Monday, April 9, 2012

the seed of an idea

What is food to me?

It seems like a simple question, but the answer has filled pages of my journal and I've barely begun to answer it.

Smells and tastes evoke vivid images of their origins. Food is the tag for each life experience; it's the way my mind catalogs memories.  Bright tags with texture, color and smell hang from each memory.  They're all tucked into towering, wooden bookcases that line the walls of a cozy, circular library - the type with rolling ladders to reach high shelves, and tight, spiral staircases.  An oval skylight nestled into the dome roof high above showers warm sunshine into the room, with the help of several tall, skinny windows, reminiscent of any descent medieval tower.  Ivy and other climbing vines wind around banisters from great earthen pots on the ground floor.  Each level boasts a wooden window box overflowing with herbs and happy wildflowers from thyme and lavender to black-eyed susans and rosemary.  There are nooks that beckon: window seats lined with cushions, hammocks hanging with handmade quilts, plush grandmother chairs, antique rockers with soft pillows and knit afghans - all for me to lounge in once I've settled on a memory to savor.  A warm mug of tea in one hand with a soft, spiced ginger cookie or maybe a warm double chocolate brownie and a cold glass of milk that day to keep my company as I open the sturdy cover of a chosen memory to reveal the well-worn pages.

The walls melt away and I'm in my own memory, hearing, smelling, seeing, touching and TASTING it - I can feel the texture of the foods in my mouth, the mix of herbs and spices, savory or sweet, hot or cold, creamy or crunchy, salty or tangy - and the soundtrack snaps on: conversations, laughter, the wistful scrape of a fork on an empty plate, the rustle of the paper at the bakery as the pastry is pulled from the tray, the buzz of fat bees in my ear...

And that's where the seed began to grow.  These memories have gone from rustling to whispering to shouting from the shelves to be heard!  And at the same time, recipes and stories from my roots are bubbling up to the surface.  So I've started digging for more.  And all along, I've been cooking, baking, mixing, tasting and experimenting with wild abandon in the kitchen.  So this blog is a mix of memories - mine and those of my family - woven into recipes, food travels, and other tasteful stories.  I hope it inspires you to share your own food memories and family recipes with those you love.
Eat well-

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