Nourishing Relationships with Food
In my life, food has always equaled relationships. I believe that when people share food, connections can be built, experiences can be enhanced, and memories can be created. This is what I hope to bring to you at Ruth’s on Stafford.
I grew up in a household where food was part of what connected us to family, neighbors, and the community. Fruit, bread and cheese accompanied my mother to meetings or rehearsals. The smell of her Saturday morning caramel rolls drew in the neighborhood boys and called my dad to start the car to make deliveries to people in the community. Guests from around the world dined with us and sometimes stayed long enough to share recipes.
My vision for how I would continue the nourishment of relationships with food was found in 1973 as a high-school freshman. The youth group at our church went on many retreats, and retreats require eats. I was given an outlet for my creativity in planning and cooking the weekend food. I soon realized that I found joy in the actual process of planning and cooking and indeed washing dishes for all the meals at these events. As we experienced these meals in conjunction with learning about ourselves, each other and what we believed, it was integral in developing lifelong friendships.
In college I was often asked what was for dinner, as our apartment became a hub of taste testing from cookbooks I was reading. After college I was looked to for planning and cooking by roommates, new friends and teachers as well as churches. I continued to see friendships and memories develop and grow with the creating and sharing of food.
My cooking was brought to the next level when I was asked to be the head cook at the Concordia Language Villages. I spent 7 seasons perfecting culinary skills by creating authentic dishes for the French, Chinese, German, Norwegian and Spanish villages. This was where I honed my baking and cooking skills, discovered my love for pairing flavors and reinforced my deep joy in creating meaningful food. The culinary experience enhanced the cultural experience, relationships and memories for the students and counselors.
While attending grad school I cooked for a sorority house and continued to entertain in our home. (Students frequently requested meals to match their moods!) I traded babysitting time with friends for meals once we had children. Friendships grew and parenting discussions flourished as the families shared many meals.
Upon moving to Northfield I kept cooking. While holding a full-time job as a counselor in the education world I managed the concession stand at Sechler little league ballpark and the Wednesday-night-dinners-for-busy-parishioners program at Bethel Church. As we developed the concessions menu where the chicken wraps were more popular than the hot dogs, to players and parents alike, it wasn’t long before Sechler became a dinner destination even for people who did not have a connection to little league. From the baseball park to church, I treasured these opportunities to create food that inspired great conversations and new friendships.
In December of 2015 I fell in love with 410 Stafford Lane South as a space to build a commercial kitchen and gathering space to continue the mission of great food promoting great relationships. I decided the time was right to, yet again, step up to another level. My mission: To collaborate with people who want food to be an integral part of their gathering of friends, family or colleagues. Let’s create memories.