Previously, Dan has written about how and why he has been drawn to farming as a career choice. (Guidance counselors, calm yourselves) While I deeply respect the philosophical, ethical, and spiritual underpinnings of Dan’s love of the natural world, my journey into farming is less Wendell Berry-in-a-deer-stand and more Mario-Batali-in-Traverse-City…
I am a farmer because I love food. I love to eat. And, I don’t eat just to satisfy some physiological state of hunger in my body. No, I eat because I love food and I love good food.
As with all things in life, I think I can safely blame my mother. (She’s rolling her eyes right now) Seriously, for a woman who professes to hate cooking, she’s pretty darn good at it. And, no I don’t mean in a “Wow Mom, this take-out is so amazing” kind of way. In fact, her cooking is one of the first things Dan noticed when we started dating – yep, one of my selling points was the fact that my mom could cook a hearty dinner. She was always careful to make sure we were eating the healthiest and freshest foods and she homemade things as much she could. You could rarely find store-bought cookies in our house…ok, maybe a bad example but her homemade cookies really are GOOD.
The thing about eating good food is that there’s usually some cooking involved, and I’d like to think that my cooking has really evolved over the last several years. I mean, I still don’t know what to do with Kohlrabi, but who the hell really cares about Kohlrabi? I’ve learned not to. But I have acquired a certain amount of confidence and playfulness in the kitchen that lends itself to learning new recipes, trying new dishes, and then innovating a little here and a little there.
Still, the best part of food (obviously other than eating it!) is sharing it. A meal made with love and shared with a bottle of wine…there’s nothing more satiating than that. News, politics, sports – they all seem to fade in importance when a roasted turkey appears on the table; or a to-die-for flourless chocolate cake (or dark chocolate whiskey cupcakes!)
For me, the only thing that doesn’t seem to fade away in the midst of a good meal is religion, but that’s because I think eating is a spiritual experience. When you’re sharing the fruits of your labors, suddenly who you share it with because incredibly important. I think the Bible even mentions breaking bread with people once or twice…Don’t ask me, I’m Catholic and we leave that thing to the experts …just kidding. Like the Jews saving a seat for Elijah at the Passover Seder and Jesus sharing his Body & Blood with the Apostles, what we’re sharing and who we’re sharing it with are important because they transform us.
In my own small way, I want to feel good about the good food I’m sharing. As a farmer, I want to transform, and be transformed by the food we raise, what we eat, and how we connect to the community. So, roast that chicken, bake that cake, saute those veggies, and kick back with a glass of wine and some good conversation. That’s life. And that’s the Gospel of Good Food…According to (the future) Saint Whitney.