Facebook Group Unites Members Through Food

On Taste of Easton & Redding Facebook’s page, you’ll find pictures of home-cooked meals, tips on where to buy the best New York-style bagels, and discussions about how to cook salmon in an air fryer.

But you won’t find posts with political views. That’s intentional. Salvatore Giardina of Easton created the Facebook page with co-admin Sheila Lincoln Papps as a place for people to find common ground and escape the political divisions and rhetoric that consumes other Facebook pages.  

“When you post and share recipes of food from diverse cultures and backgrounds, we all learn from each other. People are definitely unified with food,” said Giardina, a self-described foodie and lover of the multicultural aspects of food.

Swordfish pan seared with Old Bay and asparagus cooked by a Taste of Easton & Redding Facebook member

The 338-member page launched a few months ago and keeps growing. There are pictures of jalapeño cheddar bread, pan seared Cajan and lemon scallops, Irish stew with homemade bread rolls, and Indian Awadhi Chicken with a dried fruit gravy made from a recipe in India thousands of miles away from Redding and Easton.

Papps calls Taste of Easton & Redding a “virtual breaking of bread with our neighbor.”

She first met Giardina on a political Facebook page. They had opposite political views. They became friends by getting into a conversation about how to “turn down the temperature” of the negativity on the political page.

A seafood dish cooked by a Taste of Easton & Redding Facebook member

“Let’s change the conversation. Let’s find something that unites us as a town,” Papps said.

They came up with food.  

Papps brings her own personal effort to the Facebook group. She runs “Random Acts of Carbness,” where she makes and donates bread to people in the community either through word-of-mouth or prior knowledge that they are struggling.

The engagement on the page has been such a success that Papps and Giardina are organizing a Taste of Easton & Redding town potluck for members to meet up in person. The gathering is scheduled for April 30 in lower Easton. There is no limit to the variety of dishes one can cook.

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