When I arrived at the latest For Reals Meals lunch, I found out the hosts hadn’t have the best weeks ever. The company Jourdan worked for (Daily Candy) was closing and Dean found out that her sweet-ass design studio (where the lunch was held) had been bought and she was moving out. But like true southern women, they didn’t let it phase them and hosted with giant smiles on their faces (it also didn’t hurt they were serving huge glasses of fizzy lemon-gin champagne punch). The table they created was green gone wild, with big planty centerpieces and DIY mossy fun. It was a stunner.
Both Jourdan and Dean are from Kentucky. They grew up not too far from one another, but didn’t meet until last year in Chicago. Neither one of them grew up on anything close to a plant-based diet. Dean said that when she asked her mom for help with some recipes and told her she couldn’t use any butter, she reacted with shock and disbelief. But Dean and Jourdan were up for the challenge and seriously wowed us all with their menu (like, seriously WOWED):
Limoncello-soaked fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mint)
Garlic-leek gritcakes w/ Mama’s green tomato relish
Cream of zucchini soup w/sourdough croutons
Toasted farro & kale salad (w/pistachios and raisins, dried blueberries, currants)
Derby Pie (raw) with strawberries
Their guests included Kasey Mennie, Lauren Adel, and Carolina Mariana Rodriguez. Kasey is the Science Education Coordinator at the Field Museum in Chicago and filled us in on the all the secret relics hidden below the museum (we’re all scheming now to get a private tour). Lauren is a stylist/event guru and works all over the country doing her thing. And Carolina. Oh Carolina. She’s the reason why all of these photos are so incredible. She showed up with her camera (that’s what photographers do) and offered to shoot the lunch for this post – and I couldn’t be more grateful!
This lunch was one of my favorite meals I’ve had in a long time. Not just because Jourdan and Dean figured out how to make a plant-based Derby Pie…but because of how special the hosts and guests were. When’s the last time you sat down with a group of people you’ve never met before and then just talked for hours? It’s rare. Try it! In the next few weeks, invite a handful of people that you don’t really know very well and share a meal together. It might be scary at first, even a little intimidating. But I’m telling you, magical things start to happen. Inspired conversations and new friendships…just don’t forget the fizzy lemon-gin punch.
To see more Jourdan: Check out Jourdan’s site Fair Share for DIY crafts and cool finds and then follow her on Instagram for puppy love and inspiring adventures. BONUS! Jourdan gives the DIY guide to making the mossy placemats on her site!
PS: Thanks again to Carolina for shooting all these photo! You can see lots more of Carolina’s work here.