Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese + Thoughts on Ferguson
Today, I’m sharing this simple summer appetizer made with sweet roasted cherry tomatoes and a mound of warm tangy goat cheese. Plus, I share why I believe in the power of neighbor food.
Friends, I have to be honest. My heart has been heavy the past few weeks. The weight of the news coming out of Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and Ferguson is pressing in on me.
If I’m even more honest, I’ll tell you I want to ignore it. I don’t want to look at the pictures, read the articles, take the time to let myself mourn, grieve, and get angry for all the people who are suffering. It’s so much easier to keep things light. I prefer to read funny articles, watch a silly YouTube video, and occupy myself with making good food for you all.
But these things are happening, and they’re closer than we might imagine. The images from Ferguson, especially, have invaded my days. Crowds of young black men standing with their arms in the air with the words “Don’t Shoot. My hands are up!” scrawled on T-shirts and neon colored posters.
I can’t help but weep as the images flash before me. It’s not just a little neighborhood in St. Louis I see staring back at me. It’s my neighborhood. It’s my neighbors I see in those photos.
I’ve been to enough vigils in my community to know. I’ve seen the way communities are worn down, the way trust is lost, the way anger and despair fester beneath the surface. There is real pain here. Real loss. Real injustice.
I want to talk about solutions. I want to talk about racism, the militarization of the police, failing schools, and cycles of poverty. I want to talk about how we got here and how we move forward. But I feel like today is not the day to do all of that.
I feel like today is the day to grieve. Today is the day to recognize that a life was lost. Today is the day to mourn with a community that is missing their son, brother, classmate, friend.
Today is the day to gather at the table. It’s a day to bring our casserole dishes, our anger, our pain, our confusion, our misunderstanding, and our grief, and spread it out like a potluck before us. Let’s all pull up a chair–white police officers, you come. Young black men, join us. Grandmothers and teenagers, we need you. Elected officials? You’re welcome here (but leave the campaign material at home). Educators and high school drop outs and social workers and coaches and teen moms and pastors–the table is open, and we need your voice.
Maybe it’s just a wild dream of mine, but I believe there’s healing at the table. And if a solution is going to come from anywhere, it’s going to start there. It’s going to start with garlic bread and spaghetti. It’s going to start with not ignoring the news. It’s going to start with inviting our neighbors (the crazy ones, the black ones, the liberal ones, the conservative ones, the old ones…you get it) to share a meal at our tables. It’s going to start with sharing our stories, and listening, really listening, to each other.
It’s at the table where our common humanity is most apparent. It’s at the table where we sit as equals, each of us hungry, each of us with our own heartbreaks, our own hangups, our own gifts and wisdom. This is where we learn from each other. This is where we affirm each other’s dignity. This is where we start.
I’m bringing Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese to the table. It’s simple summer fare. Easy to make. Easy to eat. There’s nothing particularly special about it, or about anything else I make, really, except that it might just have the ability to transform our relationships and our communities if we give it the chance. All it takes is setting the table, flinging open the doors, and opening our hearts to whoever shows up. That’s truly neighbor food, and I hope it’s the start of healing.
How Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Can Help Ferguson Heal
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 Tablespoons Olive oil
- Kosher or Sea Salt
- A few pinches sugar
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 french baguette, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- Fresh basil and olive oil for drizzling
If you'd like to make this gluten free, don't make the toasted baguette bread and instead serve with gluten free crackers or vegetables.
I was just checking out your post for a round up and had to comment on how thoughtful your piece is–months later, it speaks to me. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Angela. I’m glad it still holds weight all these months later. Thanks for reading. <3
This recipe was dee-li-cious! Courtney, I know what you mean about our world. It can be so depressing but we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and spread His message of salvation that saves
this world from these sad events. We need the heart changes that Christ gives. 🙂 Love you!
I’m so glad you liked it! You’re right, we do need Christ and heart changes. I hope that starts by inviting people to join us at the table.
I live in Calif. but my mom was born and raised in STL. and my unc is still there so i understand that there has to be some kind of healing coming. please know that many folks are praying for a solution that works for all sides.
I also live in STL, although not in Ferguson. This piece was beautifully written and exactly on point. We need to use this time to come together…everyone…and learn from the experience and work towards building these relationships for the good of everyone.
Much love to you. 🙂
Thanks Lisa. So good to hear from someone that’s close to the situation. If more of us have this approach, I think there’s hope!
Courtney, I got chills reading this honest, eloquent, beautiful post. I’ve been feeling the same way. Every day, I read articles about Gaza, Ferguson, ebola, the stripping away of women’s reproductive rights, humans being shitty to other humans, and its demoralizing. It’s depressing. It feels hopeless. I also want to ignore what’s happening but that would be adding to the problem. We need to face things and work together to make a change. And coming together at the dinner table would be a wonderful place to start.
I get overwhelmed by all of this stuff so easily that I tend to just shut down and block it out. I feel like I have so few tools to actually make a difference, but food is one thing I do know, and it seems as good a place as any to start.
Courtney, this is a beautiful post, and I completely agree that the table is a place to find unity and healing. Thank you for sharing your reflection, and for bringing this beautiful dish.
Thanks so much Erin. <3
I love this post, Courtney. Yes, I totally agree that healing can start at the table. And this dish a great one to bring. 🙂
Thanks dear. <3
I love your honesty in this post. It is very hard to keep watching the news and all of the sadness…everywhere. I am with you on wanting to keep things light, but sometimes it is hard to do that. In other news, I love goat cheese and tomatomes. I love bread. This is a great,simple dish packed with flavor; my favorite kind of meals!
Thanks Nichole. I appreciate you sharing!
I couldn’t agree more…real healing can be done around the table. I share some of the same feelings you shared. It’s just so close to home, yet I feel a little helpless, and also just want to ignore it because change seems so daunting. Beautiful words, Courtney!
Thanks Cassie. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It’s so difficult to know what to do, which is why I tend to go back to the one thing I do know: food. It seems as good a place as any to start.