Food News

Breakfast with Strangers: Newlyweds' Book Project Comes to Dallas

So, do you think you're interesting? Sure. No. Hell no. Depends on how you define "interesting."

Can you write 500 words about how interesting you are in order to convince someone to buy you breakfast? Are you even inclined to share your story, or perhaps you would rather buy your own breakfast and eat in quiet peace?

Next round: Do you talk to strangers? Prefer not to? Love to?

Final round: Ever wanted to go on a cross-country voyage collecting interesting stories from random strangers, but just can't nail down the financing?

Well, the newlywed Webbers have figured all that out. Matt and Courtney Webber, 37 and 41 respectively, created a Kickstarter campaign last May to raise $8,000 to drive across America to have breakfast with strangers. The 50 most interesting tales will be included in a book they're writing, Breakfast with Strangers: 50 Meals Across America.

The concept of the mission is that none of us talk to strangers enough. Thusly, we miss opportunities to meet interesting people and hear their stories.

The Kickstarter campaign reached its goal in about one month with 134 backers. Then, the Webbers made it official with the purchase of a gold minivan, dubbed the USS Pancake. Shortly after, they got hitched, packed all their belongings into large plastic boxes, piled them Tetris-like into a POD unit and hit the road on July 18.

With the back of their minivan outfitted with a plywood bed frame, the Webbers started in Portland, Oregon, and headed east to Portland, Maine; then back again. To find their breakfast companions in new cities, sometimes they just start asking people if they "know anyone interesting," or post signs, or take to Reddit.

They've been documenting some of their meals and new friends on their blog. The neo-hippies have sipped coffee with a self-reliant mountain man who performs the occasional search-and-rescue mission for hypothermic lost hikers; a girl who is paid to listen to phone conversations at a prison; the Lieutenant Governor of Montana; and the purveyor of The National Mustard Museum, who began collecting the yellow condiment as way to deflect his heartbreak when the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series.

This Monday and Tuesday they'll be in Dallas and need some breakfast companions. If you're inclined, per their recent Reddit post, pen "500 words or less why you'd be the awesome breakfast interview as we travel across the USA. Please include 'Dallas' in the subject line. Send an email to: [email protected]"

Or follow their tour on Facebook and on their blog where they frequently update with their interviewees. Wonder who they'll dig up in Dallas.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.