Diana Prizio

Here’s a memory from Diana Prizio:

Jack Kertesz and Diana Prizio

“The second year of the Fair, in Litchfield, I worked with Allen Powell making and selling tacos. That year, I also met Carol and Eric Hammond and Jack Kertesz. Over the 3 to 4 days that year, Carol and I brainstormed about the need for a kitchen facility that could serve meals to volunteers as a way to compensate them for their work.

The Litchfield fairground didn’t have a likely place to do that, but then the Fair moved to Windsor, and we began to upgrade the small kitchen there to make it work. It had a tiny, four-burner, apartment-sized stove. We quickly learned that if two pots touched each other on the stovetop (and we were using large pots), the burners would arc out and give us a nasty shock, shutting down the stove until we flipped the circuit. So slow food was our style out of necessity. We had a 1950s household refrigerator, and a back room that we could use as a semi-cool storage facility. We then decided to call it the Common Kitchen, and four of us were the crew that turned out meals for over 300 volunteers all day.  

Jack and Eric did plenty of procuring and organizing, and we all tended the soups, stews, bubble & squeak (Eric, being English, insisted on some of his favorites) and even breads from that tiny stove, plus a hotplate. Carol was a great breakfast cook, Jack and I headed up lunch, and we all worked into the nights prepping and planning the next day’s menus, depending on what came through the door hourly as donations.

We’d enlist more helpers as they finished a meal and seemed to have time on their hands. We continued Common Kitchen through all the years in Windsor. Then, Kip Penney and I were part of the search committee that found land in Thorndike/Unity for the big move to a permanent fairground.

Carol and Eric were forced to retire as volunteers (after 11 years) for health reasons and moved to the Portland area; they were a colorful couple and are dearly missed. Jack and I continued to organize the Common Kitchen, 13 years total. I retired from that job to assist as volunteer coordinator (with Eric, as he was able) and Jack still works at MOFGA on the grounds as a paid staffer. Many fond memories of those years, when the Fair was smaller and more personal, people could camp on site, music and bonfires lit the nights and strong friendships were made.”

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