D O M I N I Q U E M O Y S E S T E I N B E R G
I think I got into social work because to do something less meaningful would have been a terrible disappointment to my elders. I actually have a degree in interior design, but my parents made quite a long face when they thought I might pursue that career for real instead of some kind of social service. However, my grandmothers were both uncredentialed social workers, and ultimately I’m sure that they heavily influenced my ideas of what would be “right” and “wrong” to do in life. My paternal grandmother saved every bird, cat, and other small animal in trouble in any neighborhood in which she lived, and my maternal grandmother saved every woman, man, and child in trouble in any neighborhood in which she lived! Together, they were an impossible force to go against. Not that I am unhappy with my choice of social work. It’s really a perfect fit, whether I’m setting the stage for a cheese fondue or setting the stage for any other kind of group that is of mutual aid.
I chose Cheese fondue because …
… I see group work as central to social work and a cheese fondue is the quintessential group experience. Not only does everyone get to do something to help while the central cook stays at the pot on the stove, stirring always in one direction and not able to leave (or the cheese will separate), but then everyone shares from that pot to eat it. This is like setting the stage, getting all group members involved (and thus engaged) in preparation (like cutting the bread, opening the wine and kirsch, and lighting the fondue lamps), and then everyone partaking in the final result (and having to share the pot, trust that no one else has hoof and mouth disease, not eat more than his/her share, pass the bread around, etc. etc.)
My parents – musicians and very social folks, along with my grandparents who lived with us – often had parties after concerts or with their college students or musical colleagues. When it came to entertaining … fondue was always in order! I wonder if anyone had ever even had one in the US before my family came here, fleeing the ravages of WWII in 1949 after a brief but devastating stint in South America. Whatever the case, a cheese fondue evening at the Moyses became emblematic of a great group time, and I inherited not only their love of good groups, but love of good parties and especially, being at the center of a delicious fondue and setting the stage for a delightful party to go with it.