In these tough economic times, many of us have made changes to how we eat. For a lot of people, this change has been a return to home cooking. Something happened to our relationship with food, just in the time it took me to grow up. When I was a kid growing up in the county, I remember that pre-packaged food was something special. Although my mom was a self-taught cook, it seemed like she made everything from scratch, and there were always local, fresh vegetables on our plate (mostly from our neighbor across the street). We even had our own cows and chickens (dad took care of that part). I always knew where my food came from, and most of it was grown and prepared by people who loved me.
By my teens, my mother had gone back to school and didn’t have the time to make all of our food from scratch. She did the best she could under the circumstances – we still ate dinner together every night and she still managed to make most of our dinners from whole ingredients at home. I missed those days in the kitchen with her, but I knew that things change, and I had less time as well as I got older and more involved with my friends and school. I knew I was lucky though – she still made me a fantastic birthday cake every year, and still rarely “fixed” take-out for dinner for my brother and I.
After graduating high school and moving out, I tried my best to still cook as much as possible like my mom did. I felt that it no matter what you were making, it always tasted better made from scratch, but once I got my job delivering pizza in college, well, pizza was a big part of my diet for many years (although it was made from scratch – we made fresh dough and sauce every day and chopped all our own veggies). We have to have ramen and pizza years, right?
In the mid 90’s I became a vegetarian because of the issue of clean meat. Meat had always been a big part of my diet, so I had to form a new relationship with food. I have always been a picky eater (some due to preference, some to food sensitivities), but I had to expand my horizons or I’d wind up back on a ramen and pizza diet. I moved into a household of vegetarians, and they introduced me to the Food Co-op. I knew such things existed, but I didn’t realize that they sold the food I had grown up on, and was missing so much from my life. I had a relationship with my food growing up, and here was a large group of like-minded folk that cared about the emotion that exists when you have a relationship with your food. During the snowstorm in December of 1996, I noticed that they were hiring a cashier, and the rest is history. I have dedicated the last 13 years to the Community Food Co-op because I think everyone should have the right and opportunity to have an emotional relationship with their food. Now I get to cook every week for my demos at Cordata, and I can share that love of food even more extensively with our customers.
~posted by Melissa Elkins, Cordata Sassy Sampler