The Shared Table group meets every third Wednesday evening of the month, sharing a theme inspired meal.
Group Leader: Elizabeth Branagan
Sharing food – sharing life
It has been said, that the Greek philosopher Epicurus made the following statement, approximately 300 years BC: “We should look for someone to eat and drink with, before looking for something to eat and drink.” And as it seems, the ancient quote summarises the vision behind the Community House Shared Table Group surprisingly well. It is today run by Elizabeth Branagan, who is just as passionate about people as she is about good food. “Many tell me they can’t cook, but if you like eating, you are more than welcome,” Elizabeth says with a convincing smile. She continues to share how food has this amazing ability to bring people together; how it sparks friendships and challenges participants to break out of their comfort zones and try new things. Curious yet? Keep reading, and find out if the Shared Table could be something for you and your family.
The Community House Shared Table group was instigated by Jeanette Murray. ”Jeanette was the one who invited me to come along, but because I work, I first just started coming when I felt like I had time. Sometimes I didn’t cook, but I have a big vegetable garden so I used to bring pumpkins, herbs, whatever I had. There always seems to be an abundance of food! About thirteen months ago, then leader June DeBono stepped down, but as no one put their hand up to take over, I decided to do it. – On the premise that it became a collaborative effort. What we’ve found, is that it is not so much about how well you cook, but that you are prepared to try new things; try new recipes. Each month we walk away with some new knowledge and we’ve expanded our horizons in regards to what we know about food.” – “There have been quite a few recipes that we’ve gone home and tried because they’ve both been simple and very tasty,” Elizabeth’s husband Peter interjects.
Elizabeth’s husband Peter is also the one who helps do table setup for the group, which meets every third Wednesday of the month, mostly at the Community House on Prentice Street. “I also help get Elizabeth out of the door,” retired Major Peter Branagan says with an unmistakably loving, mischievous smile. The couple were married last July in the village of Blakesley in the English Midlands and went to Paris for their honeymoon. “It was on my bucket list!” Elizabeth continues. “And I turned 60 when I was there. We went out to Versailles and Monet’s gardens, it was absolutely beautiful!”
Love striking, at any age, is a marvellous thing. For Elizabeth and Peter it was love at first sight the day they accidentally ran into each other at the Race Club in Kilmore. “The only free chair in the whole place was opposite Peter, so it was meant to be!” Elizabeth explains. “You think that’s something you’d only read about, but it does happen!” Peter affectionately fills in.
Whether love is waiting for you at the Shared Table or not, it is for certain a group who welcomes anyone at any age and background. “We are currently fifteen to sixteen people who come regularly but I always encourage new people to come! Many I talk to say they can’t cook, but it’s enough if you like eating. That’s what it’s about. If people are time poor and can’t cook, just bring something else the group can share. The ‘shared part’ make up the basis of it all…”
The group mutually agrees on a theme from month to month. “It’s about expanding your horizons. In March we’re doing Mexican food and I’m supplying the Margaritas!” Elizabeth says with a contagious laughter, and if the Margaritas don’t seal the deal for you, I’m not sure what will.