Bloomingfoods Caters Kinsey Coming Out Party

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Christie McCloud, kitchen manager of Bloomingfoods East deli, preps the tables for the Kinsey reception.

On Saturday, November 13, 2004, Bloomingfoods Market and Deli and its Encore Café helped cater a fundraising reception for The Kinsey Institute, celebrating the premiere of the Fox Searchlight film Kinsey at Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Indiana. Among the 1,000 guests in attendance were actor Laura Linney (who plays Kinsey’s wife in the film) and director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters).

The Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender, and Reproduction is located today in Morrison Hall on the campus of Indiana University, near the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Like that program, it is indebted to the vision of former IU President Herman B. Wells, a champion of academic freedom and the diversity of human cultures.

Wells was a staunch supporter of Kinsey in the 1940s and ’50s when sex research, still a fledgling discipline, witnessed its first rounds of controversy. With the release of this film and other current interpretations of Kinsey’s life (including a PBS documentary scheduled for February 2005), the Institute is experiencing a wave of renewed interest and controversy today.

One of Alfred C. Kinsey’s daughters and his granddaughter were at the premiere, as was Dr. Paul Gephard, who served as second director of the Institute from 1956 to 1982. Dr. Gephard (played by Timothy Hutton in the film) is the stepfather of Bloomingfoods GM George Huntington, whose mother also worked at the Institute for many years.

Christie McCloud, kitchen manager for the Bloomingfoods East deli, notes that the reception was the effort of several local businesses, including the first commercial brewery in town, Bloomington Brewing Company. “We teamed up with a number of other locally owned restaurants, and that contributed to the success of the event.”

Seven members of the Bloomingfoods staff volunteered to serve co-op appetizers, including Mediterranean meatballs, Encore mini-cheesecakes, fruit, cheese, and antipasto trays.

“It was exciting to collaborate with other food service professionals on this,” says McCloud. “Thanks to the groundwork we’ve laid with Slow Food Bloomington, the Local Growers’ Network, and some of our other outreach efforts, the relationships were there to make this fun. It all came together incredibly smoothly.”

This event was not the first to build a connection between the Kinsey Institute and the co-op. In 2004 former Institute Director John Bancroft, a jazz musician, played with his ensemble at Encore Café on two occasions, drawing a large audience from both “town” and “gown.”

“I became a member of Bloomingfoods as soon as I moved here—it was the first thing I joined,” says Dr. Julia Heiman, who succeeded Bancroft as Director in June 2004. “I walked into the store and was impressed with how much it offered and how friendly it felt.”

“This reception was a remarkable gift, for which we are very grateful,” explains Jennifer Bass, Head of Information Services at the Institute (a longtime co-op member-owner). “When they first learned about the Kinsey premiere, Bloomingfoods and the Encore Café reached out to us, asking how they could help. The result was food service that was elegant, impressive, and perfect for the occasion.”

“It is probably unique and certainly wonderful to live in a place where our community-owned providers show such talent, interest, and support for something like this. Experiencing the glow of some mainstream media attention just made us all appreciate the generosity of our community even more.”
 

See other articles from this issue: #116 January - February - 2005