Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Thanks for visiting my new blog. This is a project I have been developing for a few years. Allow me to share its inspiration.
I was in Italy with a group of teachers studying St. Francis of Assisi and 13th Century Medieval art. While our meeting, seminar time and site-visits were filled with amazing discussions and learning, it was around the dinner table where we synthesized all we learned, made connections with each other and explored the deeper meanings of all we were experiencing. And it sure didn’t hurt that we were sharing meals in Tuscany and Umbria, foodie heavens. I make no apologies for making food the central experience of the entire summer.
One particular night I really started thinking about the connections we were all making while eating. We had just spent an evening at a small town food festival in Umbria, not far from Assisi. On a hot July night we savored the flavors of homemade pasta, farm fresh eggs, aged cheese, crusty bread and silky, sultry, silky wine. Without the advantage of speaking the language or knowing anyone, we had been treated like locals. Why? What connected us to strangers without the benefit of conversation? Immediately my best friends’ mom and her red beans and rice flooded into my head. My mom’s meatloaf rushed back to me. Seductive desserts prepared for dates with other motives in mind. Perfect finger foods shared amongst community volunteers. Food was at the center of everything I have done. Even as we discussed St. Francis we wrestled with his relationship with food and one particular figure who gave him his favorite cookie (more on that later). The sharing of food is at the center of every human relationship and it creates romance, family, spirituality and community. On the drive back to Assisi it really struck me. Food may be sustenance in its most basic form, but it is so much more. It is what binds us to others. It is what creates connection. But why?
I am inspired by such diverse figures as St. Francis of Asissi and Epicurus, and writers such as Bill Bryson, Taras Grescoe , Trevor Corson and Anthony Bourdain. I will take you on a journey from my childhood comfort foods to food festivals that put small towns on the map. From Tuscany to Silicon Valley, I will show you how food has been central to my relationships with colleagues, fellow community volunteers, and my family. Along the way, I hope we will discover the sociology, psychology, science and philosophy explaining the amazing power of a great meal. And I will share a few recipes.
I invite you on this journey with me. Send me comments, recipes, restaurants and experiences to try. Share your connections with food. Tell us how it has helped you form relationships.