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In trying to figure out just what we as people are about in the 21st century many of us have been guided by Robert Putnam. His book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community in 2000 was developed from his 1995 essay entitled Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. In it he surveyed the decline of “social capital” in the United States since 1950. He described the reduction in all the forms of in-person social intercourse upon which Americans used to find, educate, and enrich the fabric of their social lives, making the case that this loss of social interaction has undermined the active civil engagement which a strong democracy requires from its citizens.

One may make a case that in this era of social media new forms of “community” have evolved – not better, but different. We leave this point for future discussions and postings.

For now, we were taken an article that clearly flies in the face of the pattern described by Robert Putnam. It involves a Thursday Afternoon Cooking Club in Wichita, Kansas, a group said to be “the oldest continuously operating club devoted to what its founders called the exchange of ideas in cooking and domestic science”.

The article and the accompanying comments are to be found in the Food Section. But this is a story that transcends food. It is about community and friendship.

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