A Note From the Chef
All of us who love food know that it’s so much more than simply fuel for the body. If that were the case, we would simply swallow a little purple pill and be done with it – and one of life’s greatest pleasures would go down with it. Though it may seem like I’m stating the obvious, preparing, eating and sharing food is an ageless practice that spans across all cultural and economic groups.
Today there is a show on PBS that has taken TV entertainment by storm – Downton Abby. In this British series set in the early 1900’s when class distinction was most clearly defined, it seems the aristocracy of this post – Edwardian age did little more than dress for dinner and chat (gossip) about the people and news in their world. The servants, who were responsible for preparing and serving the meal did much the same around their downstairs table, only they seemed to have more fun. They were cultivating kitchen gardens, going into town shopping for food, and spending endless hours in preparation that gave them instant satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment – and leftovers.
From the kitchens of grand estates to humble campfires of indigenous people around the globe, the art of preparing and sharing a meal is built into our DNA. And I would venture to guess that the nourishment we gain from this practice has less to do with the food we eat and more to do with the people, ideas and stories we share around the “table”.
Growing up in a large Italian family, the kitchen was the hub of activity in our household. The kitchen table was rarely empty. It was always cluttered with food being prepared, family meals being eaten, or a steady stream of neighbors or relatives pulling up any empty chair and joining in.
For me, I wasn’t truly home until I entered the kitchen. Regardless of what was going on in my life, it was where I found solace. It nurtured my spirit as well as my body and that nourishment took root within me and led me to my life’s work. For my 5 siblings, they too took nourishment there and passed it on to their families, their clients, students and patients.
My parents, who are no longer alive, were brilliant at harvesting the gifts of the kitchen and extending them to us, have no idea the far reaching effects they nurtured or who have been touched and benefited from the solid foundation they built for their children and grandchildren. For each of us, in our own way has drank from it, eaten from it and used it to fortify our endeavours and contributions to society. That humble kitchen, in a small suburban town like any other, has feed more hearts than we can ever know.
These are the gifts, the legacy, that awaits anyone who enters this sacred space. This is why I choose to work there, so I may bring you there with me.
It is my honor to serve you,
Leave a comment below and tell me about your sacred space.
photo courtesy of Front Porch Republic