I've started this blog as a way to convey my thoughts, emotions, knowledge, and passions for seasonal foods, small farmers (usually organic), vegetable gardening, and most of all, cooking. I'm a whole foods chef (with classic French training) and I teach culinary arts for my local community college. I am married and 5 months pregnant with our first child. I feel as if I have so much to say and teach regarding whole, seasonal foods, and am hoping this blog can be an effective avenue to have lively discussions regarding current foods systems, concerns, sharing of cooking knowledge and recipes, promotions of farmer's markets and CSAs, or anything that has to do with clean and honest foods. Most of the time I think I will be posting recipes I am writing for my cook book Seasonal Cuisine, but also intend to include posts about current food issues and happenings, book reviews (involving food of course), probably rantings and ravings over certain food systems (school lunches being a big one), and so on. I would appreciate and welcome any comments, questions, answers, stories, and discussion topics.
So now that you know a little about what I am hoping to offer and gain from this blog, here is My Food Philosophy. I give this to all my culinary arts students so that they can know right away how I feel about food and cooking.
My Food Philosophy
You will never meet a gardener who does not appreciate and respect every meal they prepare and consume. Gardeners are aware of the part they play in maintaining the health of their plot, and understand that they must work with the rhythms of the seasons and forces of nature, not against them. My parents fed our family straight from the garden, and most of what we ate came from it. Everyone had to participate in the planting, growing, composting, and nurturing of this garden, deepening our relationship with our main source of food. This was the start of a love affair for me. The process of life in a garden, from soil, to seed, to family table, was something I learned at quite a young age.
Along with this garden came a nightly tradition; my family always had dinner together around the table, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I have come to deeply appreciate this simple household rule that kept (and still keeps), our family so well bonded. This simple ritual of family meeting around a table of honest food to nourish hungry bodies, also nourishes hungry hearts. It’s a ritual missing from many families that could make such a difference. More than just physical nourishment was accomplished at our family dinner table. Jokes were told, chaos awakened, peculiar eating habits discovered, and the fate of boyfriends decided, all in one glorious hour of consumption. There is more to food than the ability to quench bodily hunger; its ability to bond and connect is its greatest virtue.
Honest food prepared with love and integrity has the magnificent ability to bind not only families, but communities as well. Different cuisines stir up interests of origin, especially in the minds of young people, and as knowledge and understanding are established, fear and hatred are broken down, and acceptance, if not respect, is accomplished. The connection between earth, seed, plant, table, and body, can be realized in any honest meal, and everyone in this world, no matter what country or culture, takes part in this connection.
My eating habits have changed somewhat since I was a little girl, running around in that garden, but I have lost neither love, nor hunger, for that earth to table relationship. My seasonal, whole foods diet is a direct product of that relationship, and is the basis to my outlook on life. I know that in every country, every culture, there is a similar little girl skipping through rows of tangled beans, nibbling fresh carrots and peas, developing the same love for earth to table, and realizing that all human beings are connected through the simple, basic act of eating. Our actions at home can have profound effects else where, and just the act of being responsible for what we eat can change the world we live in. As John Muir once said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”