November 2012 & May 2013
What began as a community block party turned into a two-week collaborative food project that culminated with the unveiling of The Takeout Window. In collaboration with 9 “neighbor-cooks” (people from the block who know their way around the kitchen), chef and artist Maggie Lawson converted her home studio in North Oakland into a one-day sidewalk eatery. Complete with a stairs to walk up to the raised window and a seating area, the scene was set for day of story-telling, laughter, and of course, good eating.
The Takeout Window featured dishes that ranged from Zeida’s vegetarian tamale plates to Mario and Chris’s backyard wood fired pizzas.
The hungry and curious climbed the stairs to the Takeout Window where a once stranger shared a dish created from the heart. Friendly, instructive signs encouraged eaters to “Introduce yourself by name” and “Say see you all soon.”
Instead of setting prices, neighbor-cooks asked for a donation and the contributions became about the genuine exchange of gifts between neighbors. Cooks and eaters alike connected deeply to this spirit of generosity and donations more than covered the cost of the food.
The Takeout Window Edition 2013 included a food tour and neighborhood map by Chef Ikeena Reed. Chef Ikeena’s family had been in the neighborhood for four generations and she shared her family’s history as well as encouraged neighbors to share their stories. Historical photos of the neighborhood were included in the seating area looking at the progression of the neighborhood from the indigenous Ohlone to the 1990’s block party.