Love of Food Goes International – What? Did you just read that correctly? You sure did!
Love of Food was founded on the principle that food is a love language of its own. Taste and the action of breaking bread together has a magical ability to cross divides and provide a commonality that brings us all together. Nowhere is this more clear than in the kitchens of my favorite chefs.
I love being in Preeti Waas’s certified commercial kitchen that she graciously provides to other local budding food entrepreneurs. In her kitchen, many fun stories and laughs are shared along with some amazing food from around the world. I taste everything and love every dish that I try. There is a bond among the chefs here like no other place I have ever experienced. They seem to know and respect each other with just a simple sampling of a prepared dish. It’s like they take a taste and it allows them to acknowledge to themselves “This chef knows what he or she is doing” They teach each other without condemnation, they share ups and downs and stories of their childhood growing up in very different areas. I benefit not only by sampling the wonderful food, but they teach me about their country, their language, and the reasons why the food is prepared as it is.
As much as I appreciate the wisdom and friendship from these amazingly talented chefs, I do admit that my most favorite chef in the world is my own daughter, Nicole. I may be biased, right? She knows “something about something” this is a little joke she and I have, as she tries to instruct me. I should always listen to her when she tells me to add a pinch more of an ingredient or to cook something at a different heat, she is always right about food. You see, she was formally trained at Johnson and Wales after graduating from a four-year culinary high school program.
When she was writing her biography for our The Love of Food Magazine, she expressed that as a child she found herself yearning for the foods of other ethnicities so as she obediently ate the American food that was provided for her, she secretly wished she was eating Spanish food at her friend’s dinner table.
I was raised alongside my best friends’ big Italian family. In an ethnic neighborhood consisting of many Greek and Lebanese immigrants. As a child, I was eating Italian food like Pasta Fagioli, Antipasto, and Melanzani. I was also eating Lamb, Stuffed Grape Leaves, and Hummus. I guess you can say our family’s style of cooking was always eclectic and in many ways internationally inspired.
My chef friends jokingly tell me “You are the most ethnic American chick we know’ that is only because they have not yet met my daughter. She is an adventurous eater who is not afraid to try any food. She even tried a balut egg on a visit to the Philippines. If you don’t know what that is, hold your lunch. You can read about her entire adventure in her post about her Philippine trip.
If you are not an adventurous eater, don’t worry. A simple green leafy vegetable like kale may be called something very different in each country, and it may even be prepared in an unfamiliar way. You can try it and still know that if you like the flavor of greens, then you will most likely enjoy them from almost any country. Same for meat, fish, rice, bean, cheese, and fruits.
At Love of Food, we seriously believe that food is a love language and when you share your food, you share so much more than sustenance, you share your story. I believe it was Anthony Bourdain who said “Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
Food accomplishes so much more, it inspires unity and acceptance. When we learn about each other’s differences, we are more tolerant of their beliefs because we have context around them. This is needed in our global society more than ever. Don’t just take my word for it, sit across the table from someone from a very different ethnicity/culture to yours, and listen to what they have to say. Breakthrough any stereotypes that you both have about each other by sharing in the simple act of tasting each other’s traditional foods. Try to savor the taste and bask in the joy of the moment. Hopefully, you will come to understand that no matter how different food or people may look from one another there are actually more commonalities. Food can literally be a mechanism for world peace. There is a big thought!
They say hindsight is 20/20 and what may have been obvious to others along our journey as a young magazine has been made clear to us. We were destined to focus on so much more than local food. We are so excited that Love of Food Magazine has chosen and embraced this direction.
This doesn’t mean we do not love ”local” as a matter of fact, there is so much ethnicity right here in our local communities that we will have much to write about and many people to interview. We have in fact made many visits to experience a country’s cuisine. We traveled to China at G58 in Morrisville, Mexico at Cortez in Raleigh, and we visited Ireland at Trali in Raleigh.
Will we venture out of the country now and again? Perhaps, we do believe there is so much opportunity for us in the years to come. Thank you for taking this journey with us and in the meanwhile, we hope to travel virtually together along the way.