Come ‘n Get It! It’s the Food Issue
The Editor's Letter
Food is our common ground, a universal experience. -James Beard
Me? I like food. No, wait. I’ll own it. I don’t just like food, I love food.
One of my earliest memories as a kid is of our family heading over to the neighbors’ on Friday evenings. There my neighbor, Carmen (who was from Costa Rica), and her sisters would work with quick hands to make fresh tortillas for everyone. They’d throw them on a rack set over the burner and the smell of soul warming goodness filled the house. The plate, piled miles high, vanished as quickly as it appeared on the table.
When I got to grade school, my love of food continued. My favorite books from the library were the multicultural cookbooks. When I couldn’t find my favorite one on the shelf one day, I made sure to reserve it for when it returned. The day after I checked it out (the fourth or fifth time), my mom took it to work with her and photocopied my favorite recipes out of it. I wouldn’t have to be without them again.
When I got my first babysitting gig, age 12 or so, I used my wages to buy the food my parents wouldn’t. The fancy foods: Mint Milano cookies and General Foods International Coffee.
While my parents weren’t fancy eaters, my mother definitely encouraged my culinary curiosity. For Christmas one year, I received an entire sled of food my father would classify as experimental. It was filled with water crackers, cheeses, sparkling cider and little tea cookies. Most teens probably wanted clothes or music. Me? My basket of fancy food was better than any gift I could have imagined. Did I mention that I love food?
This winter when the earth shook in a far off place, we were bombarded with images of rubble and stories of sadness. We asked ourselves, what could we possibly do to help?
We turned to cocoa.
So on Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service, we created a makeshift cocoa stand right there in our front yard. We set up a hastily painted sign, a mountain of marshmallows and a cup full of candy canes and started calling our neighbors.
Cocoa warms the heart. It warms the soul. And in our case, cocoa allowed us to provide life saving supplies for children we’d probably never meet, but who needed our help just the same. We raised $60 that day from fellow neighbors and people who saw our sign and stopped by.
It could not have been simpler or more fun and it made a difference.
Now I’m no Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters or Michael Pollan. But I do think it’s important for my children to understand that food has a certain amount of power—a power to heal or the power to harm. Food inspires! And it should, often and deliberately, be celebrated.
In this issue of Classic Play, we explore our relationship with food in four parts. In part one, we celebrate our history through food. In part two, we hear what parents do to protect their children from food that hurts instead of heals. Part three looks at ways we can inspire and educate the next generation. And finally, in part four we come around again to nostalgia as we read two childhood stories of meals—stolen and shared.
I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue of Classic Play. It’s baked fresh with lots of love.