When I trace the beginning of FOODSTORIE/s I realize it begins with my own.
I owe everything to my mother and father. A lot of people say it, but for me, it’s true. And the truth moves me -- especially when one starts to understand how the foundations of love are laid. Their passion for travel and their love for others were waiting for me.
I was born in Hollywood, California, and named after Wendy of Peter Pan. My mother believed in the idea of never growing up. At least, in the sense of never giving up the childlike curiosity that can be a close companion to a spirited, adventurous life.
My greatest memories of my parents were our family trips, meticulously planned to give my older sister and I a view of the world. My eyes were opened to the value of both the simple and the spectacular- my childhood home had a closet, that trip by trip, became filled to the brim with carousels of slides.
Road trips through the Black Forest of Germany with picnics on the side of the road. Dark breads and bright orange cheeses. Being whisked away by an aggressive shop-keeper in Tunis, Africa to be put in traditional robe and headdress giving my family a good laugh at my expense. The endearing and enduring image of my father on a speedboat in Venice, Italy racing towards us -- his hands in the air victorious after recovering our family luggage which had been lost for three days somewhere over the Atlantic - ( I was 10 years old).
I still remember how the carpet felt on my arms and the ache in my belly, from lying for hours on their bedroom floor -- maps and travel books all around me and my Dad -as we planned and plotted what might be next. So much of my imagination growing up lived in the next place we'd go... what weird food my parents would bribe us to try, what new faces to be able to study. I remember always looking boldly into the eyes of these new people - to see if I could find something familiar- challenging myself to try to make them smile. I especially recall always obsessing about what was behind all those locked doors we'd pass on tours of palaces, or in the corridors of small inns we'd stay in... Who had lived there? What lives had they lived? Always I wondered about the food maybe because I knew for sure we at least had that in common. How amazing, I always thought, that my little family could be sitting in the same place, sometimes the same tables that people had sat hundreds of years before. I still wonder about these things, and i'm still excited to learn the answers.... the grown woman with the "Peter Pan" in me- is still intact.
When my parents passed away, within the same month of each other some years ago, my only thought was to travel far, far away and for as long as possible.
And so I did. And as a consequence, the beginning of this project in a more formal way began to take shape.
It can take time to realize how all of the pieces of life fit together. It's only recently that I realised that the impulse and passion pushing me has always been the same; beautiful tastes, beautiful words, beautiful sights, sunrises, sounds, beautifully tragic ruins still standing, the inspiration found in shared meals, shared stories on old family tables in newly discovered places. And, above all, the beautifully minded and spirited people sought out or found - the discovery of the smile. Of course there are the conflicts, and unearthed sorrows and all of the other things also found along the way, but those things I realize have often times been the deepest connectors. Allowing me not only to understand myself better, but often cultivating more deeply an empathy and sincere curiosity outside of oneself for others so often needed. These are the important things, the things that stand the test of time...the deepest kind of love we can find.
FOODSTORIE/s encompasses that foundation of love laid so long ago for me while I continue to seek the connections between things, record them and bring them here... all by the light of the sun and moon.