I’m not a writer. I’m not a researcher or historian. I’m barely even a foodie (some might disagree—I’d use the words “opportunistic eater”). But I did grow up in a family that encouraged me to try new foods, appreciate flavor, embrace my family food history and, most important to this endeavor, we owned a full set of Time Life’s Foods of the World series.
At various times in the last 10 years I’ve tried to come up with a concept for talking about food, both eating and creating it, and kept coming against a wall. Whatever I used as my framework needed to be personal as well as broad enough to engage people who weren’t my friends and family—and it needed to incorporate my love for travel and exploration. I’ve shelved dozens of ideas over the years that weren’t the right combination of interesting and flexible, yet focused.
In September my mother asked if I’d like to take her copy of the Foods of the World series off her hands. I spent an evening leafing through the books thinking, “Someone should really do a blog based on this,” but not really realizing that person should be me. It took a conversation with my friend Suezie a few months later to realize that the books were the answer I’d been missing all these years.
Our trouble begins there.
Sadly, between September and my epiphany, Mom had donated half the set to a local library book sale. Yes, including the spiral recipe books. This has meant, in the intervening time, I’ve been scouring eBay, used booksellers and various places on the internet to rebuild the portion of the collection I’m now lacking—spending far more time doing so than seems sensible.
Tine Life is more than simply cooking my way through a series of books, there are many who have already done that concept well. Some have even become movies starring Meryl Streep. This is not one of those blogs. I hope to use the Time Life Foods of the World series to examine changes to our food systems in the last fifty years, to connect with discussion on food and its place in our lives, learn more about ingredients, and most importantly: to eat with friends. Hopefully I’ll be cooking and sharing a lot of food I’ve not worked with before—and you can count on there being a lot of baking.
Today I sit here with a nearly complete set of books, a cadre of potential guest bloggers, and a head full of ideas on how to talk about food. I hope you’ll all stick around.