What is Suppers?
Suppers is a learn-by-doing program for people who want more vibrant health. People gather in places where there is a kitchen -- mostly in private homes -- and prepare delicious meals together using whole, fresh food. Suppers is nearly free to users; participants just cover the cost of making the meal, about $8 to $12 depending on the menu. Beyond that, individual facilitators offer a wide variety of experiences based on their interest, including meetings oriented to a specific diagnosis like diabetes to meetings based on eating style like vegetarian or low carb to prevention-focused meetings for mothers who want to raise healthy children.
What is a meeting like?
All meetings have a food component, usually the preparation and eating of a delicious meal of whole, fresh foods. We read a few minutes of Suppers literature, enjoy a meal together, and discuss an announced theme. At many meetings we check in with each other about experiments we are running to see how certain foods make us feel, new strategies we are trying to improve our habits, observations we are making as our taste buds change in favor of healthier foods. The members help with clean up, and the whole experience lasts from an hour and a half to two hours.
How do I find a meeting or figure out which one is right for me?
You can look at Our Calendar, but it is always necessary to confirm attendance. Each meeting is hosted by a facilitator who is opening his or her home and buying groceries for you, so solid RSVPs are necessary. Therefore, there must be personal communication with the facilitator prior to every meeting.
How much does it cost to attend a meeting?
That depends on the menu, but you can assume $8 to $12, with special meals a bit more.
What kind of food do you make and eat?
Suppers has no food biases EXCEPT that we cook with single, whole, fresh ingredients. Our primary interest is the integrity of the ingredients we work with. There are no milled grains or sugars. Dairy and processed foods are very limited. We create a culture of tolerance around food that allows us to serve vegetarians and meat eaters harmoniously at the same table. Individual meetings may have a special focus (vegan, paleo, low carb, etc.), but at general meetings there is broad tolerance of different eating styles.
What if I don't know how or don’t like to cook?
You'd be perfect for Suppers! The only requirement for membership is the desire to lead a healthier life. If you want to learn to prepare delicious food, we'll teach you. If you'd rather pour water and set the table, that's service, too.
What if I have certain food restrictions, sensitivities or allergies?
Suppers might still work for you. We require that people with special concerns attend the cooking portion of the meeting to make sure that no problematical ingredients end up in your food. You are invited and welcome. And, if you have a very specific, critical concern such as nut allergy, Celiac disease, or salt-free food, we would love to help you facilitate your own Suppers to serve others with the same challenge!
Will Suppers help me solve my health problems?
Possibly. Suppers is no substitute for treatment or therapy. That said, treatment and therapy are no substitute for healthy food and social connection. If your health problems require that you acquire healthier habits, Suppers is likely to help you.
Who attends meetings?
People who want to lead healthier lives. People usually create meetings based on a particular interest, as stated above. While there are no special requirements, participants are expected to be safe handling knives and equipment, observe house rules, wash their hands, communicate respectfully, and engage in the corrective social experience provided by Suppers.
What materials can I bring to someone I know who may benefit from this program?
You can easily print out our brochure. Even better is to share our book, Logical Miracles. But don't forget to take a jar of leftovers! There is no better way of convincing someone to try the program than letting them taste for themselves how delicious our food is.
Is it more effective to stay with one group/meeting/time, or can I mix and match meetings?
That's up to you and the facilitators of your meetings. There are a few closed meetings with very specific tasks to accomplish, and these need committed, stable membership. But most of the meetings are open and welcome anyone who is interested in the stated theme of the meeting.
Is it OK to go to more than one Suppers meeting per week?
We're really glad you asked the question. Yes, we want you to work the program.
Can you explain your fees?
Our programs range from no-cost pure mission delivery to pure fundraisers, with most events falling in between. Our “signature meetings" are run by volunteer facilitators for roughly the cost of the food and operate at a considerable loss. We have value-added events with additional overhead costs, for which we recoup part but not all of our expenses. These are usually designated as “workshops” on our calendar. In addition, we have fee-based programs which provide some income to create a more sustainable future for Suppers by covering administrative and food costs, honoraria, plus a modest amount of income for the organization. These are in the pilot stage as of this writing.
What if I sign up for a meeting but have to cancel?
If you can't attend a meeting for which you registered, please contact the facilitator right away to let her/him know. For meetings that require pre-payment online, Suppers can refund up to 48 hours prior to the event. After that, you may personally gift the seat to another person, but no refund or credit is available. There is also no refund or credit if you sign up for a series (group of meetings) and miss a meeting or session.
Can I keep my health issues private?
We have the opportunity but not the obligation to share at meetings. That said, we recognize that over time, part of the healing lies in losing the shame and the secrets. Suppers members are obliged by the culture of the program to refrain from what is said and who is seen at meetings. So if you do reveal something personal, it will stay in the room.
Will there be attendees with issues like me?
Maybe. You can select to attend general meetings where the focus is more on food preparation and camaraderie or disease-specific meetings like those for people with diabetes, auto-immune diseases, digestive problems, etc.
I do not want to be in violation of Suppers rules. Can you explain in more detail what you mean by "refraining from the promotion of any particular diet, product or service"?
Thanks for asking! We don't allow our meetings to turn our members into a marketplace. So salesy messages are not allowed. A practical example: If you want to share a personal experience with a nutrient or mention the name of a doctor who helped you, that's fine. If you want to persuade others to buy the product or give handouts for a practitioner or service, that would not be allowed.
Are there any events, other than meetings, that I can attend?
Of course. We understand that everyone won't be comfortable just coming to a private home to cook with a kitchenful of strangers. We have at least once-monthly introductory experiences in and around Princeton in public venues so you can meet us first. Please check out Our Calendar for more information.
What if I want to try this program but I don’t live in the area?
At the moment, facilitator training is available only in New Jersey. As the program grows, we will be able to offer more in the way of distance learning. That said, we want to hear from you! The need for The Suppers Programs is nationwide; fulfillment will take awhile.
Can I start a program like this where I live?
We want you to inquire. At this writing, our focus is on creating a strong regional model. We aren't sure yet how Suppers will scale. Growing, preparing and eating real, whole, fresh food is a local phenomenon. The healing takes place one mouthful, one person, one family at a time in a physical location. Anything so attached to real time, physical bodies, and the act of eating is not going to go viral, but it can become a national movement.