My Life with Food – Part One

Posted on April 12, 2020 by Jack

I have been involved with food and cooking in one way or another for most of my life. When I think back, I recall culinary adventures I’ve had and how I have changed as a cook, but I also notice that I still feel essentially the same about food. Cooking and growing my own vegetables has served as an endless source of pleasure that not only sustains my body but constantly tunes and sharpens all my senses. I can’t imagine a day in which I’ve not touched, smelled, seen, heard and tasted the results of something I cooked.

I believe cooking is an essential domestic ritual that anchors us in time. It provides a certain rhythm to life’s cycles and changes. We live in an age in which the center of our primary relationship to the world is moving away from a domestic setting and toward the workplace. We are at a point where we are in danger of losing a great source of intimacy and connection to the world and the people around us. I am dedicating much of my time to this web-based project I call MyFreshAttitude with the hope you – the reader – bring one of the most fundamental, soul-satisfying experiences back into your life and home.

This blog space is devoted to revealing my life stories of food and the role food has played in shaping who I am today. It will be a bit philosophical…a bit opinionated…sometimes humorous (hopefully)…sometimes sad…and always about food during this period in time.

I shall begin with my own brief historical perspective.

My own history is rooted in memories of my Mother and her cooking. Her Moroccan upbringing allowed me to experience food, tastes and cultures few get to experience in a small farming community in southeastern Washington state. But she also adapted to the American way of life, so I wasn’t denied the many classics my friends were also eating. As a child, I witnessed how much time my mother spent in the kitchen lovingly preparing something for others to enjoy later in the day. But her real motivation, I think, came from sharing that food she prepared with her family. This was her purpose.

On the other side of my family is an Irish tale that also involves food. My great, great grandparents emigrated to America at a young age. Most of them eventually settled in the midwestern states to begin a life chasing the American dream. They were farmers and explorers. The family history of their experiences revealed great adventures, an extremely difficult life and plenty of tales of farming. One story of my great, great grandmother describes a life of hardship and little money until she finally was able to land a servant job working for a prominent Illinois politician. Her job was to cook for the family and help the mother with household tasks – a common position for Irish immigrants settling in the slave-free northern US states. But this was no ordinary politician she went to work for. This was Abraham Lincoln.

Recipe in Photo: Moroccan Style Pumpkin Tagine


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