Family Meals Event Focal Point Sheldon | News

SHELDON—Anita McVey has only presented once before, and that was three years ago at a Women in Denim conference.

The audience ate his program as McVey was able to fill the time by talking about food, family and faith and how the three go together. The one-hour presentation has flown away.

McVey had a blast giving the talk and is ready to give a second one at Ordinary Meals, Extraordinary Message, an event about establishing comfort and connection at the table.

The food writer’s presentation will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1 at the Crossroads Pavilion Event Center in Sheldon.

“One of the best parts of my blogging and writing adventures has been the people I’ve met,” McVey said. “It’s another opportunity to make new friends and learn more about the people present. It’s a chance to visit an Iowa town I’ve never been to before and find some hidden or not-so-hidden gems in the process.”

The event is a collaboration between the Northwest Iowa Center for Learning and Recreation and the Sheldon Public Library.

The cost for the 90-minute presentation is $40 and includes a drink ticket.

Registration is at The suggested deadline to register is January 20, but LLRC director Greta Giese said while pre-registration is appreciated, it is not mandatory.

“There is hands-on learning. You won’t just be seated, it will be dynamic and engaging,” Giese said. “She is working on a simple set of recipes that anyone can make. A touch of hope helps. It’s just an evening of camaraderie and connection.

These two aspects are central to McVey’s presentation.

McVey, who grew up in Alton and lives on an acreage in central Iowa, is a strong believer in having at least one meal a day at the table with family or friends.

“People don’t eat around the table as the focal point of their day nearly as much as they used to,” McVey said. “I raised two boys and they were very active in sports and we were active with our church and visiting family. It’s hard to incorporate all of that, but I think it’s just one of those things if we could all figure out how to incorporate some of it, there’s a lot of upside to that.

“It’s where we learn messages, to be grateful, to learn new foods, we learned community and what’s good and what’s not.”

Ordinary Meals, Extraordinary Messages is a theme from McVey’s recently released book “Because He Fed Us First,” which will be available for sale at the February 1 presentation. McVey’s faith is also rooted in the book and its presentation.

Giese said McVey’s presentation was less about fine dining and more about connections.

“Think about the real purpose of food, it’s supposed to be the fuel of our life,” said Giese, who is married with two children. “Good food, healthy eating should be a top priority for us and the connections made around the table with our family and friends are perhaps as important as the food itself.

“As an adult, the memories I have around food are around the dinner table.”

Although McVey is the speaker for the event, she doesn’t want to be the only voice heard at the pavilion. She hopes a host of people will share their experiences and memories of dining at the table with family or friends.

McVey said an hour and a half is a long time for someone to have to sit down and listen.

“I will learn something from people. I hope that throughout the presentation people will share their memories,” she said. “I schedule little pauses and questions that bring up the memories and emotions that we have tied to these things. That’s where the comfort food comes from, the nostalgic experiences.

McVey wants everyone to know that the event is not specifically for women. She hopes the men will also attend the event.

“I love how cooking and food has become such a topic of conversation and people love trying new foods and love all the cooking shows,” McVey said. “My kids cook so much too. One is married and the other is engaged and they like to cook. I hope the guys will be there and it’s not just for the ladies.