I grew up in the Midwest in a very old world ethnic family. My mom's parents were from northern Greece around Lake Kastoria, and my father's grandparents from Calabria, Italy....all entrepreneurs in the wonderful world of food. My maternal grandfather, George, owned a bakery. He would go to his tiny bake shop at 4 AM to make what we now call artisan bread. My paternal grandfather, Guido, started with a peanut stand where he roasted fresh peanuts, and eventually he built the neighborhood corner grocery that my father took over after my grandfather retired. My family was also full of great cooks - my mom, grandmom, aunts, and grandfathers were all in on it too. Consequently, I was immersed in the culture of food from childhood. The tradition continues to my sister, who is a supreme baker, and my brother who is always asked to cook for friends and family, and I'm a food stylist, recipe developer, and culinary consultant. What a great life!
What happens around the table has a huge impact on shaping our lives. It's how we socialize with family and friends, and it's how we create community. Simply by being a part of this circle, we create activities and traditions that are a part of our everyday lives. We pass down stories and oral traditions when we sit around the table. And as we sit around the table we are eating or drinking...and we are sharing...and we are loving. Food, family, and friends have created community worldwide, and they are inseparably intertwined.
In our modern culture, the food movement has made chefs famous; cooking TV, videos, and blogs omnipresent; and everyone a cell phone food photographer. Food has risen from sustenance to trend setter, and it has changed how we see our world.