Behind the Scenes

When I came to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a fellow food-lover introduced me to Slow Food UW café lunches. During my freshman year, I made the trek down University Avenue to attend those lunches almost every week.

As I began learning more about Slow Food UW, I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at chopping vegetables and volunteer with the café meal prep. I went to The Crossing Church one Tuesday night with my friend, Lizzie. We chopped vegetables and made conversation with other volunteers and interns.


AL: I’ve always loved food, but I’ve never been much of a cook. This made me a little nervous about volunteering at Slow Food UW. However, I wanted to learn more about Slow Food Café’s meal preparation process, so I decided to go with my friend, Lizzie Grams. One Tuesday night, Lizzie and I entered The Crossing Church…

NAT sound: walking up steps, sound of the door opening

AL: …and were greeted by Alana McKeever, external membership intern at Slow Food UW.

NAT SOT: Lizzie and I saying hello to the interns, pleasantries exchanged

AL: We were asked to sign a volunteer form. After signing in, we were set to work. We were given aprons, giant knives and cutting boards. One of the volunteers taught us how to chop tomatoes to size. Other volunteers and interns worked on chopping vegetables and preparing whole chickens. The kitchen was filled with the sound of knives hitting the counter and Adele blaring from a radio in the corner of the room.

NAT sound: knives chopping and Adele playing

AL: After finishing the tomatoes, we moved onto the onions. Cutting onions was a bit more difficult. About five minutes in, the tears started flowing.

NAT SOT Lizzie: “Why, why now? …Ooof.”

AL: Lizzie had an especially hard time. There are six different café interns who spend every Tuesday afternoon and night in the basement of The Crossing preparing for the Wednesday café lunches.

NAT sound: interns conversing, wooden spoon banging on a pan

AL: The hour that we chopped tomatoes and onions went by quickly. Lizzie and I left, hands smelling of onions, with plans to come to the café lunch the next day.


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