Food Among The Flowers

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
— Virginia Woolfe

I agree. And, if you're wondering who I am, my name is Leslie Montana and I'm the artist featured on this website. Food Among The Flowers is inspired by the times we live in, much like my artwork.

Exquisite Paintings on the Nature of Flowers is a body of work based on a sophisticated visual analysis of nature's frequencies = LOVE. Ongoing, and now in phase two.

Some backstory, my qualifications
It might comfort you to know that I'm the former co-owner of a successful restaurant and catering business called Blue Sky Cafe, New American Bistro that was active in the early 1990s. Serving the NY/NJ metropolitan area, our highly sought-after dining experience started as a dream and an experiment that grew exponentially from inception.

Around that time, I owned and operated a busy design and advertising agency that I eventually closed to open my studio gallery down the street from the restaurant. I was also on the board of the Arts Council in Essex County, teaching art at Essex County Community College, and venturing into computers, which provided cutting-edge design possibilities that had never before been seen. Busy and demanding times.

At Blue Sky Cafe, we mostly hired professional chefs and staff. However, I know my way around the kitchen and have had the privilege of hosting and managing many events. My interest in food, arts, culture, health, and community, has always been prominent. However, some of my priorities have changed since the early 1990's.

Change is here, more on the way
If you're reading this, you'd probably agree that we are on the edge of big changes that are exciting, scary, and possibly quite challenging. With all that in mind, I offer you Food Among the Flowers to help balance the stress, and bring us together in ways that make us happier, healthier, and stronger. Nourishment is critical and it happens on many levels.

It's 2024. What's cooking?
The menu for Sunday Dinner's will depend largely on what's available at the markets, and how much is donated.

The Sauce Connection
A standard Sunday menu item everyone loves, and I plan on leading with, is a slow-cooked, meat-based tomato sauce made with pork, beef, lamb, or all three. Known as Red Sauce, Sunday Ragu, or Meat Sauce it's served over pasta, polenta, or sometimes cannelloni, and is a beloved classic. Other favorite dishes, such as oven-roasted chicken and potatoes, and a myriad of side dishes too numerous to name here, could potentially show up on our table too. Standard in our house was bitter broccoli, also known as broccoli rabe, potato croquettes, and a salad of tender mesclun greens. In Mediterranean households, fresh fruit always completes the meal. These days, sourdough bread, fermented vegetables, and something sweet for dessert.

A good appetite is important for good health. Dining well with friends, even better.

Are we there yet?
Is your mouth watering? No? Are you on a special diet? Carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten sensitive, allergies? Let me know your needs/preferences and I'll do my best to accommodate where possible. Let's see what works best for everyone, within reason of course.

Getting ready
In preparation, I'll be on the lookout for the freshest, most alive, vital, and clean produce can find. If it's not FDA organic, but I know the source and it's unsprayed and basically organic, I will consider it. The number of people who donate to fund the event will determine what I'm able to purchase and how much. It's going to take some planning and coordination but will all come together the day of with some element of surprise for all of us.

Stone Soup. Have you heard of it?
There's a special kind of magic when everyone contributes. Do what you can. Give what you can. Options in the drop-down menu here allow you to donate more than the minimum suggested amount. Thank you in advance for your generous support! Your donations help fund this project.

Note: If you are raising and/or have access to animals and products from pasture-raised, organically fed, ethically treated, non-GMO, cleaned, and ready to cook, please consider donating your raw food product. You can even have things shipped directly to me from your suppliers. Produce, animal, or fresh vegetables, especially during the growing season are welcome. Contact me to coordinate.

Our Peer Group
This event is not open to the general public. You know what I mean, and you know who you are. We're all different but on the same page with what matters most. Knowing who our peers are is naturally supportive. It makes us stronger.

I hope you'll join us for Food Among the Flowers' first event; a Sunday Dinner.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Leslie Montana