Sunday, April 26, 2015

Changing tastes mark our development


From page A12 | April 27, 2014 |

My women’s group has been meeting every week for 37 years. For a writer, this could have meant several lifetimes of things to write about, but all our discussions are private. I can, however, tell you our food story. Every group has one.

First, a little background on the group.

We came out of the ’70s when a new feminism emerged and was nourished, in part, by small “consciousness raising” groups. Ours was sponsored by the women’s center at UC Davis and designed for local women who were professionals or intended to become professionals.

Two social workers facilitated the group for 10 weeks, after which the women decided to go independent and meet in each others’ homes. One of the social workers remained as a member until she moved away.

In 1978 I joined, 36 years ago. The pair we call the “newbies” joined 22 years ago. Our membership is stable at seven.

My first meeting was at a home in Dixon. When I walked in, I encountered a friendly group of strangers and a table full of food. I think we consumed an entire meal, which intimidated me because I don’t like to cook.

But I fell in love with the group. We talked about our struggles and our hopes, offered each other advice and sometimes took it. We cared for each other.

Not long after I joined, food traditions became more to my liking. No more meals, but the hostess would serve beverages and at the midpoint, dessert.

After about 10 years, when we had acquired most of the members we have now, we noticed that one beverage, cranberry-flavored sparkling water, had become the group favorite. Soon “red bubbly” was the only drink we served.

Another 10 years passed, and tradition changed again. We had become older (age range 35-66) and started paying attention to calories. Soon everyone was serving “white bubbly,” sparkling water without the juice.

We didn’t give up our sweets. Some members baked. Others bought treats from places like Konditorei or the Nugget. We ate out or had potlucks rarely — less than once a year — but we didn’t skimp on birthdays, which always included cake and ice cream.

Members who preferred salt over sugar would stage minor rebellions and serve popcorn or chex mix — along with the weekly dessert. Although most of us drink alcohol outside of the group, we never served it at meetings.

Meanwhile, babies were being born, children were growing up, jobs were changing, and marriages took place or fell apart. Through it all, we paused in every meeting at the midpoint to drink white bubbly and have our snack.

More years passed. Our ages range now from 55-86.

A few months ago, our food traditions changed again. One of our members developed diabetes, an illness that required her to cut down on sweets. In support of her effort, we agreed to give up our snack. There have been murmurs about adding healthy foods back in, like apples, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’m struck that just as a marriage unites two people to create a new entity, a group of seven women have become our own little demographic with our own traditions, our own likes and dislikes.

Other groups serve wine and cheese (too expensive) or sit down for whole meals (too time-consuming) or eat at the end of their meeting (likely to disturb our sleep). Compared to the food traditions of other groups, I’d call ours “spare” but perhaps that’s because we meet every week.

Recently, we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our members. It was hard to find the right place. After all these years, no one hesitates to offer her opinion.

“I can’t digest Chinese.”

“I don’t like Italian.”

“I never go out to eat, so let’s choose some place nice.”

“That place is too expensive.”

“I want a round table.”

“Would you accept rectangular?”

“We need a quiet place so we can hear.”

Negotiations begin. We know we’ll reach consensus.

In the beginning, we were young professionals looking towards careers and agreeing to raise our consciousness.

Some of us have had careers (teacher, doctor, scientist), and some of us have not. I don’t know if our consciousness was raised in the conventional, feminist sense. We care about women’s issues, but we rarely discuss feminist politics.

We talk about our struggles and our hopes, like we always did. We offer each other advice and sometimes we take it.

We talk about our lives. We engage in simple acts of living, like choosing our food.

After 37 years, we’re quirkier than we used to be, and more honest. Sometimes I miss red bubbly. Sometimes I miss dessert. Sometimes I feel sad when I realize how old we are now.

But I don’t feel sad for long. This group, which seems as accidental in its beginnings as it does in its choice of food, is one of the best and most enduring things that has happened in my life.

I toast with a glass of white bubbly.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at [email protected]



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8