested. They send you a box with three or four meals, with all the ingredients, ready to prepare and cook and proportioned for two. Well, nice try Art….that hasn’t happened.

To be honest, I am not a “leftover” eater. Plan it, cook it, eat it and get rid of what’s left. Don’t plan on putting away stuff for lunch or dinner…. Or down the road when two weeks later, I find it at the bottom of the refrigerator.

As a kid, I had a good friend and we both always helped our moms clean out the refrigerator even if she hadn’t planned on it….. we routinely took inventory and if it looked more than five days old, we tossed it. I never lost the habit.

But I regress.

So, as Tina continued to cook gigantic meals and I continued to dump the leftovers a day later, we decided it was best to “share.” So, if Tina now is cooking something big and she sees one of our neighbors while out and about, she’ll mention it and say, would you like to join us for dinner? If they are unavailable, she’ll offer to bring over some so they might eat the next day.

Well one thing has led to another and you learn pretty quickly who likes this and who likes that and who can’t eat dairy and who likes hot dogs and who is Catholic and doesn’t eat meat on Friday and the like.

So completely unplanned, the folks around the first homes of Sycamore Commons are sharing this and that and a little of the other thing. Someone knocks on the door and hands you scalloped potatoes. Yesterday, you shared beef soup with them.

You know someone’s husband is working late so you call and invite them for dinner, which is a treat for them and fun for us.

Recently friends here heard I liked chili but Tina does not make it often. Within a week, I had four different containers to try (with and without beans). I was in heaven.

And the bonus is almost every week, someone is baking cookies, brownies or something sweet and sharing is the name of the game.

At Christmas three other couples who were not going to be with family that day got together and shopped for a standing rib roast, and everyone made vegetables and enjoyed each other’s company at a holiday dinner. I am sure it will happen again.

And eating together and sharing meals and goodies has led to eating out together to try different, local, Lancaster County restaurants. Someone who likes roast beef suggests one of the Thursday night “roast beef specials” that seem to be popular here and three couples try it.

I am sure this goes on at other living quarters at Garden Spot and with cottages and carriage houses closer together and with folks living in apartments seeing their neighbors probably several times a day, it is understandable. Who would have guessed it would happen in the free-standing housing community? But how great that it did.
Garden Spot advertised Sycamore Springs as a new community and surely “crossed their fingers” as you can build houses but you can’t force a community. Well, no need to worry, it happened, and that’s a good sign for future free-standing homes in the long range plans.

So, if you didn’t cook tonight and the weather is good, just take a stroll around Sycamore Commons….there’s a good chance someone might ask you if you want to join them for dinner or try a new casserole.

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