Olives and Pearls
My passion for food started as a young girl sitting in my Sicilian Grandmother’s kitchen watching her roll out pasta dough for ravioli by hand and place a tiny spoonful of the filling in each square.
The smells and the love in her kitchen were always incredible and being in her world was guaranteed to be safe and delicious. Her baking always seemed to include almond extract and the smell of it to this day brings me right back to her kitchen and her loving arms. Sometimes I open the bottle and take a whiff just to honor her.
I had an opportunity to open a hole-in-the-wall organic deli with a friend. We threw out all the rules and made up our own – creative and experimental based on our passion for “health” foods that were also delicious. We were the Gloria Steinem of the organic food business. We were doing wheat-free before people knew what gluten was. We were bold and sassy, worked our asses off and had a ton of fun doing it. We laughed a lot and really loved and supported each other.
Health and Well-being
When I look at wellness, it all boils down to food. If I eat crap, I feel like crap. Food really is the cornerstone of health, I’ve always known that but it hasn't always been a priority for me. The consequences of a lifetime of emotional eating were taking their toll–I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and inflammation, weight gain, chronic pain and fatigue had me by the short hairs. Man, it is really hard to make changes and practice self care!
The last few years have been incredibly tough for many of us. Everything from health and finances to relationships have broken down. Instead of giving up, I am taking the opportunity to make some major changes and re-evaluate what’s important to me. I am dealing with issues of abuse from the past at a deep level and changing not only how and what I eat but living my life from a more spiritual and connected place. I have new vitality that is opening up a whole new palate for cooking—finding delicious and creative alternatives for myself and my clients.
Visionary Food Goddess
Research and science really turns me on. Woo me with how hormones work and how food affects the brain. I’ve been called a walking encyclopedia in the kitchen; when your eyes glaze over with facts and details I’m craving more. The alchemy of science and art endlessly fascinates me to create combinations of flavors and ingredients that are unexpected and delightful. It has taken me a lifetime to develop my palate.
When I was in college in the late 70’s, I lived in a house with many roommates and got a copy of the original Moosewood cookbook. God, I loved that book! There are many, many beloved recipes that I still make to this day. I became a vegetarian and started making huge vats of soup, sprouting my own sprouts and making homemade yogurt. Back then, if I didn’t cook, we’d literally be starving artists! This is where some of my artistic expression would be channeled. I loved the visceral feeling I got from cooking, not only did it feed my visual appetites, it fed my other senses- the smells, the flavors, even the sounds of cooking were so satisfying. It also fed all our bellies!
Family and Community
I got married and had 3 kids. We were too young to be hippies, but we were seduced by the romance of “living off the land” and for me, that meant having a huge organic garden and grinding my own baby food. My daughter to this day still hates beets because I used to put cut up, pressure cooked beets on her high chair tray. (They were delicious, but she wasn’t a fan!) My kids were lucky enough to grow up with real food on the table most nights in an era where people were turning more and more to processed food.