“There’s life and vitality and messiness and ugliness—but real-ness.”
When I heard that my friend Annemarie was hosting together with Suzy Castermans the sixth Kinfolk Magazine Gathering in Belgium, I absolutely wanted to be at this wonderful event.
The Kinfolk Magazine Gatherings take place in more than 25 locations all over the world on exactly the same day. The idea is to bring together a community of like minded people who do not know each other, and to bring them together around a meal to embrace life’s unique qualities through innovative dishes, a warm community feel and a respect for nature’s whims. It is very important to feel on these events the Kinfolk principles of hospitality, simplicity and generosity.
It’s a nice thought that in 25 cities ( think San Francisco, Perth, Portland, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Barcelona, NY and many more) people are eating together on the same day, around the same theme.
As always, the inspiration for the gathering came from a Kinfolk Magazine issue. This one was the result of the content of the autumn edition, the Imperfect Issue where the theme wabi-sabi runs trough the entire magazine. To celebrate the release of this issue, Kinfolk wanted to focus on the messier parts of life and the fact that authentic community doesn’t live behind a mask of perfection. Wabi-sabi is a difficult concept to define. In fact, it’s one those phrases that some would consider untranslatable from the original Japanese. This ancient idea Wabi-sabi embodies so many of the principles Kinfolk Magazine holds eminent: earthiness, orientation toward the present, simplicity, unpretentiousness and a casual comfortability with perceived flaws.
The challenge was to embrace the beauty found in the organic and impermanent, focusing less on a “perfect” aesthetic and instead making a meaningful meal to be remembered by all who attend.
“Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things.”
So the gathering was organized under the fun name ‚a messy meal’, to underline the beauty of the Wabi-Sabi principles. Annemarie and Suzy found the perfect ‚un-perfect’ location, in an industrial pop-up community building, ready to be torn down. It’s called KERK, and serves as a temporary spot for young artist exhibitions, community gatherings and neighborhood activities.
About 40 people got lucky to be the first to buy their seat on Kinfolk table, and as was expected, we had a great and loving evening.
We started with a tea or a wine tasting, as a starter. The ones who received a nut at the beginning of the evening, had the excitement of a tea experience, as I did.
Later, for the simple but very tasty diner, the guys & girls from Sir Catering created dishes only with two or three ingredients to keep it pure and tasteful.
We met some lovely people at the Kinfolk table. Some guys from Amsterdam who turned out to be great fun! We’re gonna see each other again, that’s a fact. See you in Amsterdam or Ghent, Marcel and Sarah!
“Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.”
If you would like to keep up to date, subscribe to the Kinfolk newsletter or here. #kinfolkgatherings2014
As we were asked by Kinfolk Magazine to enjoy the company and the meal, and not to be too occupied with the usual sharing on social media, all of the above pictures were taken by photographer Melissa Milis.