This should more appropriately be titled “who I am (and who is hanging around)”
Like the French, I’m told, I think about lunch just after breakfast and dinner just after lunch. I read cookbooks like novels. I watch any documentary or show that has to do with food. I’ve read anything and everything by Anthony Bourdain. Even the podcasts I listen to have to do with food (I highly recommend The Sporkful). In my various incarnations, I’ve been a daycare worker, waitress, bouncy house party coordinator, AmeriCorps volunteer, and Job Development Specialist for adults with Autism. I now work as an Independent Support Coordinator. The non-profit I work for aides adults with disabilities in being as independent as possible, and getting active in their community. It’s a good life. What’s for lunch?
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
This is me and my
fiancé husband, Heath. As you can see, we like eating.
We love food so much, we did an engagement photo shoot at the TN Valley Fair (photos wonderfully taken by Jennifer Crook), and of course I was so excited about *drum roll please* FAIR FOOD. Getting pictures taken of you while you’re eating food is pretty brave, so I guess we are just really brave people.
Heath is from East Tennessee, whereas I am from Nashville in Middle Tennessee. Both areas have a bounty of good southern food, which we hold in very high regard. He is my partner in life and–more importantly–in enjoying local cuisines and my cooking. He hasn’t once criticized what I have baked or cooked for him, which means he has excellent taste. Or is just smart. Either way, he is awesome for doing so. He works for the University of Tennessee doing radio broadcasting and sales for The Vol Network. Go Vols.
These two folks are my parents, Wendy and Steve. They have both influenced my “food life” very much, and in very different ways.
My mother, Wendy, is the queen of efficiency. She has produced more “30 minutes or less meals” in her lifetime than Rachel Ray. Surprisingly, to this day I have never known the taste of hamburger helper. My two siblings and I never once had meals out of a box, and that was thanks to my mom. She always had the table decked with home-cooked meals and snacks, yet there was no slaving away in the kitchen for her. It was just hot and ready (yes, like Krispy Kreme). She has taught me over time that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore, instead it can be a love language and a way to serve others.
My father, Steve, is a pioneer for food education and healthy living. While I was growing up, he did not have the healthiest of eating habits. Each weekday coincided with certain fast food chains. I believe he has even referred to one of them as “KFC Wednesdays”? Anyways, he had a change of heart around the time of my teenage years. He now has a masters in Holistic Nutrition, which selfishly I love due to the fact it makes for some great conversation. He has always been a valuable resource when trying to absorb knowledge about the effects of food–positive and negative–on the human body. His passion for exercise and fitness (specifically mountain biking) can be only matched with his love for eating…and maybe his family.
This is my grandmother on my mom’s side, Liz. She has been a huge culinary influence in my life. Her passion for cleanliness and simplicity in the kitchen has shaped me as a home cook. I have tried to mirror her habits, and I have been semi-successful thus far. Lots of family gatherings have gone on in her household, and she entertains with such grace and poise. Everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving at their house. I have always enjoyed watching her cook and picking her brain for lifehacks. Here’s to you, grandma.
This is my grandmother on my dad’s side, Connie. She, too, has been a fantastic example of home-cooking and entertaining. She has a heart for making guests feel welcome and invited, and it shows through her warm food and even warmer personality. Anyone who has met my grandmother Connie would describe her with words like “firecracker”, “spunky”, or “hip”. Over the years, gatherings at her place have been something I have always looked forward to. You know when you’re visiting her house, you can chat all day long while getting served some good comfort foods (and maybe some second helpings of twice baked potatoes).
I am very lucky to have these women in my life for many reasons, and I’m blessed to share in the tradition that is their home cooking. There are many more good cooks in my family (I’m looking at you Aunt Dina and Uncle Mike), but my hands are tired from typing. My whole family loves congregating around food, like many others. We all look forward to these moments we spend stuffing our faces and laughing about who knows what. My deep love for food may just come from the love I have for the time I like spending with my family.