The people behind your plate of food

Previously I wrote about how the beats of minorities and food weren’t as different as one might think.

I would like to expand that and say that minorities include people, every day people who have a past, present and future, and a desire to lead a fulfilling life, just like me and probably you. So just people.

Therefore, people and food are related. “Well of course!” is what you are possibly thinking. But I don’t think that our first thought when we receive a plate of food is “I bet this person has influence from their mother’s kitchen and their culture, and also was maybe once a [any occupation] before a chef or restaurant owner.”

And this is not shaming you in the slightest. But this is the purpose of my beat, to bring you into the kitchen with these people who make your food and who have a back story to their dishes and presentation and restaurant vibe.

Ligaya Mishan, the writer behind the New York Times: Hungry City articles, and the woman I continually praise throughout my food beat blogs, wrote an article in December 2015 on her top 10 favorite restaurants she reviewed in 2015.

In every single blurb after the restaurant name, she explains the people behind the food and where they get their inspiration, why their restaurant stands out or why they have this restaurant in the first place.

Her language flows casually and a reader doesn’t stumble over her food analogies or creative wording, and that is what I’m aiming for with my articles.

I want to express these people as humans, like me or you, and to tell a bit of their story while talking about the food they make.

Food is actually pretty symbolic. A lot of people grow up gathering together with family to eat meals, thanksgiving and Christmas are often defined by food and fellowship and food carries this connotation of sharing. Sharing time, a commodity people are less willing to give up than money, and sharing food and conversation. We get to learn stories over food at the table and also when we ask questions about the people behind the food.

This article by Mishan was compelling to me because as an avid reader of Hungry City, this was a culmination of Curry Hill articles (that I love for the visually and tastefully colorful way they are presented, and because I love indian food, hints my upcoming feature on Mint in Boone, North Carolina) and articles on Japanese cuisine, crepes and food as an art.

Food is an art and art always has a artist. That sounds cheesy but it is true that these people spend time on making their restaurant what they envision in their minds. I want to tell these stories and understand the art of the food I’m eating.